Agriculture Minister Michelle McIlveen has issued a reminder to all those farmers who exported organic manure from their farm during 2016 to return their records to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) by 31 January 2017.
Miss McIlveen said: “It is a requirement of the Nitrates Action Programme for farmers who export organic manure from their farm to submit records to NIEA annually by the 31 January for exports made during the previous calendar year.
“This means that a record of all organic manure exported from the farm between the 1 January 2016 and 31 December 2016 must be submitted to NIEA by midnight on 31 January 2017 at the very latest.
“The only exception is farmers who are operating under an approved derogation who can submit their manure export records up to 1 March. They also have to submit their annual fertilisation account by this date.”
Explaining the benefits to be had from redistribution of nutrients between farms, Miss McIlveen continued: “Most Northern Ireland farms are operating below the livestock manure loading limit of 170 kg/N/ha. However, for some, particularly the more intensive dairy, beef, pig and poultry farms, it is necessary to export surplus manures to other farms which are deficient in nutrients.”
She added: “This helps to prevent the build up of excess nutrient levels in soils and assists exporting farms to comply with the Nitrates Action Programme. It also delivers a saving to the importing farm by reducing their requirement for purchased chemical fertiliser. Therefore, it is a win-win situation which makes good economic and environmental sense.”
Stressing the importance of getting export records in on time, Miss McIlveen said: “Failing to submit your export records on time will result in the exported manure being included in the livestock manure loading calculation for your farm at a future inspection. This could result in a breach of the 170kg/N/ha and a penalty on your Basic Farm Payment. Therefore, it is important that all farmers who have exported manure submit their export records to NIEA before the deadline.”
The export form must be signed by the exporting farmer and must contain:
l Quantity and type of manure exported during 2016 (calendar year)
l Date on which consignment was exported
l Name and DAERA business reference number of the farmer who received the manure. In the absence of a business reference number the signature of the receiving farmer is required.
l Name and address of the transporter if involved.
All of these details are contained within the Nitrates Action Programme 2015 – 2018 Guidance Booklet which may be accessed at https://www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/2015-2018-nitrates-action-programme-and-phosphorus-regulations-and-associated-documents A blank organic export form can also be down loaded from this site.
Completed records must be returned to: DAERA, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Water Management Unit, 17 Antrim Road, Tonagh, Lisburn, Co Antrim, BT28 3AL.