The Environment Agency has issued new guidance outlining what farmers must do to comply with Nitrate Vulnerable Zone requirements.

For practical purposes, the EA will only query nitrogen applications where they appear to exceed standard recommended rates (e.g. RB209).

The EA will be satisfied that compliance has been achieved if they meet one of the following:

  • The application complies with written advice from a qualified or suitably experienced adviser (egg FACTS qualified) with which the EA aggress
  • The application complies with a fertiliser recommendation system (egg RB209, PLANET, etc); or
  • You can explain how you have arrived at the crop application and taken account of the soil nitrogen supply yourself.

In the case of milling wheat with a large additional requirement for quality, the above need to be met, and the following information provided:

  • Variety
  • Evidence of a contract for the milling wheat (where available)
  • Target yield and quality
  • Yield and quality achieved in previous years (where previously grown)

To find out what agronomists think about residual nitrogen after the driest winter since 1975/76, see this week’s Farmers Weekly magazine (31 March 2006), page 52.