IFA National Grain Chairman Kieran McEvoy said despite the recent amendments to the legislation surrounding mandatory stubble cultivation under the Nitrates Derogation, ultimately the requirement to shallow cultivate 85-90% of the cereal stubble area is a very onerous and challenging demand to place on tillage farmers at the busiest time of year.
“The provision in the legislation for a derogation from post-harvest cultivation is welcome, but fundamentally the requirement to cultivate cereal stubbles 7-14 days after harvesting is unworkable in this country during the month of August,” he said.
The scientific and meteorological criteria for when a derogation from stubble cultivation will be granted need to be defined urgently by the Nitrates Expert Review Group, he said.
In submissions to DAFM, IFA highlighted the negative effects mandatory stubble cultivation would have on the post-harvest management of both oilseed rape stubble and fields with certain grassweed species. The exemptions now in place make more sense.
“The exemption from the requirement to maintain a 6m buffer zone around watercourses specifically within fields containing late harvested combinable crops is also more practical and realistic,” he said.