Ireland’s application for a renewal of its derogation under the Nitrates Directive has completed all stages of the approval process by the EU Commission.

The derogation allows more intensive farmers to operate at higher stocking levels subject to adherence to stricter rules.

The new derogation will run to the end of 2017, coinciding with the new National Action Programme (NAP).

A revised Nitrates Guidance document, incorporating all the recent changes, has been prepared to provide an up to date reference document for farmers and is available on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine website here this morning.

The guidance document set outs the requirements of the regulations and practical interpretation of the Nitrates rules.

Additionally, it provides useful information on recent changes to the regulations such as: how to avail of increased phosphorus allowances; increases in fertiliser allowances for certain tillage crops; control of grass weeds in specific cereal crops; uncultivated zones near watercourses; and clarification of soiled water definition.

Intensively stocked farmers are reminded that they can apply online for a derogation through the Department of Agriculture’s website, with the closing date for applications set at 30 April. The closing date for receipt of paper applications is 31 March 2014.

Fertiliser spreading on grassland. Photo O’Gorman Photography.