The amount of relatively new changes to the nitrate and fertiliser regulations, alongside the introduction of new rules, will very definitely mean some farmers will walk into a problem without knowing exactly what they are doing.

On many farms in ACRES, where stocking rates are low, and productivity isn’t front and centre, the small amount of phosphorus and potassium often purchased for spreading on silage or hay ground was necessary, given the poor soil quality.

Now that requirement might well still be there but could be illegal. Given that these farmers purchase very little fertiliser in total, they might inadvertently break rules this year.

Could some sort of a yellow card or warning system be in place as an information exercise for farmers during a transition period?

Could there be a one year amnesty system for those that might still be able to get soil samples taken in 2024?

Many farmers are now giving in their herd numbers behind the merchant counter and don’t realise that the fertiliser purchases are then linked to that herd number for the year.

If the fertiliser register suggests you have purchased phosphorus and your stocking rate and feed purchases dictate you have enough phosphorus, you risk losing some of your BISS payment.

Key message – know what you can spread before ordering and purchasing compound fertiliser.

Know what your candidates offer

The European elections are coming at us very fast. On Tuesday night, IFA gathered the candidates in the southern half of the country, and tonight (Thursday) the northwest and midland candidates will gather in Claremorris.

Farmers should take the opportunity to inform themselves of who is who, and what each candidate brings to the table for food and farming producers across Ireland.

There is no point in cribbing after the election that you didn’t get an opportunity to meet all the candidates. Next week, Gowran and Mullingar are the venues.