Farming

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Nitrates review 'must restore flexibility'

The IFA has called for the current review of the nitrates regulations to be used to restore flexibility to farmers, which should be based on soil and weather conditions, rather than calendar dates.

IFA environment and rural affairs chairman Harold Kingston said the organisation wanted to see a number of specific changes to the regulations. These include:

nBringing the interpretation of soiled water in line with other EU member states;

nAmending the current phosphorous allowances for grassland to address the alarming reduction in soil phosphorous levels and associated crop nutrient issues;

nAllowing the incorporation of phosphorous during sowing of winter crops to support proper establishment and root development;

nThe Removal of the green cover requirement in tillage;

nSupporting the best use of nutrients from the pig and poultry sectors by addressing the unachievable restrictions imposed on poultry farmers.

opportunity

Mr Kingston called on Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and Environment Minister Phil Hogan to use the review of regulations as an opportunity to support the sustainable growth of the sector. "The deplorable weather conditions endured by farmers throughout the year are proof positive that farming by date does not work," Mr Kingston said.

Ministers Hogan and Coveney put in place a pragmatic solution this year to assist farmers where difficulties arose on farms.

"This same logic must now be applied to the current review," he added.

Irish Independent