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Positive Changes in Nitrates Action Programme

The changes included in the National Action Programme (NAP) under the Nitrates Directive, agreed between the Government and the EU Commission are positive for both Irish farming and the environment.

Teagasc Director, Professor Gerry Boyle said "The changes for cereal and grassland farmers and the extension of the transitional arrangements for pig and poultry producers are important for the future development of the agri-food industry. The detailed scientific submission made by Teagasc, outlined numerous areas where changes could be made to improve crop and animal husbandry, without having a negative impact on the environment."

Among the changes in the Nitrates action programme are:

  • Winter ploughing date changed from 15 January back to 30 November.
  • Reference yield for spring barley reduced from 7.5 to 6.5 t/ha.
  • An extra 20kg N/ha can be applied for malting barley grown under contract where agronomic advice is that it is needed to address a low protein content.
  • Maximum N fertiliser rates for winter wheat increased by 20kg/ha for all indices.
  • Use of organic fertiliser on tillage crops will no longer result in a change to the nitrogen index, thus removing a barrier to the use of organic manures in tillage production.
  • The nitrogen availability of Spent Mushroom Compost to be reduced to 20%.
  • An extra 3.8kg/ha of P can be applied to cereal crops for each tonne of grain yield above 6.5 t/ha.
  • An extra P allowance of 15kg/ha for reseeding at soil index 1, 2 or 3.
  • The P contribution from concentrates fed to grazing livestock can be based on the known P content (book value or P content provided by supplier) or the default P concentration of 0.5kg P/100 kg of concentrate.
  • The P contribution from concentrates fed to grazing livestock to be calculated on the basis of the previous year’s usage.
  • Transition arrangements remain in place for pig and poultry manure for two years. Thereafter a phased reduction in the excess P that may be applied of 5kg/ha for two years and 3kg/ha for a further two years.

The Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle also welcomed the indication from the EU Commission that it will support Irelands request for a renewal of the derogation.

NitratesRegsChanges_Oct2010 (22KB, PDF format)