AIB is discussing the possibility of the dairy sector losing the nitrates derogation beyond 2025, when assessing loan application from farmers stocked rates above 170kg N/ha.

The bank’s head of agri, Donal Whelton, said AIB is examining the impact of a derogation loss on farms looking for new loans when he spoke on RTÉ Radio 1’s Countrywide on Saturday. “Certainly, we are taking it into account. I suppose we don’t know what’s going to happen post-2026 and again, to do the right thing by our customers, it’s only right to have that conversation about that potential,” Whelton said.

“We are having those conversations and we are looking at, if the derogation isn’t extended, what would the impact be on your farm?”

Whelton said that the “lack of certainty” around the derogation is “bringing a degree of nervousness” to farmers looking to borrow from AIB to fund farm investment.

Bank of Ireland head of agri lending, Eoin Lowry, said that a loss of the derogation is a “key risk” to the dairy sector, adding that loan applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis while taking account of stocking rates.