Thursday, August 18, 2022

Nitrogen cap reporting off to a non-start

Neal Wallace
Feds seeks clarity as Government misses deadline for start of programme.
As deadlines go unmet, the situation with synthetic nitrogen reporting has been described as ‘confusing’.

Delays in creating a system for dairy farmers to report their synthetic nitrogen fertiliser use mean a delay of at least a month in farmers having to meet the new requirement.

The policy had been due to start on July 1, and would have required dairy farmers to report by July 31 each year their annual nitrogen use in the previous year.

They must not exceed application of 190kg of nitrogen per hectare.

Federated Farmers board member Colin Hurst said the situation is “confusing” and the organisation is seeking clarity from the Government and Ministry for the Environment (MfE).

He said it is another example of legislation being rushed through Parliament before tools and systems are ready to make it work.

An MfE spokesperson said the delay is due to an online reporting system being developed by regional councils and fertiliser companies.

“We understand that the tool is likely to be operating by the end of August 2022,” the spokesperson said.

The spokesperson said the ministry has been informed of the delay and taken “a neutral position” as this is a matter for councils and farmers to manage.

Hurst said that by law dairy farmers need report their synthetic nitrogen use by July 31 each year, but what that means in practice is unclear, which is why they are seeking clarity.  

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