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Compulsory usage of LESS in 2023: Who is impacted?

In this article, That’s Farming, looks at Ireland’s fifth Nitrates Action Programme in respect of the management of grazing land, LESS, technical review and air quality.

Management of grazing land

Firstly, the DAFM has reduced the commonage stocking rate allowance from 170kg N/ha to 50kg N/ha. No chemical fertiliser allowance is associated with commonage lands.

Farmers stocked < 100kgs/ha from January 1st, 2025, will only be allowed to reduce storage through outerwintering animals.

Technical review

The information in some tables are not up-to-date, seeing the following changes to be made:

  • Total N contained in 1-tonne cattle slurry is reduced to 2.4 kg N;
  • Total N contained in 1-tonne broilers/deep litter is increased to 28 kg N.
Air quality

The government of Ireland has said that ammonia is the most detrimental challenge for agriculture.

The new regulations make the use of Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) equipment compulsory for all farmers operating above 170kg N/ha as well as derogation farmers.

Based on this information, the DAFM is implementing a phased approach:

  • From January 1st, 2023, compulsory usage of LESS for all farmers operating above 150kg livestock N/ha;
  • Then, from January 1st, 2024, compulsory usage of LESS for all farmers operating above 130kg livestock N/ha;
  • From January 1st 2023, compulsory usage of LESS for all farmers operating above 100kg livestock N/ha;
  • The requirement to use LESS also applies to applying slurry produced by pigs on any holding from January 1st, 2023.

Furthermore, you must use LESS equipment when you are applying organic manure to arable land. Other, you should incorporate within 24-hours of application.

Crude protein in concentrates

Lastly, from March 11th, 2022, farms with grassland stocking rates of 130kg N/ha from grazing livestock manure or above will face a maximum crude protein content of 15% in feedstuff fed to grazing animals on the holding between April 15th and September 30th.

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