FAILURE TO keep accurate records of all nitrogen fertilisers applied to crops in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones could result in losing some of your Single Farm Payment, the Environment Agency has warned growers.

Despite overall compliance with NVZ measures increasing from 80% to 86% in 2004, recent EA inspections found that 1 in 7 farmers were not compliant with the rules – largely due to inadequate record keeping.

Dairy, indoor pigs and beef farms showed the greatest levels of non-compliance, while most arable and mixed farms achieved over 80% compliance, the survey found.

To meet the requirements, farmers must keep records of how much and when fertiliser was applied to crops. This includes all manufactured nitrogen, as well as manures and slurries, the EA said.

“Keeping records of nitrogen application doesn’t need to be a big deal if farmers use the available tools and seek advice if they need it,” said EA agricultural policy advisor, Clare Blackledge.

The PLANET computer programme allows farmers to record manufactured fertiliser and manure applications. It also provides recommendations to ensure compliance with RB209 and a compliance report.

Copies of the CD-ROM, which was developed by ADAS, are free to farmers and advisors and are available from www.planet4farmers.co.uk

Over half (55%) of the land in England and Wales is within a NVZ – maps are available on the DEFRA website.