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Nitrates Derogation 2020 – Training Course Requirement

A 3 day training course requirement is a key part of the new derogation measures introduced this year. This training, to improve knowledge transfer, must be completed in 2020 or 2021, by farmers who are in derogation.

Science and regulations keep moving on. For farmers who get left behind this will be costly, in terms extra cross compliance penalties because of not knowing the new regulations or for example not being aware of the extra N available when using LESS to spread slurry, thus being able to spread less N for the same yield. The training courses are squarely aimed at improving awareness of regulations around nitrates and improving nutrient use efficiency, which is better for the farmers pocket and the environment.

The Requirements

3 days training is the requirement for farmers who are in derogation. This training can be completed in 2020 or 2021. Not all days have to be done together so they can be “built” up over the 2 years. However in general these courses are run in the autumn over 2 or 3 weeks as this is a quieter time of the year for farmer. Contact you derogation advisor for local course details, as all these courses have to be registered with the Department of Agriculture. Below gives an insight into what will be covered in each of the 3 days

Day 1 – Grass

  • Matching grass growth to Stocking Rate
  • Spring rotation planner, summer wedge, autumn planner
  • Pasturebase
  • Clover
  • Grass seed varieties

Day 2 – Fertiliser

  • N, P & K fertilise advice and choice
  • pH and Lime
  • Soil sampling and organic matter OM testing
  • Organic manure management and incorporation (LESS)

Day 3 – Farming Sustainably

  • Water Quality
  • Gaseous emissions
  • Biodiversity


There are 2 exemptions for farmers that will reduce the number of days training that have to be completed. The exemption effectively gives the farmer the option of not having to complete 1 or 2 of the days training. The 2 exemptions are outlined below

Day 1 – Grass

For farmers who have been using pasturebase or another online platform to record at least 20 grass measurements, spread over the following months, in either 2020 or 2021. This will meet the criteria of having completed the grass component of the course.

                Feb                     1 Measurement

                March                 2 Measurements

April to Sept      14 Measurements

October              2 Measurements

November           1 Measurement

Day 2 – Fertiliser

Farmers who have completed a registered soil P build up course. These courses have been run over the last 2 years. This will meet the criteria of having completed the fertiliser component of the course.

The new training course forms a key cornerstone of the nitrates derogation. It provides derogation farmers with contact to professionals who will provide the latest scientific and regulatory updates. That will deliver a healthier environment while also helping provide the farmer with the skills to improve farm profitability and sustainability. Importantly acknowledgements are given for farmers who have attended a similar course, P build course, and who can demonstrate best practice in terms of grassland management, Pasturebase, these are given the option to attend 1 day instead of 3 days.

More information on DAFM Website here