NVZ regulations continue to hamper dairy farmers

segunda-feira, 21 de fevereiro de 2011

Nearly half of farmers surveyed by the NFU will not have enough slurry storage to comply with Nitrate Vulnerable Zone (NVZ) regulations coming into force in less than a year’s time.

The survey, looking at measures adopted by dairy farmers to comply with changes to the NVZ Action Programme, has also revealed a fifth of farmers will not invest to meet with the regulation with more than a third planning to invest less than £25k.

To further compound the situation 46% of dairy farmers have a nitrogen farm loading above the 170 kg per hectare limit stipulated.

NFU Cymru Deputy President Stephen James believes this is yet another mountain to climb for struggling dairy farmers. He said, “The survey has confirmed our worst fears and shown the very low levels of investment within the dairy sector. With farmers on average being paid a milk price 3ppl less than it costs to produce it, there’s no wonder that these investment levels are so low. Complying with the new NVZ rules could be a step too far for some farmers.

“What’s also worrying is the number of dairy farmers that still don’t really know how compliance with the regulations will impact their farm practices. It seems that many may be playing a game of wait and see. But with some of the new regulations already in place and others, such as sufficient slurry storage, coming into force from January 1 2012, farmers don’t have long to comply and some may well be questioning their future in the industry.

“It’s clear that farmers need more support and guidance on complying with the regulation. There are other constraints too though not least the hoops that must now be jumped through to get planning permission. This just adds to the pressures and difficulties of justifying such investment.

“There is still of course an argument that the 1 January 2012 deadline for slurry storage should be extended to coincide with the outcome of the next review when some areas may possibly come out of the NVZ regulation.”