Deadline for spreading chemical fertilizer tomorrow

The closed period for the application of chemical fertilizer (nitrogen N and phosphorous P) will begin on Friday, September 15, as the deadline is fast approaching for some farmers.

With tomorrow Thursday, September 14 being the last day for chemical fertilizer spreading, if fertilizer stocks are retained on-farm after the deadline, they must be recorded on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) national Fertilizer Database as ‘closing stocks’.

While the September 15 deadline applies to all, farmers must also be aware that the prohibited period for the spreading of chemical fertilizer has been extended next spring, depending on the area they are in.

The following list is a breakdown of the counties in each zone:

  • Area A: Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford, Wicklow;
  • Area B: Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath;
  • Area C: Cavan, Monaghan, Donegal, Leitrim.

Farms located in ‘Zone A’, cannot apply chemical fertilizer until the deadline ends on January 26, allowing them to spread on January 27.

The earliest date in which farmers in ‘Zone B’ can spread is January 30.

In addition, farmers located in the ‘Zone C’ counties cannot spread chemical fertilizers containing N or P until the season opens on February 15, 2024.

In addition, the date by which organic manures (excluding farmyard manure) must be spread will be two weeks earlier in 2023. The last date for spreading organic fertilizers is October 1.

Meanwhile, farmers must have farmyard manure applied before November 1, as this is when the prohibited period for farmyard manure spreading comes into force.

Depending on the zone, farmers are required to have a minimum storage capacity of between 16 to 22 weeks:

Area Storage
HAS 16 weeks
B 18 weeks
VS 20 weeks
C (Cavan and Monaghan) 22 weeks
Storage periods for livestock manure

Farms that are under the 130kg of organic N can reduce storage requirements by outwintering stock – farms over 130kg cannot.

Fertilize use

From October 2022 to June 2023, a total of 935,423t of fertilizer was sold, consisting of 379,075t of straight fertilizer and 556,348t of compound fertilizer.

The total figure is down 15.43% on the total figure for the 2021/2022 statistical year, which was 1,106,109t.

Sales of straight fertilisers containing N in the three quarters to June stood at 361,953t, while sales of compound fertilisers containing N amounted to 547,156t.

The combined sales for fertilizer containing N were 909,156t, a decrease of 15.78% for the same figure for the three quarters to June 2022.


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