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Minister Coveney Announces Opening for Applications under the 2014 Nitrates Derogation

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced that applications for a 2014 Nitrates Derogation will be open this Friday 14th February 2014. Farmers and their agents registered with www.agfood.ie can submit 2014 derogation applications on-line from that date. The documentation for postal applications will also be available for download on the Department’s website the same day.

The Minister said “Having secured a favourable vote on Ireland’s request for a continuation of the Nitrates Derogation for the next 4 years at last week’s meeting of the member states, I am, moving quickly to open the process for submission of applications’. The Minister added ‘this decision brings certainty to farmers planning to maximise farm output over the next 4 years and is particularly important for the Food Harvest Grow with Strategy ambitions post 2015”.

The Minister confirmed that, as in previous years, the closing date for receipt of paper Derogation applications will be the 31st March 2014. Applications will, however, be accepted using the on-line system until the 30th April 2014.

Minister Coveney noted that just under half of all applications were submitted on-line in 2013, the first year of the new online system. This year, fertiliser records for 2013 can now also be submitted on-line improving the facility further. The Minister sought that farmers and agents embrace the new technology. “My Department will assist in any way it can to ensure that farmers and agents are comfortable in using the system. Online application bring many advantages, reducing errors and providing immediate confirmation of application”, the Minister added.

The Minister also announced that the Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements for the 2013 calendar year are now available to all farmers on his Departments website at agfood.ie

"These statements are a valuable tool in helping farmers to decide whether or not they need to apply for a Derogation", Minister Coveney said.

Non derogation farmers at nitrates levels between 150 and 170 kgs, and derogation farmers up to 250 kgs Nitrogen per hectare, who are registered with the Department for SMS text alerts, will receive their 2013 figures by text message in the coming days. Written statements will only issue to those herdowners in breach of the 170/250 kg limits.

The Minister encouraged farmers that expect to exceed the stocking rate limit in 2014 to apply for a Derogation or take other remedial action and thereby avoid penalties being applied to their scheme payments.

Farmers not already registered for agfood.ie can do so by logging onto www.agfood.ie and clicking the 'Register' button. To register a mobile phone number for future SMS text alerts log on to https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/mobileupdates/ to access the sign-on form, or alternatively contact the regional office.

Notes for Editors

Nitrates Derogation

The new derogation allows farmers to exceed the limit of 170 kg of livestock manure nitrogen per hectare set down in the Nitrates Regulations, up to a maximum of 250 kg per hectare, subject to adherence to stricter rules. The derogation was approved by the Nitrates Committee on the 5th February but legal text is awaited in the coming weeks to bring it into legal effect. Applications are being accepted subject to this final text being received. For a Nitrates Derogation Application to be valid, all terms and conditions of the Derogation must be adhered to, including the following:

  • An annual application must be made to the Department in the format specified.
  • Undertake in writing to fulfil the conditions set out herein.
  • Farming a holding that is at least 80% grass.  Have grazing livestock – a derogation is only available in respect of grazing livestock. Have a Fertilisation Plan in place on the holding by 1st March. This plan should be submitted to the Department along with the application form unless the farmer has an approved 2011, 2012 or 2013 Nitrates Derogation Application, or an approved REPS 4 plan in place prepared since 2011.Fertiliser Accounts must be submitted to the Department no later than 31st March of the following year.
  • Fertiliser plans must be based on soil analysis results dated after 15th September 2010.
  • Applicants who have never previously applied for a derogation and do not have soil analysis results must assume Index 3 for 2014 but must have samples analysed and their fertiliser plan amended accordingly before 31 December 2014.

View Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR19/2014 (pdf 662Kb) 

Date Released: 12 February 2014