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Clock is ticking: only four months left to fulfil all derogation requirements

If you are one of the almost 6,500 farmers who applied for Nitrates Derogation in 2020, there are a number of additional requirements which you need to be aware of. Failure to comply with these new requirements, in addition to the existing conditions of the derogation, could result in penalties, or withdrawal of your derogation under cross compliance.

Tom O’Dwyer, Head of Dairy Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc commented;  “While many dairy farmers are taking on-going action to comply with Nitrates Derogation requirements, thereby playing their part in improving water quality, our dairy advisors are also reporting that some dairy farmers are currently either unaware of, or have not implemented yet, the new derogation requirements for 2020.  The clock is definitely ticking, with limited time left to comply before the end of the year.”

There are eight changes which derogation farmers need to be aware of.  The full details are available on the Teagasc website at www.teagasc.ie/derogation2020 .  Tim Hyde, Environment Specialist with Teagasc urges derogation farmers to familiarise themselves with the changes and to discuss how they can best meet the requirements before the end of the year to ensure they are compliant with the derogation Terms and Conditions for 2020.

So what are the changes?  Tim Hyde listed them as follows:

  1. Farm’s liming requirement -  Minimum 25% this year or at least the amount as specified in your Nutrient Management Plan for 2020.
  2. All slurry on the holding must be spread using low emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment (since 15th April).
  3. Concentrate rations fed to livestock at grass in the period 1st April to 15th September must have a maximum of 16% Crude Protein (CP) (2020) reducing to 15% CP in 2021.
  4. Farmers are required to attend a short training programme encompassing best practice in nutrient use efficiency and management, protection of water quality and grassland management.
  5. Clover seed must be included in all grass seed mixtures at a rate of 1.5kg per hectare of naked (unpelleted) clover seed or 2.5kg/ha of pelleted clover seed.
  6. Commonage or rough grazing cannot be included for the calculation of the organic Nitrogen stocking rate for the holding and the fertiliser allowances are to be reduced accordingly.
  7. Hedges must be managed to improve biodiversity by either leaving one mature whitethorn/ blackthorn tree within each hedgerow, or maintaining hedgerows on a minimum 3-year cycle.
  8. Farmers must record a minimum of 20 farm grass covers using PastureBase Ireland (or other appropriate software) or attend a short training course.

Finally, Pat Murphy, Head of Environment Knowledge Transfer in Teagasc said; “Derogation farmers may have completed some, or all, of the actions already.  The key thing now is to familiarise yourself with the requirements.  Contact your Teagasc Advisor or private consultant to discuss what requirements apply to your farm and how best you can meet them.  Teagasc will offer training courses in autumn 2020 and throughout 2021.”