When did the regulations start?
They have applied to all farmers in Northern Ireland since 1 January 2007. However two measures will be phased in over a period of time; namely the requirement for storage capacity, and closed periods for spreading organic manures.
What storage do I require on my farm?
The minimum requirement is 26 weeks for pig and poultry enterprises and 22 weeks for other livestock .
When is the closed period for applying organic manure?
No application is permitted on 16 October through to 31 January, except for farmyard manure or dirty water.
When is the closed period for applying chemical nitrogen fertiliser?
No application is allowed from 15 September to 31 January. However, chemical fertiliser can be applied to some crops, other than grass during this time, if a crop need can be demonstrated.
Is there a closed period for farmyard manure?
No. It can be applied throughout the year provided soil and weather conditions are suitable.
Are there conditions outside the closed period when I cannot apply organic and chemical fertiliser?
- when soil is waterlogged, (this is when water appears on the surface of the land when pressure is added)
- when land is flooded or likely to flood
- when soil has been frozen for 12 hours or longer
- when land is snow covered
- if heavy rain is forecast within the next 48 hours
- where land is steeply sloping with an average incline of 20 per cent or more and where other factors such as waterways, soil conditions, ground cover and rainfall presents a significant risk of water pollution occurring
How close can I apply chemical fertiliser to waterways?
You can apply chemical fertiliser to within 1.5 metres of a waterway.
How close can I apply organic manure to waterways?
You can apply organic manure:
- to within 20 metres of lakes
- to within 10 metres of any other waterway, (including open areas of water, open field drains or any drain which has been backfilled to the surface with permeable material such as stone/aggregate)
- however, this may be reduced to 3 metres, provided the land has an average incline less than 10 per cent towards a waterway, and the organic manures are spread by bandspreaders, trailing shoe, trailing hose or soil injection; or where the adjoining area is less than 1 hectare in size or not more than 50 metres in width
- to within 50 metres of a borehole, spring or well
- to within 250 metres of a borehole used for a public water supply
- to within 15 metres of exposed cavernous or karstified limestone features (such as swallow-holes and collapse features)
Does slurry have to be spread by a particular method?
Yes. Slurry must be applied close to the ground using spreaders with, for example inverted splash plate, bandspreaders, trailing shoe, trailing hose soil injection or soil incorporation methods. Sludgigator type spreaders and upper facing splash-plates cannot be used.
Is dirty water subject to a closed period?
No. Dirty water may be applied to land throughout the year provided soil and weather conditions are suitable; provision for the safe storage of dirty water should be available for periods when conditions are not suitable for land application.
Does dirty water have to be applied by a particular method?
Yes. Dirty water must be applied to land using the same methods that apply to slurry. Sludgigator type spreaders and upper facing splash-plates cannot be used. However, dirty water can also be spread by irrigation.
What limits are there on the land application of livestock manure?
The amount of total nitrogen in livestock manures applied to the land, including by the animals themselves, shall not exceed 170 kg N per hectare per year. In Northern Ireland it is the intensive farms that tend to exceed this limit. Approximately 90 per cent of farmers are under this limit.
Are there limits on the land application of chemical P fertiliser?
Yes. Chemical Phosphorus (P) fertiliser must not be applied unless there is a requirement, taking account of the soil fertility status, and the supply of phosphorus from the application of organic manures. Soil fertility status can only be established through a soil test.
Where can I store farmyard manure?
Farmyard manure should be stored in a midden with adequate effluent collection and storage facilities.
However farmyard manure may also be stored in a compact heap in the field where land application will take place until the next application but for no longer than 180 days. It must not be stored in the same location of the field year after year.
Are there any restrictions on where I can store farmyard manure heaps in relation to waterways or underground strata?
Farmyard manure heaps must not be stored within:
- 50 metres of lakes
- 20 metres of any other waterway, including open areas of water, open field drains or any drain which has been backfilled to the surface with permeable material such as stone/aggregate
- 50 metres of a borehole, spring or well
- 250 metres of a borehole used for a public water supply
- 50 metres of exposed cavernous or karstified limestone features (such as swallow-holes and collapse features)