Some 37% of dairy farmers affected by the changes to the nitrates derogation intend to reduce cow numbers as a result, a new survey conducted by the Irish Farmers Journal has found.

On average, the 191 respondents to the survey, which was carried out earlier this week, said that they will have to reduce cow numbers by 13%.

A total of 80% of respondents to this question said that these cows are already in calf.


A significant proportion of those affected, 35%, said that they will seek additional land in order to comply with the new derogation rules.

When asked how much they are prepared to pay for land, 60% of respondents said that they were prepared to pay between €200 and €300/acre to lease land.

A further 20% said they were prepared to pay between €300 and €400/acre, while just 2% said they were prepared to pay more than €400/acre. In addition to either reducing cow numbers or taking on more land, 23% said they intend to reduce beef stock and calves on their farm.


Another 22% of respondents said that they intend to export slurry off their farm to comply with the new measures, while 13% said they intend to send heifers for contract-rearing.

Meanwhile, the Irish Farmers Journal understands that new digitised maps of the parts of the country at a maximum stocking rate of 250kg N/ha and 220kg N/ha will be published by the Environmental Protection Agency shortly.

It is expected that these maps will show what the maximum stocking rate is in each townland, but it is not yet clear how farmers with land in more than one townland with different stocking rates will be treated.