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Cross Compliance Nitrates – Keeping up to date

Every year a number of farmers as part of their cross compliance inspection are required to submit nitrate records. Eamonn Dempsey, Teagasc Advisor, Tralee, gives information here on the nitrate inspection process, breaches of nitrate regulations, and the relevant deadlines for farmers.

Nitrate Inspection Process

During the nitrate inspection process you will receive a nitrates record template which must be completed and signed by you and returned to the nitrate section in the Department of Agriculture, together with applicable supporting documentation. It is vital that you work with your adviser during the year to ensure nutrient management on your farm is not in breach of nitrate regulations. This is managed by taking soil samples, incorporating results into a nutrient management plan and applying the recommended levels of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, slurry and lime in each plot on the farm.

To be in breach of nitrate regulations means you are not following cross compliance rules regarding land-spreading of chemical and organic fertiliser, storage of livestock manures or the recommendations of your nutrient management plan. Nitrate regulation breaches or failure to submit a completed nitrates record as requested will have financial consequences to your payments from the department of agriculture.

You do not need to keep animal number records for bovine as the department maintain a record of your bovine animal numbers on the AIM database. Sheep numbers will need to be recorded by detailing the numbers and type of sheep you had on the holding for the first day of each quarter of the year.

Nitrate record 2 is completed by providing details of opening fertiliser stocks, records of chemical fertiliser purchases and closing fertiliser stocks. The merchant should provide you with a full calendar year trading statement for fertiliser and concentrate feed. Grassland farmers availing of phosphorus build up allowances in 2021 will allow them to address P deficiency on low P index soils. Additional phosphorus is also allowed for grassland establishment on P index 1, 2 and 3 soils.

Nitrates records for recording the movement of livestock manures, temporary movement of animals and short term rental grazing agreements when completed and submitted to the Nitrate Section, DAFM, Johnstown Castle Estate, Co Wexford will allow you to gain nitrates credit. The paper record 3 movement of livestock manures is now being replaced by a new on-line system to record slurry movements. The system can be used by either agents or farmers through the www.agfood.ie portal.


The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine announced that the deadline of 1st July for mandatory use of the Department’s on-line system to record the movement of organic manures is now extended to 1st September 2021. Farmers are reminded that the deadline to declare movements is 31st October 2021 for those who applied for a nitrates derogation, and 31st December 2021 for all other farmers.

The department online system for recording movements of organic manures will also update the department’s nitrates & phosphorus statements for each farmer periodically through the year to allow them to see the effect an export/import has on their overall (cattle only) N & P levels.

The total amount of livestock manure applied to your land in a calendar year must not contain more than 170 kg of nitrogen per hectare, if you farm above the 170kg limit to a maximum of 250 kg limit you may need to apply for a nitrate derogation. Both derogation and non-derogation farmers must keep up to date with nitrate regulation to play their part in preventing water pollution from nutrients arising from agricultural sources.

If you liked this article you might also like to read Appreciating The Heritage of Hedges
Teagasc Advisors are regular contrbutors of articles on topics of interest to farmers here on Teagasc Daily.