Agreement has been reached in Ireland on a new Nitrates Action Plan, reports Irish farm development agency Teagasc.

Among the main changes affecting pig and poultry producers is an extension of transitional provisions so that the current arrangements allowing phosphorus (P) limits to be exceeded will now apply until Jan. 1, 2013. After that date, the excess P that may be applied will be limited to 5 kilograms (kg) per hectare (ha). The limit will be cut further to 3 kg/ha from Jan. 1, 2015. From Jan. 1, 2017, the application of pig or poultry manures may not exceed the maximum quantities set down in the regulations.

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The application limits for phosphorus are adjusted for crops and yields. With cereals, for example, an additional 3.8 kg P/ha may be applied for each additional metric ton that the crop yield is above a reference value of 6.5 tons/ha. For grassland, an added allowance of 15 kg P/ha may be applied where the soil has a low phosphorus index.