Sunday, July 3, 2022
Home Water Management

8 new rules for water and what they mean for farmers

1930
122
spreadin-slurry-on-grassland

From April 2018 livestock farmers in England must comply with a new set of farming rules for water.

There are eight rules, five about managing fertilisers and manures and three on managing soils.

The rules have been introduced to help protect water quality, by standardising practices many farmers are already performing such as those in nitrate vulnerable zones (NVZs).

Nicola Dunn, AHDB resource management scientist, gave us the low-down on what the new rules mean.

The farming rules for water introduced on 2 April 2018 aim to:

  • Promote good practice in managing fertilisers and manures
  • Encourage land managers to take reasonable precautions to prevent diffuse pollution from runoff or soil erosion

Although they are new rules, there are many similarities with NVZ requirements and cross-compliance rules 1 and 5 of the standards of Good Agricultural and Environmental Conditions (GAEC).

However, some rules may be an additional requirement or new for farmers not in an NVZ, explains Dr Dunn.

“It’s really important all farmers in England are aware of the rules and make sure they are compliant. The rules are quite basic and most farmers should already meet the requirements,” she says.

Summary

In summary, the fertiliser rules require farmers to test their soils, then plan and apply their fertiliser or manure to improve soil nutrient levels and meet crop needs.

Soil testing is required at least every five years.

There are minimum storage and spreading distances from water sources. They also require farmers to assess weather and soil conditions to reduce the risk of runoff and soil erosion.

The remaining rules require farmers to manage livestock by protecting soil within five metres of water and reducing livestock poaching.

Enforcement

The rules will be enforced by the Environment Agency.  It is up to you to demonstrate your compliance. The rules do not dictate how you should demonstrate this, but it could be in the form of a written plan.

Rule 1: Planning use of manures and fertilisers

This rule may be new for farmers not in NVZs, farm assurance schemes or those not previously involved with catchment sensitive farming (CSF).

You must plan the use of fertiliser and manures in advance of each application to meet soil and crop nutrient needs and not exceed these levels.

When applying fertiliser to land that has been cultivated (ploughed, sowed or harvested in the past year or land where fertiliser or manure has been applied in the past three years), soil testing should be used in planning.

Soil tests must include measuring:

  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • pH
  • Nitrogen

Tests must be done at least every five years. For nitrogen, instead of a soil test you can use the soil nitrogen supply (SNS) assessment method .

Before each application you must also assess whether there is a significant risk of pollution. This involves you taking into account the following factors:

  • The slope of the agricultural land, especially if the slope is greater than 12deg
  • The amount of ground cover
  • Presence and condition of agricultural land drains
  • Proximity to inland fresh waters and coastal waters
  • Proximity to wetlands, spring and boreholes
  • Weather conditions and forecasts
  • Soil type and condition

You must be able to demonstrate you have taken reasonable precautions to reduce the risk of pollution when you apply manure or fertiliser.

There are free tools that can help you plan nutrient requirements, such as the RB209 manual, which was updated last year, Manner NPK and the Tried and Tested nutrient management plan.

Rule 2: Storing organic manures

The main thing to be aware of is the storage of organic manures (muck heaps) near watercourses.

Organic manures must not be stored on land:

  • within 10m of inland freshwaters or coastal waters;
  • where there is significant risk of pollution entering inland freshwaters or coastal waters;
  • within 50m of a spring, well or borehole.

Rule 3: Applying manures or fertilisers

Rules about when and where you can apply manure and fertiliser may be new to farmers not in an NVZ. However, the rules are generally recognised as good practice. The distance relating to watercourses are in line with other environmental regulations.

Organic manures or manufactured fertilisers must not be applied:

  • if the soil is waterlogged, flooded, or snow covered;
  • if the soil has been frozen for more than 12 hours in the previous 24 hours;
  • if there is significant risk of causing pollution.

Rule 4: Where not to apply organic manures

Organic manures must not be applied:

  • within 10m of any inland freshwater or coastal waters, or within 6m of inland freshwaters or coastal waters if precision equipment (for example, trailing hose or shoe band spreader, shallow injector, dribble bar applicator) is used;
  • within 50m of a spring, well or borehole.

Rule 5: Where not to apply fertiliser

Manufactured fertiliser must not be applied within 2m of inland freshwater or coastal waters.

Rule 6: Reasonable precautions to prevent soil erosion

You must take all reasonable precautions to prevent significant soil erosion and runoff from:

  • the application of organic manure and manufactured fertiliser;
  • land management and cultivation practices (such as seed-beds, tramlines, rows, beds, stubbles – including harvested land with haulm – polytunnels and irrigation);
  • creating farm tracks or gateways;
  • poaching by livestock;
  • cleaning out ditches.

Rule 7: Protecting against soil erosion by livestock

Any land within 5m of inland freshwater and coastal waters must be protected from significant soil erosion by preventing poaching by livestock. This may include erecting fences to keep animals away from watercourses in some circumstances; or wintering livestock on well-drained, level fields.

Rule 8: Position of livestock feeders

Livestock feeders must not be positioned:

  • within 10m of any inland freshwater or coastal waters;
  • within 50m of a spring, well or borehole;
  • where there is significant risk of pollution from poaching around the feeder entering any inland freshwaters or coastal waters.

What happens if you don’t comply?

  • The EA will help you identify the changes you need to make and agree on a timescale by which to make them
  • It will then carry out a follow-up visit and ask for photographic evidence of those changes
  • If there is a high risk of pollution, it may take enforcement action.
Agribusiness Information

122 COMMENTS

  1. Please let me know if you’re looking for a author
    for your blog. You have some really great articles and I think I would be a good asset.
    If you ever want to take some of the load off, I’d absolutely love
    to write some content for your blog in exchange for a link back to mine.
    Please send me an email if interested. Kudos!

  2. I am really loving the theme/design of your blog. Do you ever run into any internet
    browser compatibility problems? A small number of my blog readers have complained about my blog
    not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great
    in Safari. Do you have any tips to help fix this issue?

  3. Greetings I am so happy I found your webpage, I really found you by
    error, while I was researching on Askjeeve for something else, Anyhow I am here now and would just like to
    say many thanks for a fantastic post and a all round exciting blog
    (I also love the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through
    it all at the moment but I have saved it and also added your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a lot more,
    Please do keep up the excellent work.

  4. Greetings from Carolina! I’m bored at work so I decided to browse your site on my iphone during lunch break.
    I love the information you provide here and can’t wait to take a look
    when I get home. I’m amazed at how fast your blog loaded on my cell phone ..
    I’m not even using WIFI, just 3G .. Anyhow, superb blog!

  5. This design is spectacular! You certainly know how to keep a reader
    amused. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.

    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how
    you presented it. Too cool!

  6. Have you ever thought about writing an ebook or guest authoring on other blogs?

    I have a blog based on the same ideas you discuss and would love to have you share some stories/information. I know my readers would value your work.
    If you are even remotely interested, feel free to send me an e-mail.

  7. Fantastic beat ! I would like to apprentice while you amend
    your site, how could i subscribe for a blog website? The account aided me a acceptable deal.
    I had been tiny bit acquainted of this your
    broadcast provided bright clear idea

  8. Thank you for any other informative web site.
    The place else may I am getting that type of information written in such an ideal means?

    I’ve a challenge that I am simply now operating on, and I have been at the look out for such information.

  9. Hey there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my myspace group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Many thanks

  10. Today, I went to the beach with my children. I found a sea shell and gave it to
    my 4 year old daughter and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She put the shell to her ear and screamed.

    There was a hermit crab inside and it pinched her ear.
    She never wants to go back! LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  11. Hi, Neat post. There’s a problem together with your site
    in internet explorer, could test this? IE still is the market leader and a good element
    of other folks will miss your great writing due to this problem.

  12. Hello! I know this is sort of off-topic but I had to ask.

    Does building a well-established blog such as yours take a lot of work?
    I am completely new to running a blog however I do write in my journal daily.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my own experience and feelings online.
    Please let me know if you have any ideas or tips for
    brand new aspiring bloggers. Appreciate it!

  13. I’m not that much of a online reader to be honest but your blogs really nice,
    keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road.

    All the best

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here