This week Tipp FM looked at water quality and the ongoing nitrates derogation issue facing Irish Farmers…
Did you know…
- Under the EU Nitrates directive, farmers are limited to the number of livestock they can have on their land, this is to ensure high nitrogen levels do not affect our water quality.
- The Nitrates Derogation provides farmers with an opportunity to farm at higher stocking rates without compromising our water quality. It is subject to certain strict conditions designed to protect the environment and meet the requirements of the Nitrates Directive
- Ireland’s nitrates derogation allows farmers to farm at higher stocking rates, above 170 kg livestock manure nitrogen/ha up to 250 kg nitrogen/ha, across the entire land declared on BPS
- Ireland are one of just three nations in the EU who can go above the 170kg limit.
What changes are potentially coming?
- The Environmental Protection Agency released a report looking at areas where water quality requirements were not being met.
- This means that if Ireland does not meet the necessary criteria, the derogation could be reduced from 250 kg nitrogen/ha to 220kg nitrogen/ha.
What does this mean for Irish farmers?:
- A lowering of the derogation would affect all farmers in Ireland with stocking rates above 220kg nitrogen/ha.
- This would mean farmers operating above this limit, with estimate being 3,200 farmers in the country, would have to increase the hectares of grassland available to their herd or reduce their herd to meet the requirements.
- These farmers would either need to reduce herd numbers by 50,000 or secure an additional 30,000 hectares of grassland
Here’s a few websites if you want to know more !
https://www.teagasc.ie/environment/schemes–regulations/nitrates-derogation/ – Information on the Nitrates Directive