The recent announcement regarding nitrogen (N) and phosphorus (P) statements being published on a farmer’s agfood account raised a number of queries from farmers with significant numbers of sheep on hand.

The N and P statements do not take into account the volume of N and P produced by sheep or goats on the holding or other grazing and non-grazing animals.

Figures submitted in the annual sheep and goat census are used by the Department for calculating the volumes produced.

More accurate estimate

Where the sheep census figure is likely to overestimate the level of N and P produced, farmers can calculate a more accurate estimate by taking the average number and type of sheep held on the first day of each quarter going by records in your flock register.

The level of N produced annually by different classes of sheep is as follows:

  • 13kg for lowland ewes.
  • 7kg for mountain ewes.
  • 9kg for rams.
  • 6kg for lowland hoggets.
  • 4kg for mountain hoggets.
  • 2.4kg for store lambs.
  • Non-compliance penalties

    There was a couple of questions asked regarding the level of penalties applied for exceeding the standard organic N limit of 170kg N/ha or the higher limit of 250kg N/ha for farmers availing of a nitrates derogation.

    Penalties are calculated on the level of annual N produced per hectare and start at 1% for a breach between 170kg and 180kg organic N, rising to 3% from 181kg to 210kg, 5% from 211kg to 250kg and 20% over 250kg.

    For derogation farmers, the penalty is 5% for breaching 250kg organic N and 20% for exceeding 300kg/ha.