Action needed if you have exported organic manure from your farm during 2015

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Many farmers export their surplus livestock manure and slurry to neighbouring farms where a nutrient deficit exists.

This makes both sound business and environmental management sense. It minimises the amount of chemical fertiliser that the importing farmer needs to purchase and reduces the risk of applying slurry and manure on nutrient rich land, with the likely negative impact on water quality in the local river catchment. It is also very important as it should help the exporting farmer to comply with the requirements of the Nitrates Action Programme Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2014 (NAP Regulations) and to avoid the possibility of a Cross-Compliance breach.

Submit export records to NIEA

This practice of nutrient redistribution is not new. However, it is important to note that changes for 2015 mean that records of exports of all organic manures must be submitted annually to NIEA by 31 January for the previous calendar year. Therefore, records of all slurry exported during 2015 must be submitted to NIEA by 31 January 2016. If you do not submit your records on time, the information cannot be taken into account for calculating the livestock manure nitrogen loading on your farm at a future inspection. If your farm is over the livestock manure nitrogen loading limit of 170kg/ha/year you will be in breach of the NAP Regulations and could be subject to a cross compliance penalty.

Nitrogen content

It is also important to note that the nitrogen content of cattle slurry specified in the 2015 – 18 NAP Regulations is now 2.6 kgN/m3 which is in line with the DEFRA Fertiliser Manual (RB209) (latest (8th) edition). Previously, dairy cattle slurry was 3.0 kgN/m3 and beef cattle slurry was 2.3 kgN/m3. This means that as the nitrogen content of dairy cattle slurry has decreased. A dairy farmer will now need to export a higher volume of slurry to achieve the same nitrogen export as had been achieved in previous years. The nitrogen content of pig slurry has increased from 3.0 kgN/m3 to 3.6 kgN/m3, so pig farmers can now export a lower volume to move the same quantity of nitrogen from their farms as calculated under the previous Regulations.

Export records

You need to keep a record of the quantity and type of each manure moved off your holding, the date moved and the name and address of whom it was exported to. This applies regardless of whether the export is within Northern Ireland or elsewhere. The farm business identification numbers of the importer’s farm business must be recorded and, if a third party transports the manure, their name and address must also be recorded.

Further guidance, a sample record sheet and details of how to submit organic manure export records can be found in the ‘Nitrates Action Programme 2015-2018 and Phosphorus Regulations Guidance Booklet’. The publication is available on the DARD website (https://www.dardni.gov.uk/publications/2015-2018-nitrates-action-programme-and-phosphorus-regulations-and-associated-documents) and the NIEA website (https://www.doeni.gov.uk/publications/nitrates-action-programme-2015-2018-and-phosphorus-regulations-guidance-booklet).

CAFRE announce Nitrates and Nutrient Management Planning Courses

A series of 15 courses on Nitrates and Nutrient Management Planning have been arranged by CAFRE staff at venues across the north for January, February and March 2016. Each course consists of two evenings, with the first one covering in detail recent changes to the Nitrates regulations.

The second evening will cover nutrient management planning which is about soil analysis and getting the levels of slurry, manure and fertiliser correct to improve soil fertility, at least cost and in line with Nitrates regulations. To attend please book online at: http://www.cafre.ac.uk/agri-environment-topics/ or call CAFRE on 028 9442 6880.