The Department of Agriculture has announced that cattle-only nitrogen and phosphorus statements (N&P statements) for the period 1 January to 30 November 2023 are now available on the Department’s online system at www.agfood.ie.
The statements allow farmers to ensure compliance with the limits set in the nitrates regulations, thus avoiding penalties for breaching the limit of 170kg of organic nitrogen per hectare (N/ha) or the limit of 250kg of organic N/ha for those who hold an approved nitrates derogation.
The maximum stocking rate permitted for commonage is 50kg organic N/ha.
“Bearing in mind there is flexibility up to 31 December for dairy farmers to change their option to establish which excretion rate band is applicable to their holding this year, the current statements reflect the declarations made by dairy farmers online through [the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation] ICBF up to 5 December,” the Department said.
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue said there was now a further opportunity for farmers to check their nitrates levels to the end of November and compare that against their limit for the year overall.
He reminded dairy farmers that the spreading of soiled water is now prohibited until 1 January 2024.
“As an industry, it is clear we all must work together to minimise the loss of nutrients from agriculture to water.
"A key part of this is respecting the closed periods for the application of nutrients to land. We are now in the period where there should be no application of slurry or soiled water.
“Farmers who breach this closed period are putting the retention of the derogation post-2025 and the entire industry at risk.
"In line with my commitments earlier this year, I have instructed my officials to adopt a zero-tolerance approach to anybody found spreading slurry or soiled water in breach of the closed period.
“Farmers also have a role to play in calling out non-compliance in this area,” he said.
The Minister also reminded farmers that completed nitrates declarations for the movement of livestock manure, temporary movement of animals during the year or short-term rental grazing agreements for 2023 must be submitted by 31 December 2023, as follows:
Record four and record five forms, as well as a short demonstration video and user manual for the online slurry movement system, are all available on the Department’s website at www.gov.ie/nitrates.
Last year, the vast majority of farmers submitted their forms on time, stayed within their limit and avoided penalties.