Ensure slurry export forms are submitted

Friday, 18 January, 2019

Commodity Watch by UFU Environment & Rural Development Senior Policy Officer Aileen Lawson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union are reminding farmers that the deadline to submit records of slurry and all other organic manures exported from farms during 2018 is fast approaching. Any farm exporting slurry, chicken litter or manure to another farm must submit this information online to NIEA by the end of January.

Under the Nitrates Action Programme for Northern Ireland farmers must be able to show they meet the 170 kg of organic nitrogen per hectare limit over a year. This is effectively a stocking limit and while in Northern Ireland over 90% of farms are working under this limit, those that are over the 170kgN/ha/year must take action to ensure cross compliance penalties are avoided.

DAERA have calculated approximate eligible land requirements to meet the 170kgN/ha/year for some livestock types. For each dairy cow place DAERA estimate that approximately 1.61 acres is required, a sucker cow  place and calf place (up to 1 year) requires around 1.19 acres, 1 ewe and lamb 0.15 acres, 1000 laying hens require around 9.1 acres, 1000 broilers 0.59 acres and a sow place approximately 1.01acres. These figures may vary according to replacement rates and performance but will give farmers a rough idea of their requirements. 

If a farm’s livestock manure limit is above 170kg/ha/year in order to comply a farm can;

  • Apply for a Nitrates Derogation to operate at up to 250kgN/ha/year (grazing livestock only).  Application forms must be submitted to NIEA on or before 1 March and additional requirements met; or
  • Farm more eligible land (must be on SAF); or
  • Reduce livestock numbers; or
  • Export slurry / litter / manure – a record of this must be submitted to NIEA by 31 January

Those who opt to export slurry, must record these exports and submit the information online to NIEA by 31 January for the previous calendar year. That is, records for 1 January to 31 December 2018 must be submitted online by 31 January 2019. Records sent to NIEA must cover the date moved, type of livestock manure, quantity (tonnes or cubic metres), the transporter's name and address, and the importers name and business ID. If the records are not submitted the slurry export will not be included when calculating a farm's nitrogen loading and penalties are likely to be applied.

In order to submit manure export forms online by the 31 January deadline, farmers (or their agents) will need to register and obtain access to the Government Gateway. It is important that farmers act NOW to obtain this as it will take time for this to be processed. The online forms can be found in the online services section of the DAERA website under the CAFRE Nutrient Calculators. 

It is accepted by Government officials that organic manures will have to move between farms to ensure compliance therefore farmers importing slurry, chicken litter or manures should not be concerned about supplying their details to the farm exporting assuming they are meeting the 170kgN/ha/year limit.

For those farmers who have to submit records to NIEA, the UFU would advise that farmers start working on ensuring that they have all the necessary information as soon as possible and to not leave this too close to the deadline. UFU staff are available to carry out more detailed calculations to assist members.