High phosphorous poultry manure deadline looming for NI poultry farmers

Northern Ireland poultry farmers are reminded that there are just days left until the deadline to send manure exportation records for 2019.

The forms must be received by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) by January 31, 2020.

Last year saw a revision of nitrogen (N) and phosphorous (P) excretion rates for poultry production systems.

Changes to the Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) 2019-2022 Regulations mean changes in management and record-keeping for producers who use high phosphorous (High P) manures.

For the purposes of NAP, high P manures are defined as “organic manures which contain more than 0.25kg of total P/1kg of total N”.

Under this definition the following manures are now classed as high P: broiler breeder; commercial egg and free range egg layer; pullet; duck and pig farmyard manure.

Broiler, free-range broiler and turkey manure are not however classed as high P manures.

What does it mean?

The changes will mean extra record-keeping for farmers.

From January 1, 2020, a soil analysis is required to show that there is a crop requirement for P. A fertilisation plan must also be prepared and kept up to date by farms using high P manure.

When manures contain a high proportion of P compared to N, there is a risk of over-application of P when N is applied in line with crop requirement.

In the poultry sector, this will impact broiler breeder, commercial egg layer (including free-range egg layer), pullet rearers and duck farmers spreading manure from their units on their own ground.

However, it will also impact on farmers who are importing manure from these enterprises and using it on their land. Farmers importing these types of manure for use must also have a soil analysis and fertilisation plan completed.

NIEA will use records of soil tests, land areas of crops grown and amounts and types of fertilisers applied to check whether farmers have complied with the phosphate application limits for different crops.

If there are not sufficient records for the calculations to be completed, or if you have over-applied high P manure, this will be a breach of the regulations and will have implications for Area-Based Scheme payments.

The rules set out in the NAP 2019-2022 Regulations apply to all farm businesses in Northern Ireland.

If you are undertaking any of the activities covered by the regulations you have a legal obligation to comply with the rules. This applies regardless of whether or not you are claiming any Area-Based Scheme payments. Failure to comply may lead to legal action being taken against your business by NIEA.

Completion of the records must be done via DAERA online services.