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Deadline for dairy ‘banding’ submissions

Deadline for dairy ‘banding’ submissions

Today, March 31st, 2023, is the final day for farmers to submit information to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, to validate a farmer’s nitrogen excretion band.

Since the start of this year, the nitrogen (N) excretion rate from dairy cows is based on the herd's average milk yield. This is called 'banding'. Last year, every dairy cow in the country was assigned a figure of 89kg N per head. This year, it will be based on the milk production of the herd. Herds with an average milk yield of less or equal to 4,500kg will be allocated a 80kg N/ha figure, herds with average milk yields of 4,501-6,500kg will be allocated 92kg N/ha and higher yielding herds (>6,500kg) will be allocated a nitrogen figure of 106kg N/ha.

Farmers have three options to determine their herd’s average milk yield to confirm their 2023 band:

  • Select the rolling average for the three preceding years (2020, 2021, 2022), or
  • Select the most recent preceding year (2022), or
  • Select to use the herd’s 2023 average milk yield (available for 2023 only).

The Nitrates banding portal on the Irish Cattle Breeding Federation (ICBF) website is open to all dairy farmers. Provided the farmer has given permission for a co-op to share their milk purchaser data with ICBF. For the small cohort of farmers who have not consented to share their data with ICBF, they will need to request their milk purchaser to complete a milk purchaser statement and provide supporting information to DAFM so their herd’s excretion rate band can be confirmed.

Also read: What is the impact of 'banding' on my farm?