The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has now published its end of year nitrogen and phosphorus statements for January to December 2020 on their online system, www.agfood.ie.
Farmers need to take note that the figures do not yet take into consideration documentation submitted to the Department by 31 December 2020 concerning aspects such as imports and exports, organic nitrogen and phosphorus, or records of grazing agreements, for example.
The figures also relate only to bovines on the farm, and as such, do not take into account other animals such as sheep, pigs, poultry, horses, etc.
Sheep are the most common animal that needs to be taken into account in this regard.
A lowland ewe has an annual nitrogen output of 13kg N, while hill ewes produce 7kg N, rams 9kg N, lowland hoggets 6kg N, mountain hoggets 4kg N and store lambs produce 2.4kg N.
The Department says: “The statements are particularly useful to allow farmers to plan for the coming year and to ensure compliance with the limits of the Nitrates Regulations, thus avoiding penalties for breaching the limits of 170kg of Nitrogen per hectare, or the limit for those who hold an approved derogation is 250kg of Nitrogen per hectare.”
The 2021 Nitrates Derogation online application facility opened a few weeks ago and will close on 31 March
The Department is advising farmers who came close to standard organic nitrogen limits in 2020 to make contact with an agricultural adviser and consider applying for a derogation in 2021. The 2021 Nitrates Derogation online application facility opened a few weeks ago and will close on 31 March.
The Department has also published updated figures for farmers participating in the Beef Exceptional Aid Measure (BEAM).
The latest report details how much organic nitrogen was produced from 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 and the balance that can be produced between 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2021 to be compliant with the 5% reduction requirement.
The Department advises that letters detailing these figures will be sent to all BEAM participants next week
This information can be found under the “exceptional aid measure” heading on a farmer’s www.agfood.ie facility and is a useful reference for those who may wish to change the time period on which their reduction requirement is based.
Recent flexibilities announced by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue allow farmers to remain with the current reduction period (1 July 2020 to 30 June 2021) or change to 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2021. The Department advises that letters detailing these figures will be sent to all BEAM participants next week.
Farmers can use the updated nitrogen figure from their N and P statement to plan numbers for 2021 using the Irish Farmers Journal BEAM calculator. The tool, which can be found here, provides an opportunity to look ahead and assess what stock numbers can be handled.