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DEFRA has announced new farming rules for water, which will come into effect on 2nd April 2018.
The new rules, to be enforced by the Environment Agency, aim to promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures and encourage farmers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion. DEFRA expect that most farmers are already likely to comply with the rules.
Farmers will now be required to carry out soil testing for pH, Phosphorus, Potassium, Magnesium and Nitrogen on cultivated land at least every 5 years. Helpfully, soil testing will be introduced in a phased way so that analyses undertaken during the previous four years can be taken into account. However, extra costs may be incurred as Nitrogen analyses is not included in most standard soil analyses as it requires a different sampling method to the other nutrients. It will be interesting to see further detail on these requirements from the Environment Agency in due course.
Farmers will have to use the analyses to plan their applications of organic manures and manufactured fertilisers to cultivated land in advance, to meet (and not exceed) soil and crop nutrient needs.
Other rules include the prevention of livestock poaching within 5m of a watercourse, minimum distances from watercourses when positioning livestock feeders, and timing restrictions for the application of organic manures and manufactured fertilisers.
For further information on the new rules or any other farm business consultancy advice please contact:
[team-member name=”Ben Rogerson”]
[team-member name=”Sam Dale”]