A total of 381 farmers were fined for breaching regulations to protect water quality in 2022.

The penalties to the farmers’ CAP direct payments were laid down following the Department of Agriculture’s cross compliance inspections last year.

In total, the Department identified 454 water quality protection breaches on farms in 2022, with 73 of these farmers (16%) not receiving a penalty.

Common breaches on the inspected farms regarding water quality protection were the inadequate collection and storage of livestock manure, other organic fertilisers, soiled water, or silage effluent.

A number of farmers also failed to minimise the generation of soiled water.

A further 12 farmers were found to not have the adequate storage capacity for organic fertilisers (slurry) during inspections in 2022, with all 12 of these having a penalty imposed on their direct payment.