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Key Practices for Nitrates Derogation Farmers

Teagasc Dairy Advisor Mark O’Sullivan joins Emma-Louise Coffey on this week’s episode of The Dairy Edge Podcast to discuss the key mandatory practices for Nitrates Derogation farms.

Mark explains that these practices allow farmers to farm more intensively while protecting the environment. He documents the key practices including a mandatory liming programme, use of low emission slurry spreading, inclusion of clover seed when reseeding, lower levels of crude protein (CP) and grassland management. 

For paddocks with a low soil pH, Mark recommends farmers front loading ground limestone at a rate of 2 tonne/ac at a time. Additionally, Mark recommends an application of 2 tonne/ac of lime for maintenance every 4-5 years. 

All slurry must be spread using low emission spreading equipment which reduces the emissions but also offers farmers flexibility in spreading in higher covers in the spring and increased nutrient value (N-P-K) from slurry. Mark explains that there are there are grants of 40% (60% for young trained farmers) to purchase new slurry tankers or retrofit old splash plate tankers.

For dairy cow ration, farmers must feed a max of 15% crude protein (CP) rate from April to September. Mark explains that grazed grass contains 16-24% CP so ration containing 13-14% CP is sufficient during the main grazing season.

For more information: Nitrates Derogation

Listen back on previous episodes here: The Dairy Edge Podcast