The Nitrates Directive requires that farmers comply with a stocking rate limit of 170 kg of Nitrogen (N) from livestock manure per hectare per year. The Nitrates Derogation allows farmers, subject to strict additional environmental conditions, to apply up to 250 kg of livestock manure nitrogen per hectare and is an important facility for more intensive farmers.
The number of farmers who applied for a Nitrates Derogation in 2018, allowing them to farm to the higher stocking rate limit of 250 kg/N/ha was 6,891. The monitoring and processing of these applications is an ongoing process. 2018 applicants have until 31 March 2019 to submit final supporting documentation.
However, in 2017 the number of farmers who breached the 250 kg of nitrogen per hectare limit was 64, which was less than 1% of the total number of applicants. Of those who breached the 250 kg limit, one was designated as a controlled finishing unit (formerly know as feedlot).