The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue, T.D., today announced the launch of a new online system to record movements of organic manure between holdings. The new system will replace the almost 16,000 paper forms submitted annually by farmers bringing a number of key benefits. These include simplifying the system of reporting of movements and importantly also giving farmers access to more prompt information on their compliance with the Nitrates limits where they are exporting or importing manure.
Minister McConalogue states, “I am delighted to announce the launch of this new online service. The expansion of our online services is particularly welcome at this time as we are all encouraged to conduct our business on line where possible in order to comply with public health measures.”
Under the Nitrates Regulations farmers are obliged to farm within the limit of 170 kgs of nirtogen per hectare (or 250kgs/N/ha for those who hold an approved derogation. One of the measures farmers can take to reduce nitrate levels is to export slurry to another holding. Previously these movements had to be declared to the Department on a paper form by 31st December annually, (or 31st October for derogation holders.). Submission was by e-mail or post.
The Minister added, “This is a new and exciting development, which will replace the thousands of paper forms submitted to the Department annually whike offering farmers a simple approach to mainatining their records. This year also saw the launch of an improved online application system for Nitrates Derogation applcations.”
This system is open now until 31 March 2021 for 2021 applications and farmers are encouraged to engage with their advisors to determine if they should apply for a Nitrates Derogation.
To use the on-line system farmers must be registered to use the Department’s on-line portal www.agfood.ie . The exporting farmer will log the movement on the portal and a text message will issue to the importing farmer alerting him to log on to the online system to accept the movement. Farmers not already registered to receive updates from DAFM by SMS can opt to do so by contacting email@example.com. A user manual for farmers and agents is available on the Department’s website at this link: www.gov.ie/en/publication/c9563-rural-environment-sustainability-nitrates/#nitrates-records
“The online system is aimed at simplifying the application process and assisting farmers to avoid penalties. Rather than remembering to post a form at year end, farmers can manage this though the year as the movements happen, allowing them to plan more effectively to remain within the Nitrates limits, thus avoiding penalties” added the Minister.
Several farmers incur penalties each year because they did not submit the Record 3 Form by the deadline of 31st December. To facilitate the transition, the Department will accept both on-line declarations and paper forms until 1 July 2021, after which date use of the new on-line system will be mandatory.
Farmers not already registered for agfood.ie can do so by logging onto www.agfood.ie and clicking the 'Register' button. The Department will be engaging with advisors and farmers in the coming weeks to explain and bring this new facility to their attention.
More information is available on the Department’s website at the following link:
Notes for Editors:
Farmers are obliged to ensure compliance with the limits of the Nitrates Regulations, thus avoiding penalties for breaching the limits of 170 kgs of Nitrogen per hectare, or the limit for those who hold an approved derogation the limit is 250 kgs of Nitrogen per hectare. Derogations are granted, subject to conditions, following an on-line application process by the herd owner or his advisor. 2021 applications are open now until 31st March 2021.
Measures all farmers can take to avoid exceeding the nitrates limits of 170 kg/ha (or 250 kg/ha for derogation holders) include:
- Renting additional land
- Reducing livestock numbers
- Exporting enough slurry/farmyard manure
There are records which the farmer needs to submit to the Dept of Agriculture Food & the Marine to have these activities taken in to account. These are:
- Record 3 Form – Record of Movement of Organic Fertilisers – on-line system now available
- Record 4 Form – Temporary Movement of Animals
- Record 5 Form – Short Term rental Grazing Agreement
Further information on the Nitrates Regulations, and the Nitrates Derogation is availabel on the Departments website at www.gov.ie/en/publication/c9563-rural-environment-sustainability-nitrates/
Nitrates Division receives annually in excess of 16,000 paper Record 3 forms to record slurry movements. Currently these are processed a year in arrears, as the deadline for submission is 31st December annually, or 31st October for derogation holders.
The on-line system will update the Departments Nitrates & Phosphorus Statements for each farmer periodically though the year to allow them see the effect an export/import has on their overall (cattle only) N&P levels.