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Nitrates Derogation Applications 2017

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, TD, today announced that 2017 Nitrates Derogation applications can now be submitted on-line. Farmers are advised to contact their agricultural advisor to determine if they should avail of this facility.

The Minister outlined, ‘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 the Nitrates Directive.’

The derogation is an important facility for more intensive farmers. Almost 7,000 intensively stocked farmers availed of the derogation in 2016. The online system is aimed at simplifying the application process and assisting farmers to avoid penalties. Farmers can also remain compliant with the Regulations by managing their livestock numbers, exporting enough slurry/farmyard manure or renting additional land.

The closing date for applications is 31st March 2017

End of year Nitrogen and Phosphorus statements (N&P statements) for 2016 are available on the Department’s online system Farmers who exceeded the limits in 2016 based on their cattle numbers will be advised in writing of this shortly but these figures will not have taken into consideration any documentation submitted to the Department by 31st December 2016. Text messages issued to those farmers who were approaching the limits in 2016 and receipt of such a text should act as a reminder to those farmers to consider applying for a Nitrates Derogation this year.

‘I would encourage more intensively stocked farmers to engage early with this application process and discuss the need for a derogation with their agricultural advisor’, the Minister added.

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 – 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 submitted a fertiliser plan to the Department in 2014, 2015 or 2016.
  • Fertiliser plans must be based on soil analysis results dated after 15th September 2013.
  • Applicants who have never previously applied for a derogation, or last applied in 2012 or earlier, and do not have soil analysis results must assume Index 3 for 2017 but soil sample analysis, in respect of crop year 2018, must be available and the fertiliser plan amended accordingly and submitted online to the Department before 31st March 2018.
  • Fertiliser accounts must be submitted to the Department no later than 31st March of the following year.
  • Farmers in derogation cannot import livestock manure

Derogation documentation is available on the Department’s website at:

To view this Press Release as a PDF:  DAFMPR 22/2017 (pdf 477Kb) 


Date Released: 13 February 2017