As we go to press, the confirmation of the loss of the stocking rate derogation to a maximum stocking rate limit of 220kg of organic nitrogen per hectare sent shock waves around the entire farming industry on Wednesday.

While it signals the start of the slippery slope away from grassland farming, it also flies in the face of science and any independent analysis or recent research by the research arm of Teagasc.

It leaves farmers deeply frustrated with the ongoing investment and change at farm level to protect the environment.

The net effect is it makes all Irish farming more uncompetitive. In its own right, it won’t do anything to help improve water quality.