Nitrates derogation applications for 2023 can now be submitted by farmers, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced.

Farmers can now make their submissions up until the closing date of 31 March 2023 via the Department of Agriculture’s online portal at

While subject to strict conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the nitrates directive, the derogation allows farmers to farm at higher stocking rates without compromising on water quality.

The Minister suggested that more intensively stocked farmers should engage as soon as possible with the derogation application process and discuss the need for a derogation with their agricultural adviser.


Minister McConalogue also called on dairy farmers who previously did not avail of the derogation to consult with their agricultural adviser due to the new excretion rate bands applicable for dairy cows from 1 January 2023.

The three bands applicable for dairy cows are 80kg N/cow, 92kg N/cow and 106kg N/cow per year. Previously, all dairy cows were considered equal in terms of nutrient excretion rate at 89kg N/cow per year.

Farmers affected by new banding rates may have to export more slurry.

To reflect differences in nutrient output as milk yield increases, from 2023 onwards, each dairy herd will be scored annually as being in one of the three bands based on the herd’s average milk yield per cow.

The Department says that it will shortly write to farmers individually regarding the banding options applicable to their herd and the new requirements these bring.

Farmers may have to manage their livestock differently, export extra enough slurry or rent additional land to now remain compliant with the regulations.

Watch back: Irish Farmers Journal nitrates meeting.

Hundreds of farmers attended information meetings hosted by the Irish Farmers Journal which featured speakers from the Department of Agriculture, the Local Authority Waters Programme (LAWPRO) and the IFA.

Here’s a chance to catch up with what was heard and seen at the meetings.

Online system

The online system for derogation applications is aimed at simplifying the application process and assisting farmers to avoid penalties.

Farmers who applied for a derogation in 2022 are also reminded they must submit fertiliser accounts for 2022 by the closing date of 31 March 2023.

Nitrogen and phosphorus statements for January to November 2022 (cattle only) are also now available to view on

The Department confirmed that the equivalent end-of-year statements will be published as soon as all data is available.

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