A Burden For Arable Farmers Too

UK - The new Nitrate Vulnerable Zone proposals would be a burden on all arable farmers as well as livestock producers in England, says Association of Independent Crop Consultants chairman Andrew Watson.
calendar icon 31 August 2007
clock icon 2 minute read

“The effect of the proposed NVZ rule changes has been understandably emphasised on the livestock sector, which will have to bear the substantial costs of increased slurry storage requirements, however, these proposals are also going to have an impact on arable farmers,” said Mr Watson.

“As one of the organisations that has been consulted on these proposals for the last 18 months, I have some sympathy with Defra as to the political and legal position it is in within the European Union. However, the current proposals will force an enormous cost on to English farmers.”

Although it has been suggested that 70 per cent of England is to be designated as an NVZ, he believes it likely that the option to increase to 100 per cent will be exercised by Defra. “This will reduce the complexity of administering and policing the rules and will also keep all farmers on a level playing field and avoid the detrimental effect on land prices of a farm being in an NVZ.”

Four areas will have a broad and dramatic effect on English farmers, said Mr Watson.


“Firstly, closed periods for application of slurry and poultry manure, using Defra’s own figures, are projected to cost farmers up to £23m each year but will reduce nitrate losses by between 0.5 and 1 per cent. Much as the vast majority of farmers would wish to reduce their contribution to nitrates in water, is this the most cost effective or efficient way to do it?”

Source: FarmersGuardian
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