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Minister Smith Announces Nitrates Derogation Requirements for 2011

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, has reminded farmers that now is the time to start thinking about whether or not they need a Nitrates Derogation for the current year.  "Intensive grassland farmers are allowed to exceed the general limit of 170 kg of nitrogen per hectare per year on their farm, up to a limit of 250 kg, provided that they have a derogation in place," he said.

The Minister advised that details of the derogation process are now available on the Department's website. In addition farmers will be able to get the relevant forms in their local District Veterinary Office or from the Department's Nitrates Section, Johnstown Castle, Wexford.

The Minister said farmers who intend to apply for a derogation must

  • have a fertiliser plan on the farm by 1st March
  • submit a copy of the fertiliser plan with the application unless the farmer has either an approved REPS 4 plan or an approved 2010 derogation and there are no significant changes to farming practices in 2011.
  • apply to the Department for a derogation by the closing date of Thursday, 31st March 2011.  No applications for derogations will be accepted after this date.
  • have all their land soil tested at least once every four years.

The Minister also announced that the Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements for 2010 will be issuing to the more intensive farmers shortly. "These statements are of great benefit to farmers in deciding whether or not they need to apply for a derogation", he added.  Reps 4 participants will also receive a statement regardless of their livestock manure application, as it is a requirement in REPS 4 that the nitrogen and phosphorus details are recorded in their REPS record sheets.

In a new development the Department is also informing less intensive farmers of their estimated capacity to take in and use organic fertiliser as an alternative to buying in chemical fertiliser. The letter will also include the statement of the actual Nitrogen and Phosphorus produced on the farm in 2010. This information will facilitate farmers to decide if they wish to take in this valuable resource.   "We need to get the word out that the sustainable use of organic fertilisers on farms is cost effective and I am confident that this initiative will generate more interest from farmers who previously would not have considered taking in slurry ", the Minister concluded.

Date Released: 26 January 2011