Dairy farmers have until the end of July to register their nitrogen fertiliser use for the past year.
A Ministry for the Environment spokesperson said nitrogen cap regulations seek to reduce environmental impacts by limiting the amount of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser farmers can apply to no more than 190kg/ha/year on grazed land area.
“The application of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser leads to higher-than-normal nitrate levels in the soil.
“Runoff and leachate from soil with high nitrate levels can contaminate and degrade waterways and groundwater supplies,” a spokesperson said in a statement.
The cap applies to all farms over 20ha where animals graze grass and annual forage crop.
Only dairy farmers are required to report their nitrogen fertiliser use for the year ended June 30, which must be lodged by July 31.
Farmers can choose which tool they use to comply with the regulations, reporting either directly to their regional councils or via one of the fertiliser company portals: HawkEye or MyBallance.
Another option is to lodge their use through the N-Cap Webform online tool: ncap.teurukahika.govt.nz.
Farm managers must record or retain the area in pastoral use, including parts used to grow annual forage crops, and receipts of purchases of synthetic nitrogen fertiliser and the types applied, including the percentage of the nitrogen component by dry weight.
They also need to record application rates and dates it was applied.
Farmers must have resource consent to exceed the 190kg/ha cap. For fodder crops, the cap may be exceeded to meet the needs of some types of plants, but the average across the pastoral system must not exceed the cap.