Ensure slurry export forms are submitted

Friday, 8 January, 2021

Commodity watch by senior policy officer, Aileen Lawson

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) is reminding farmers that the deadline to submit records of slurry and all other organic manures exported from farms during 2020 is fast approaching. Any farm exporting slurry, chicken litter or manure to another farm must submit this information online to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) by the end of January.

Under the Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) for Northern Ireland (NI), 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 NI over 90 percent 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.

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

  • 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 the additional requirements met;
  • Farm more eligible land (must be on Single Application Form (SAF));
  • Reduce livestock numbers;
  • Export slurry / litter / manure – a record of this must be submitted to NIEA by 31 January.

Those farmers who opt to export slurry to meet the 170kgN/ha/year limit, must record 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 2020 must be submitted online by 31 January 2021. 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.

It is important to note that some nitrogen excretion levels for cattle were changed for the 2020 year and in particular the dairy cow figure increased from 91kgN/cow/year to 100kg N which may result in dairy farmers who were previously under the 170kgN/ha/year limit, now being over the limit. 

To submit manure export forms online by the 31 January deadline, farmers (or their agents) will need to access the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs’ online services through the ‘Government Gateway’ (the same access used for SAF forms). The ‘manure export records’ form can be found under the CAFRE nutrient calculators section. 

Farmers with an approved derogation have until 1 March to submit the export manure information along with their Fertilisation Accounts. 

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 as long as they too are meeting the 170kgN/ha/year limit.

For those farmers who are required to submit records to NIEA, the UFU would advise that farmers start working on this as soon as possible and to not leave this too close to the deadline. UFU staff are available to assist members.