IRISH FARMERS will have to meet a basic nitrogen limit of 170kg/ha across the whole country after the introduction of the nitrates action programme early next year.

That was made clear to industry stakeholders at a special meeting with the department of the environment in Dublin this week (w/e May 21).

Farmer representatives were also led to believe that the final plan, to be delivered to Brussels for approval this summer, will stick with the closed period for slurry spreading.

This will stretch from Oct 1 to Jan 15, as contained in last year‘s draft plan, and officials will also insist on minimum storage capacity of up to 24 weeks.

“This illustrates the government‘s detached approach to defending the key competitive advantage Irish farmers have in our extensive, grass-based livestock production systems,” said Irish Farmers Association president John Dillon.

The plan is being introduced because of pressure from the EU.