Nitrates derogation applications now open
Applications for the 2019 Nitrates Derogation can now be submitted online, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has announced.
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 250kg per hectare, subject to adherence to stricter rules.
The online system 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 numbers, exporting slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land.
The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers, particularly in the Dairy sector and it is essential that its environmental credentials are maintained.
Almost 7,000 intensively stocked farmers with an agricultural area of 466,000has availed of the derogation in 2018 with this being a marked increase in both the area and the number farming under derogation since 2014.
Minister Creed said the Derogation provides farmers an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates, subject to certain conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive.
The Minister announced that a review of the conditions of the derogation would take place this year also.
The Minister stated; “In order to ensure the sustainable continuation of the derogation, a review will examine further opportunities for derogation farmers to improve efficiencies and continue to reduce their environmental footprint”.