Phosphorus (P) can now be spread on winter cereals in the autumn. The change comes in the fourth Nitrates Action Programme.

The programme was signed into law by the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government, Eoghan Murphy, on December 20. The programme will run for four years, up until the end of December 2021.

Phosphorous application to winter cereals

20kg/ha of P can now be applied to soils growing winter cereals – in a P index one or two soil – up until October 31. The fertiliser must be incorporated into the soil at or before sowing. Only a change in timing has been made. There are no changes to the P allowance.

The nitrates review group stated that early growth of winter crops was restricted where P levels were sub-optimal.

Soil sampling

In addition, the soil sampling area has reduced to 4ha. Farmers must now take soil samples every 4ha, instead of every 8ha. This figure can be increased to 5ha where soil types or cropping of lands were similar in the previous five years. 5ha samples may apply to grassland farms.

Nitrogen and phosphorous limits for potato crops

Teagasc has conducted trials on nitrogen (N) application to different potato varieties. These trials have focused on meeting the crop’s N requirements and meeting market requirements for tuber quality and end use.

Teagasc has made changes to its fertiliser recommendations for potatoes in recent years and these changes have also been made to the green book.

N and P limits on potato crops are now based on early, main and seed crops. The length of the growing season and the variety are also taken into account. This is similar to the recommendations in the Teagasc Green Book 4th edition 2016.

In addition, the N and P limits for vegetable crops are also similar to those outlined in the Teagasc green book.