Changes to record keeping for high phosphorous poultry manure

Poultry producers in Northern Ireland are being reminded that the final date to send manure exportation records for 2019 to the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) is January 31, 2020.

Last year saw a revision of nitrogen and phosphorous excretion rates for poultry production systems. 

Changes to the Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) 2019 – 2022 Regulations mean changes in management and record keeping for producers who use high Phosphorous (High P) manures.

For the purposes of NAP, high P manures are defined as “organic manures which contain more than 0.25kg of total Phosphorous (P) per 1kg of total Nitrogen (N)”. Under this definition the following manures are now classed as high P: broiler breeder; commercial egg and free-range egg layer; pullet; duck and pig farm yard manure.

Broiler, free range broiler and turkey manure are not however classed as high P manures. 

So, how will these changes affect producers if they use High-P manures? The answer is that these changes will mean extra record keeping for the farms in question.

From January 1, 2020 a soil analysis is required to show that there is a crop requirement for phosphorous. A fertilisation plan must also be prepared and kept up to date by farms using high P manure. When manures contain a high proportion of phosphorous compared to nitrogen, there is a risk of over application of phosphorous when nitrogen is applied in line with crop requirement.

In the poultry sector this will impact broiler breeder, commercial egg layer (including free range egg layer), pullet rearers and duck farmers spreading manure from their units on their own ground. 

However, it will also impact on farmers who are importing manure from these types of enterprises and using it on their land.  Farmers importing these types of manure for use must also have a soil analysis and fertilisation plan completed.

NIEA will use records of soil tests, land areas of crops grown and amounts and types of fertilisers applied to check whether farmers have complied with the phosphate application limits for different crops.  If there are not sufficient records for the calculations to be completed, or if you have over applied high P manure, this will be a breach of the Regulations and will have implications for Area-Based Scheme payments. 

The rules set out in the Nutrients Action Programme (NAP) 2019 – 2022 Regulations apply to all farm businesses in Northern Ireland. 

If you are undertaking any of the activities covered by the Regulations you have a legal obligation to comply with the rules. This applies regardless of whether or not you are claiming any Area-Based Scheme payments.  Failure to comply may lead to legal action being taken against your business by NIEA.

Completion of the records must be done via DAERA’s online services.

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