Winter is one of the toughest times of year for the agriculture sector. However, there is still a lot to do. At the same time, it is important to look at the various rules and ensure you are in compliance. One thing in particular you need to look at here is fertiliser use and diffuse water pollution. The Environment Agency can take enforcement action if you fail to comply.
Why are there rules?
Diffuse water pollution is a big concern in many parts of the UK. What can happen is fertiliser, slurry, manure, pesticides, and soil can all wash from fields. They can enter ditches, streams, and rivers, resulting in harm to ecosystems and wildlife. Fertilisers and pesticides can also get into groundwater if they percolate down through the soil.
The Environment Agency chose to introduce the rules to ensure that people in the agricultural industry know what the expectation is. They can therefore take action to reduce the risk of polluting water.
What are the rules for winter?
There is a specific focus on applying fertilisers and organic manures in winter. Farmers should not be using any if soil is waterlogged or covered in snow. There should also not be any application if the ground is frozen or has been for more than 12 of the previous 24 hours. There is a very high chance of the fertiliser or manure flowing from the field due to these conditions.
The most important rule here is that applications should not exceed the needs of the soil or crop. It is potentially damaging to use excessive amounts, especially in winter. This is also more costly for farmers.
There are a number of things farmers need to do to make sure they don’t exceed land or crop needs. Firstly, they need to have a good idea of what they are. Sampling and analysis of the soil can be vital here. You will need to do it if you are using a field that has been cultivated in the past three years with fertilisers or with the application of manure in the previous year.
The aim is to get an idea of soil pH and nutrient levels so you don’t add excessive nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium, and other elements. In turn that can reduce the risk of diffuse pollution.
As per the rules, farmers and land managers should have a plan in place. It should detail that they are properly planning the application of fertiliser or manure. It should include crop nutrient requirements. Plus, info to show efforts to avoid diffuse pollution should be present.
It is important to note that the rules do not impose a ban on applying fertiliser or manure. You can still do applications if the conditions allow and you have shown that it is necessary and won’t cause excessive pollution.
Speak to us if you need to order fertiliser
JS Hubbuck Ltd understands the importance of using fertilisers effectively. They can be vital for crop production, but you can’t ignore the risk to the environment. You must have a plan in place, use them properly, and ensure you comply with rules and regulations. It is even important to look at how you store products to minimise the risk of pollution.
If you do need fertiliser, you can rely on us to supply it. We have been serving Scotland and Northern England for decades. You can contact us to learn more about our product range and to place an order.