N and P statements for the first 6 months of the year now available

From this morning, August 3, farmers will be able to access their Nitrogen (N) and Phosphorus (P) statements for the first six months of the year.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine published the statements for the period January to June online.

These statements are particularly useful to allow farmers to plan for the remainder of the year, so they do not breach nitrates regulations and incur penalties, the department explained.

To be compliant, a farmer must not spread livestock manure and slurry containing more than 170kg of nitrogen per hectare in a year.

However, if a farmer obtains an approved derogation, this limit is increased to a maximum of 250kg of Nitrogen per hectare from livestock manure – subject to adherence to stricter rules.

The deadline for 2017 nitrates derogation applications closed earlier this year. The department revealed that almost 7,000 “intensively stocked farmers” availed of the derogation last year.

Farmers can also remain compliant with the regulations by managing their livestock numbers, exporting enough slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land.

The application process for a nitrates derogation is solely online; The online system is aimed at simplifying the application process and assisting farmers to avoid penalties.

These derogations are also only available to farms which are at least 80% grass – a derogation is only available in respect of grazing livestock.

Meanwhile, farmers who intend to apply to the department for a nitrates derogation must submit their fertiliser accounts by no later than March 31 of the following year.

A farmer who successfully obtains a nitrates derogation from the department is also not allowed to import livestock manure.