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Minister Coveney Announces Opening for Applications under the 2016 Nitrates Derogation Online Application System

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney TD, today announced that farmers and their agents can now submit 2016 Nitrates Derogation applications using the Department’s on-line facilities. The Nitrates Derogation provides farmers an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates, subject to certain conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of EU regulations.

Minister Coveney said that “The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers and the online system is aimed at simplifying the application process and assisting farmers to avoid penalties”. He added “Other actions to avoid penalties include reducing livestock numbers, exporting enough slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land”.

The closing date for applications is 31st March 2016. Derogation documentation is available on the Department’s website at

End of year Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements (N&P statements) for 2015 will be available in the coming days on the Department’s online system Farmers who exceeded the limits in 2015 based on their cattle numbers will be advised in writing of this shortly. These figures will not have taken into consideration any documentation submitted to the Department by 31st December 2015. Text messages will issue to those farmers who were approaching the limits in 2015 and receipt of such a text should act as a reminder to those farmers to consider applying for a Nitrates Derogation this year.

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

Notes for Editors

Nitrates Derogation

The Nitrates 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. 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 online to the Department. No postal applications will be accepted.
  • 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 a valid REPS 4 plan in place since 2013 or has submitted a fertiliser plan to the Department in 2013, 2014 or 2015.
  • Fertiliser plans must be based on soil analysis results dated after 15th September 2012.
  • Applicants who have never previously applied for a derogation and do not have soil analysis results must assume Index 3 for 2016 but must have samples analysed and their fertiliser plan amended accordingly before 31 December 2016.
  • Fertiliser accounts must be submitted to the Department no later than 31st March of the following year.
  • Farmers in derogation cannot import livestock manure

View this Press Release as a PDF: DAFMPR 09/2016 (pdf 478Kb) 



Date Released: 26 January 2016