Parts of west Limerick, Donegal and Clare will now be subject to the derogation cut to 220kg organic N/ha, while other areas of the country have been taken out of the red zone, the latest map produced by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) confirms.

The map was presented by the Department of Agriculture at a water quality group meeting last week.

It includes at least four new areas where the derogation cut will apply. The map also highlights areas of the country which have been taken out of the red zone.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands that around 230 fewer farmers will be impacted by the move from 250kgN/ha to 220kgN/ha as a result of the updated map.

Excluded

The latest map shows that significant areas will escape the derogation cut.

These include parts of the north Kildare/west Wicklow border, an area in east Limerick/north Tipperary, as well as a large swathe of southeast Mayo and east Galway.

A strip along the north Clare coast and into south Galway has also been removed from the original red zone map.

The areas which have controversially been added are in west Limerick, a portion of Clare and two small areas of Donegal.

Clarification

The Department of Agriculture has gone back to the EPA to seek clarification on the areas added to the map which will now be subject to the derogation cut.

A final draft of the map is expected to be agreed over the next week to 10 days and this will then be forwarded to Brussels for approval.

Once the map has been agreed, it is anticipated that the Department will write to each affected farmer outlining the implications for their holdings.

A recent Irish Farmers Journal survey found that 37% of farmers impacted by the derogation cut will reduce cow numbers, while a further 35% said they would seek to rent additional land.

Ifac has warned that a reduction in cow numbers could slash profits on affected dairy farms by as much as 37%.

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