Nitrates Regulation

To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food his views on whether the current fertiliser application rates allowable under the Nitrates Regulation are inadequate in view of the concern regarding phosphate depletions on farms; if his attention has been drawn to the fact that a number of farmers are attributing herd fertility problems directly to inadequate phosphate applications level; if his further attention his been drawn to the fact that malting barley is facing greater difficulty in achieving protein standards required by consumers due to the inadequate allowable application in the regulations; and if he will ensure the restoration of competitiveness of farming here by allowing similar application rates as are allowed in other countries such as the UK. – Dan Neville.

For WRITTEN answer on Wednesday, 29th September, 2010.

Ref No: 32553/10

REPLY

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food: (Brendan Smith)

Phosphorous levels in the soil and protein levels in malting barley were among the issues raised in submissions received during the public consultation process that formed part of the review of The European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations, commonly known as the ‘Nitrates Regulations’. These regulations constitute the legal basis for Ireland’s National Action Programme under the Nitrates Directive. The Regulations fall due for review this year.

An Expert Advisory Group was established to consider the submissions. The Group presented its’ report to me and to my colleague the Minister for Environment, Heritage and Local Government last week.

The conclusions and recommendations of the Group are now under consideration and will inform any adjustments to the National Action Programme.