Nitrates Directive

To download a copy of the nitrates directive click the link below

“The Nitrates Directive”

Table 1. Storage Periods for Livestock Manure
Zone Storage Period Counties
Zone A 16 Weeks Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow.
Zone B 18 Weeks Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath.
Zone C 20 Weeks Donegal and Leitrim.
Zone D 22 Weeks Cavan and Monaghan.
Table 2. Periods When the Application of Fertilisers to Land is Prohibited
Chemical/Bag Fertiliser Organic Fertiliser (other than FYM) Farm Yard Manure (FYM)
Zone A 15 Sept–12 Jan 15 Oct–12 Jan 1 Nov–12 Jan
Zone B 15 Sept to 15 Jan 15 Oct–15 Jan 1 Nov–15 Jan
Zone C + D 15 Sept–31 Jan 15 Oct–31 Jan 1 Nov–31 Jan

The recommendations in this section are using the RoI fertiliser classification system and are based on Teagasc research. Due to slight differences between the RoI and NI classification systems, these recommendations are only a guide for Northern Ireland farmers. They can be converted between the RoI and NI classification systems using this Conversion Table

Nutrient Management Plan

  1. Soil test should be carried out every 3 to 5 years.
  2. Follow the Nitrates Directive regulations for the land and crop in question.
  3. Apply slurry or manures where required and available.
  4. Use the table below to estimate the nutrients supplied by the slurry or manure.
  5. Deduct this from nutrient requirements and then decide on the fertiliser still required and use accordingly.
  6. This is a guide to the values which would be expected to be available to the plants if the soil is index 2, 3 or 4. It is worth remembering that at index 1, the soil takes in the nutrients and so it is not available to the plant.
Table 3. Typical N / P / K value of Slurry
N kg/tonne in Spring Application N kg/tonne in Summer Application P Kg/tonne K Kg/tonne
Cattle Slurry 0.9 0.2 0.6 4.3
Pig Slurry 2.3 0.5 0.9 2.6
Farmyard Manure 0.5 0 1 6.8

Typically if spread in March or early April, 1000gallons of cattle slurry will provide nutrients similar to a bag of 8-6-39, if spread in June, the Nitrogen content available to the crop will be virtually nil.

It is also very important to follow the Nitrates Directive and to follow the code of good fertiliser practice when applying nutrients:

  1. Keep nutrient applications in line with the parameters of the Nitrate Directive.
  2. Adopt a responsible attitude with regard to nutrient management.
  3. Make deductions regarding the value of animal manures used.
  4. Do not apply fertiliser when heavy rainfall is forecast.
  5. Do not apply fertiliser when soils are saturated.
  6. Do not apply fertiliser when soils are frozen or snow is forecast.
  7. When applying fertiliser, avoid contamination of watercourses.
  8. Maintain machinery to a high standard and calibrate it properly so as an even application of nutrients can be achieved.