NVZ rules could hamper early N applications

Arable farmers wanting to make an early fertiliser application to crops like oilseed rape could find they need to begin preparing for Nitrate Vulnerable Zones legislation much earlier than they thought.

See our Guide to  NVZ legislation

Farmers in existing NVZs have until 30 April to complete NVZ paperwork showing how they will manage nitrogen on their farms, either from manufactured fertiliser ot animal manures.

But the rules stipulate that farmers must plan and record any application of nitrogen, whether from bagged or manufactured fertiliser. This means that growers wishing to make early dressings of nitrogen fertiliser will have to calculate their planned nitrogen use beforehand, says Richard King of consultant Andersons.

“Technically, farmers in existing NVZs should be planning applications of nitrogen fertiliser from 1 January. The 30 April deadline really applies to the animal manure storage calculations and the whole farm nitrogen limit.”

Farmers in new NVZs, under the 2008 update to the regulations, have until April 2010 to complete this process.

See our Guide to  NVZ legislation

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