Dairy Event 2009: Understanding NVZ rules

New NVZ regulations have left many farmers questioning what to do. But with a concentration of expertise at this years’ Dairy Event and Livestock Show, many questions can be answered.

Do you understand how the NVZ rules brought in at the start of this year affect your business? Do you know if your farm has sufficient storage requirements for slurry and farm manure, and enough land to keep within the 170kg/ha N limit?

With new NVZ rules now affecting 68% of farmland in England, the next couple of months will, undoubtedly, be busy with seasonal work being completed, never mind tackling the plethora of action points which accompany the NVZ regulation requirements, according to Andersons consultant, Oliver Lee.

“We would advise farmers to focus on the following as soon as possible to determine what action their business should take.”

“Every farm within an NVZ must have a nitrogen plan for every field before any nitrogen applications, including manures, are made. Slurry storage calculations should also have been completed.”


  • Order Defra NVZ Booklets – all nine are required by livestock farmers
  • Perform your whole farm loading calculations, based on your business in 2008
  • Perform your storage calculations, based on the situation this winter
  • Complete crop nitrogen requirement calculations, and ensure N max rules are not going to be breached
  • Maintain nitrogen application records on a field-by-field basis
  • Create a risk map if storing and/or spreading manures
  • Understand the practical reality of the rules (for example, muck heap positioning, spreading dates and methods) and incorporation requirements into bare stubbles

The Dairy Event and Livestock Show to be staged at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, on 16 and 17 September offers one of the great opportunities this year to catch up, run through the check list of action points and further investigate how to meet outstanding actions. Specialist consultants will be available to take you through those points as well as the key rules – the whole farm-loading limit, manure storage requirements, the closed spreading periods and crop requirements and applications.

ADAS will be available to discuss the contents of the latest RB209 document, scheduled for publication this year and destined to be more accurate and reliable than the current issue. ADAS will also be demonstrating the latest version of MANNER, the decision support system that can be used to accurately predict the fertiliser nitrogen value of organic manures on a field-specific basis.

Furthermore, with the 2012 ban looming on high trajectory spreaders spreading over four metres, the event provides an ideal opportunity to make a more informed decision on the alternative methods of slurry application available. More than 20 exhibitors will be offering a wide range of applicators that can be used with either tankers or umbilical systems, including dribble bars, trailing shoes, tine and spike wheel injectors, disc injectors and cultivator incorporators.

Another alternative worth exploring will be equipment that separates solids from the liquid fraction of slurry and in turn ease storage issues and improve application. Farmers will also be able to discuss how to turn muck in to grass from a farm biogas installation based on anaerobic digestion. Not only does the operation reduce slurry handling and waste management requirements, but the power generated can meet farmers’ own high requirements. Equally important, any surplus can be sold for export into the national grid while the remaining digestate can be used as a nutrient rich bio-fertiliser and replace increasingly expensive nitrogen-based fertiliser.

30 Apr 2009: Storage calculations must be in place

Summer 2009: Derogation details for loading limit confirmed

1 Jan 2010: Risk map must be completed and up-to-date

30 Apr 2010: Loading calculations must have been completed

1 Jan 2012: Storage facilities must be adequate

Farmers Weekly Dairy Farmer of the Year, Charlie Whittingham who manages a 320-cow Jersey herd at Llanbedr Farm, Ruthin says he will be spending some of his time at the Dairy Event and Livestock Show investigating slurry separation kit and lagoons. “I see this as a chance to catch up on all the alternatives, find out more about lagoon building, including the necessity for butyl rubber lining and work out what has the potential to be the least cost route to meet with requirements.”

Slurry and muck advisory centre 

Farmers are invited to bring along a sample of slurry or farm yard manure for free analysis,

ADAS specialists will be on hand to help farmers interpret the analysis, its value in terms of N and other nutrients, and how best to use it.


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