Michael Creed T.D., Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, has today (January 22nd) announced that Nitrates Derogation applications for 2019 can now be made online!
The Nitrates Derogation gives farmers the opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates (subject to environmental conditions) and is aimed at the more intensive farmers, particularly dairy farmers. The online system is aimed at simplifying the application process, whilst also helping farmers avoid penalties.
The Nitrates Derogation: What you need to know-
Farmers can remain compliant with regulations through the management of livestock numbers, the renting of additional farmland and the exporting of slurry/manure.
As part of the Nitrates Derogation, farmers can spread in excess of 170kgs of livestock manure per hectare set down in the Nitrates Regulations. They are allowed up to a maximum of 250kgs per hectare. The annual application MUST be made online, with NO postal applications accepted.
Any farm holding that is at least 80% grass, will only have a derogation available in respect of grazing livestock. As per the derogation, 50% of all slurry produced on a derogation farm must be applied by the 15th June annually. After this date, slurry can only be applied using low emission equipment. Any derogation farm must have adequate storage facilities for all manure and soiled water. Derogation applicants CANNOT import manure onto their farm.
A fertilisation plan must be in place on each holding by March 1st and submitted to the Department alongside the application form unless a fertiliser plan was submitted in 2016, 2017 or 2018. All fertiliser plans must be based on soil analysis’ conducted after September 15th 2015.
Any new applicant that does not have soil sample results, must assume Index 3 for 2019. However, Soil sample analysis (in respect of crop year 2020) must be available and the fertiliser plan amended and submitted by March 31st 2020. Fertiliser accounts must then be submitted to the Department no later than 31st March of the following year.
Latest figures of involvement -
In 2018, almost 6,900 farmers made use of the derogation, with over 466,000 hectares availed of in 2018.
This represents an increase of over 33,000 hectares on 2017 figures and represents a slight decrease in the number of derogation farms (down from 7,000 in 207 to 6,900). The average size of farms which are taking part in the derogation has also increased from 2017, up from 62 hectares to 68 hectares.
Minister Creed revealed that a review of the conditions of the derogation would take place this year, to ensure the continued sustainability of the derogation, whilst also reducing the carbon footprint of farmers.
It is thought that the outcome of this review, including recommendations, will be published by June of this year in order to allow derogation farmers sufficient time to plan for the 2020 year.
The closing date for applications is March 31st 2019.