Dairy farmer Owen Brodie.

Farmers angered by derogation reduction

Farmers have reacted angrily to the recent decision to change to nitrates derogation rules.


A total of 51 Cavan farmers will be impacted by the reducion in the amount of organic nitrogen they can spread from 250kg/ha to 220kg/ha.

Virginia-based dairy farmer Owen Brodie is one of those affected and says it will have a big impact on his farm.

“I'll have to reduce my herd by 10%, which is around 18 cows. It will have a massive impact on things like my milk cheque and will have a knock-on effect on things like how many people I employ as well as the business I do with vets and contractors. I also have to sell stock, which there is reduced demand for, and it will mean that land rental prices will go up, which will mean that beef and tillage farmers will struggle to compete for land.”


Owen labelled the move a knee-jerk decision.

“There is no science to show that this is the right move. Politicians are doing what is easy to manage rather than what is the right. It will push the price of food up, and we could go from a position of being an exporter of food to being an importer,” he surmised.

A total of 2,096 farmers have been impacted nationwide, with Cork (434) having the most farmers affected, while Tipperary (345), Kilkenny (176) Laois (121), and Monaghan (111) make up the rest of the top five.

However, the total number is still unknown as full data will not be revealed until the end of 2023.

The IFA branded the decision as a betrayal for dairy farm families.

“Most who are in derogation are farming small to average size farms and this is going to make many of them unviable unless they can find expensive land to rent, that they actually do not require other than for nitrates calculation purposes,” said IFA national dairy chairperson Stephen Arthur.