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Minister Coveney Announces New On-Line Nitrates Derogation Application System

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced that for 2013, Nitrates Derogation applications and plans can be submitted on-line by farmers and their agents registered with Both the on-line system and postal applications will be available from Monday 18th February 2013.

This development continues the Department’s policy of using technology to simplify procedures for farmers. The Minister outlined that “This on-line facility will not only make it easier for farmers and agents to submit a Derogation application to my Department but will also reduce the potential for application errors”. He added, “The roll-out of this system underlines my commitment to improving the way we provide services to farmers”.   

The Minister also announced that the Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements for 2012 are now available to all farmers on "These statements are there to assist farmers in deciding whether or not they need to apply for a Derogation", Minister Coveney said. He added that "this is the ideal time to consider whether or not to apply for a Derogation in 2013. Intensive grassland farmers are allowed to exceed the general limit of 170 kg of Nitrogen per hectare per year from livestock manure on their farm, up to a limit of 250 kg, provided that they have an approved Derogation”.

Farmers between 150 and 250 kgs Nitrogen per hectare, who are registered with the Department for text alerts, will receive their figures by text message. Written statements will only issue to those herdowners in breach of the 170/250 kg limits. The Minister encouraged farmers that expect to exceed the stocking rate limit in 2013 to apply for a Derogation or take other remedial action and thereby avoid penalties being applied to their scheme payments.

The Minister confirmed that, as in previous years, the closing date for receipt of paper Derogation applications by the Department will be the 31st March 2013. Applications will, however, be accepted using the on-line system until the 14th April 2013.

Farmers not already registered for can do so by logging onto and clicking the 'Register' button. To register a mobile phone number for future SMS text alerts log on to to access the sign-on form, or alternatively contact the regional office.

Notes for Editors

Nitrates Derogation Requirements for farmers

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 to the Department in the format specified.
  • Undertake in writing to fulfil the conditions set out herein.
  • Farming a holding that is at least 80% grass.
  • Have grazing livestock – a derogation is only available in respect of grazing livestock.
  • Have a Fertilisation Plan in place on the holding by 1st March. This plan should be submitted to the Department along with the application form unless the farmer has an approved 2010, 2011 or 2012 Nitrates Derogation Application, or an approved REPS 4 plan in place
  • Fertiliser Accounts must be submitted to the Department no later than 31st March of the following year.
  • Fertiliser plans must be based on soil analysis results dated after 15th September 2009.
  • Applicants who have never previously applied for a derogation and do not have soil analysis results must assume Index 3 for 2013 but must have samples analysed and their fertiliser plan amended accordingly before 31 December 2013.
  • Applicants who have previously applied for a derogation and do not have soil sample results must assume Index 4 for 2013 but must have samples analysed and their fertiliser plan amended accordingly before 31/12/13. Concentrates can be fed but no imported phosphorus fertiliser can be used until results are available.

Date Released: 04 February 2013