The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today announced that applications for the 2020 Nitrates Derogation can now be submitted to the Department using the on-line portal, www.agfood.ie .
Over 6,800 intensively stocked farmers availed of the derogation in 2019.
The 2020 Nitrates Derogation Terms & Conditions include the full list of recommendations put forward by the Expert Review Group who proposed additional conditions for those farming in derogation that support the multiple objectives of a competitive agriculture sector whilst minimising negative impacts on water quality. This review was carried out jointly in 2019 by experts from the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine, the Department of Housing Planning & Local Government, Teagasc and the EPA and proposed recommendations that were accepted by both Ministers. The Nitrates Derogation is contingent on meeting water quality standards, and these additional measures, included now in the requirements of the 2020 scheme are designed to provide added protections to water quality.
Applications must be submitted using the online system which is aimed at simplifying the application process and assisting farmers to avoid penalties. Farmers can also remain compliant with the Regulations by managing their livestock to farm below the limits, exporting enough slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land but these farmers are also subject to additional requirements this year.
Over 6,800 farmers availed of the derogation in 2019.
Nitrogen & Phosphorus Statements up to the end of December 2019 are available to view on the Department’s online system www.agfood.ie. These statements are useful to assist farmers plan and to decide if they would benefit from applying for a derogation.
The closing date for receipt of applications is Wednesday 8 April 2020
Farmers not already registered for agfood.ie can do so by logging onto www.agfood.ie and clicking the 'Register' button. More information is available on the Department’s website at the following link: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/ruralenvironmentsustainability/environmentalobligations/nitrates/nitratesderogation/
Further information on the 2019 Nitrates Derogation Review can be viewed here: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/ruralenvironmentsustainability/environmentalobligations/nitrates/2019nitratesderogationreview/
The Nitrates Derogation allows farmers to exceed the limit of 170 kg of livestock manure nitrogen per hectare set down in the Nitrates Regulations, up to a maximum of 250 kg per hectare, subject to adherence to stricter rules. For a Nitrates Derogation application to be valid, all terms and conditions of the Derogation must be adhered to, including the following:
- An annual application must be made online to the Department. No postal applications will be accepted.
- Farming a holding that is at least 80% grass. Have grazing livestock – a derogation is only available in respect of grazing livestock.
- 50% of all slurry produced on a derogation farm must be applied by the 15 April 2020. From this date forward slurry can only be applied on derogation holdings using low emission equipment.
- Commonage and rough grazing will not be eligible for the derogation allowance of 250 kg N/ha. Chemical fertiliser calculations on commonages/rough grazing will be limited to the ≤170 kg N/ha allowances.
- Clover must be incorporated where grass is being sown.
- Grass measurement and recording must be undertaken or training in grassland management attended.
- Environmental training must be attended.
- A liming programme must be adopted.
- A biodiversity measure from the ALL Ireland pollinator plan must be undertaken.
- Maximum rates have been established for the percentage of crude protein in dairy rations
- A derogation holding must have sufficient storage for all livestock manure and soiled water produced on the holding
- Have a Fertilisation Plan in place on the holding by 1 March. This plan should be submitted to the Department along with the application form unless the farmer has submitted a fertiliser plan to the Department in 2017, 2018 or 2019.
- Fertiliser plans must be based on soil analysis results dated after 15th September 2016.
- New applicants who do not have soil analysis results must assume Index 3 for 2020 but soil sample analysis, in respect of crop year 2020, must be available and the fertiliser plan amended accordingly and submitted online to the Department before 31 March 2021
- Fertiliser accounts must be submitted to the Department no later than 31st March of the following year.
- Nitrates Derogation applicants cannotimport livestock manure onto their holding
- Derogation information is available on the Department’s website at: https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/ruralenvironmentsustainability/environmentalobligations/nitrates/nitratesderogation/