Who can apply for a Nitrates Derogation?

Tractor spreading slurry in a field.

Operating under an approved Nitrates Derogation allows you to farm at a higher stocking rate and to maximise the use of your own nutrients on your own farm without needing to export slurry or buy in bagged fertiliser.

It will protect and improve our environment whilst allowing farms to grow at the same time.

If your farm has at least 80% of the agricultural area in grassland and a nitrogen  (N) loading above 170kg N/ha/year you can apply for a nitrates derogation. This will allow you to operate up to a limit of 250kg N/ha/year for your grazing livestock.  Derogation does not apply to non-grazing livestock, e.g. pig or poultry farms, which still need to meet the 170 kg N/ha/yr stocking rate.  Mixed farms may still apply for derogation.

What is N Loading?

‘Nitrogen (N) Loading’ is based on the nitrogen from the average number of livestock you keep over the year and the land area that you actively farm. It also takes manure imports and exports into account. It is a key component in the Nitrates Action Programme Regulations (NAP) whose main aim is to improve water quality in Northern Ireland.

How to apply for the Nitrates Derogation

You can apply online using this link. You must complete and submit your application online by 31 March 2019.

Derogation Requirements

The main requirements of the derogation are:

  • Your farm must have 80% of its agricultural area in grassland;
  • Soil test every 4ha every four years
  • a phosphorus (P) balance of no more than 10 kg phosphorus per hectare per year;
  • submit a Fertilisation Account online to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) each year by 1 March; and
  • prepare a Fertilisation Plan each year and hold this on your farm.

To calculate your N Loading and P Balance you can use the CAFRE Nutrient Calculators which are available at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/onlineservices. These calculations will help you decide if the derogation is an option for you.

Apply for the Nitrates Derogation

Complete and submit your application online by 31 March 2019

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