There is more discussion over the last week surrounding the requirement for farmers who plan to purchase fertiliser from 1 September 2023 registering as a professional end user with the Department.

It is not surprising that there is more talk and, indeed in many cases, confusion given the date of 1 September is fast approaching.

Reports indicate that many farmers are of the impression that this is a deadline by which time they must register as a professional user.

The date of 1 September is not a deadline for registering. However, if any farmer intends to purchase fertiliser or lime after this date then they must be registered as a professional end user.

Registration process

The registration process is relatively straightforward for those accustomed to working with the Department of Agriculture’s online facility.

When logged on to the home page, scroll down to the heading ‘National Fertiliser Database’ and select this tab.

On the next webpage, there is a heading ‘Actions’ and a ‘+’ symbol. Click on the symbol and this will generate a pop-up screen asking you to confirm that you agree to register as a professional user.

This is completed by ticking the box in the left corner. You will be asked that you confirm registration and that is the end of the registration process.

Where registration is successful, the ‘+’ symbol will be replaced by three dots, which, when clicked, present a number of options, including recording the closing stocks.

Many farmers have queried if they will receive a number similar to the unique number received when registering as a professional user of pesticides.

There is no such number for the fertiliser register with the herd/flock number, etc, being the number which must be recorded when purchasing fertiliser or lime from 1 September 2023.

This will allow merchants and suppliers to record the purchase, which will then be available for viewing on your portal.

Closing stocks

There is a deadline of 15 October for farmers to enter details on closing fertiliser stocks.

This is a more important date for a high percentage of farmers who have no plans to purchase any more fertiliser or lime this year.

This is due to the fact that you must still log on and register as a user to be able to record closing stocks, even where you have no fertiliser on hand and are submitting a ‘nil declaration’.

Some advisers are looking for the Department to have a default position of a nil declaration if a record is not submitted by 15 October, citing that it will significantly reduce the workload.

They comment that they are already receiving a high level of calls to complete the registration process, with an increasing number of farmers relying on agents to complete the process.

The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers Association has called this week for a call-in service or hardcopy option to be put in place, whereby farmers who do not have access to the portal can register and submit a record of closing stocks.

Economic operator

There is a second important registration process for farmers involved in the import or farm-to-farm transfer of fertiliser.

Such farmers must register as a fertiliser economic operator. This can be completed by selecting the tab ‘Farm-to-Farm’ transfers following the initial registration process. The Department lists the point of contact for queries as