NVZ Rules

Published 14 October 13


Key requirements of the NVZ rules

Updated NVZ regulations came into force across England in May 2013. There are a number of changes to the regulations and requirements will vary for those farms designated in an NVZ before 2013 and those first designated in 2013. The most recent guidance note for farmers in complying with the NVZ regulations in England for 2013 – 2016 can be downloaded from: https://www.gov.uk/nitrate-vulnerable-zones.  

  • Key requirements of NVZ’s:

    • Livestock manure nitrogen (N) farm limit: A loading limit of 170 kg/ha of total N from livestock manures (deposited during grazing and by spreading) per calendar year, averaged across the farmed area. This is calculated by using standard nitrogen production figures for animals on your holding throughout the year
    • Grassland derogations: Farms with at least 80% of the agricultural area as grassland can apply for a derogation to operate at a higher manure N farm limit of 250 kg N/ha. More information on derogation applications for 2014 can be found at:  www.gov.uk/nvz-derogation-application
    • Closed periods: These prohibit the spread of organic manures with high available nitrogen content and manufactured nitrogen fertilisers during specific periods of the year. These vary dependent on country, crop type and soil type
    • Manure storage capacity: Farms must provide sufficient storage facilities to store all slurry produced by livestock during a period of 6 months for pigs (1 October to 1 April) and 5 months for cattle (1 October to 1 March), and to store all poultry manure produced during a period of 6 months. Changes in the Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil Regulations (SSAFO) now require you to notify the Environment Agency at least 14 days before you start to construct a new or altered store.

    Further information on NVZ Regulations in Scotland and Wales is available from:

    Scotland: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/farmingrural/Agriculture/Environment/NVZintro

    Wales: http://new.wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/epq/waterflooding/nitratezones/?lang=en


Tools and Advice

There is a range of sources of advice and tools available to help you manage your organic manures. These include:

  • PLANET: a software tool to assist farmers with field level nutrient management.
  • MANNER NPK; a software tool that provides farms and advisers with a quick estimate of crop available nitrogen, phosphate and potash from applications of organic manures. MANNER NPK is available to download from:       www.planet4farmers.co.uk/MANNER
  • Watch our step-by-step guide on how to use MANNER-NPK here.

The Farming Advice Service (FAS) provides free advice on nutrient management (including nitrates regulations) and Cross Compliance.

FAS helpline number 0845 345 1302

FAS website: www.defra.gov.uk/farming-advice