Farmers who do not comply with the conditions of nitrates derogation must now go for two years without being granted the allowance to take their stocking rate to 250kg organic N/ha, the Department of Agriculture has confirmed.

The Department’s senior nitrates inspector Ted Massey stated that whereas previously, a farmer would have an application rejected for the year where they breached, the new regime prevents reapplication for the year immediately after the breach took place.

The official recognised that this change will have big implications for farm management on the farms that fall foul of derogation rules.

“Now, if a farmer fails to fulfil one of the conditions of a derogation, they are rejected from derogation from that year. But they are also not eligible to apply for a derogation the following year,” Massey said.

“And that’s a very strict penalty on any farmer who needs the derogation.”