Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) – Activity Calendar

Date published: 03 January 2018

The Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) aims to protect water quality by protecting our rivers, lakes and groundwater from nutrient pollution coming from agricultural sources. The key measures within NAP encourage best farming practice in managing manures and chemical fertiliser. The following calendar summarises the activity and date your need to take action by to ensure compliance with NAP.


Dates to comply with and take action by!

Date Response Activity

31 January

Take action by Non-derogated farms: submit records of any exported organic manures for the previous calendar year using the online system at

Midnight 31 January


(if ground & weather conditions permit)

End of closed period for spreading all fertiliser and manure
1 March Take action by

Deadline for derogated farmers

  • Submit derogation application using the online system at:
  • Complete fertilisation plan (held on farm for inspection)
  • Submit fertilisation account for the previous calendar year, which will include exported organic manures, using the online system at:
30 June Take action by Complete records for the period 1 January to 31 December the previous year.

Comply with

After harvesting any crops until 15 January the following year:-

  • The stubble must be retained in the land; or
  • The land sown with a crop which will take up the N from the soil, or where soil or weather conditions prevent a subsequent crop from being sown, appropriate measures put in place to limit soil erosion
Midnight 15 September  Stop

Start of closed period for spreading :-

  • Chemical N and P fertiliser to grassland.
  • Any chemical fertiliser to any land for crops other than grass unless there is a demonstrable crop requirement.
Midnight 15 October Stop

Start of closed period for spreading:-

  • Any organic manure apart from farmyard manure and dirty water to any land.
  • All types of organic manure (including farmyard manure and dirty water) to a derogated holding, if the fertilisation plan indicates a proposal to disturb the soil as part of grass cultivation.
Midnight 31 October Stop Start of closed period for spreading farmyard manure to any land.
    The following only applies to field storage of poultry litter
At any time Contact NIEA Before field storage of poultry litter, obtain prior authorisation from NIEA 028 9262 3280   

For further information, visit the DAERA website, search under Nitrates to review the Nitrates Action Programme and Nitrates Derogation Guidance.

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