The announcement last week of derogations to last March’s nitrates regulations for tillage farmers is yet another example of the indifference that regulators have for farmers. This apparent disregard has led to thousands of hectares being stubble-cultivated prior to the announcement which no longer needs to have been done.

Growers all over the country have geared up with cultivators and additional machine capacity and now we learn that much of this capacity may not be needed. Investments which are now to be worked over fewer acres will be more expensive per acre worked. While the altered rules make for more sensible regulations, tillage farmers are rightly incensed by the fact that these scenarios and arguments were presented to authorities long before last March. Indeed, all sensible arguments were ignored until Bird Watch Ireland complained that all intact stubbles were to be cultivated. It was only then that officials listened.