The European Commission has informed Ireland that the derogation for spreading manure will not be extended again. As of January 1, 2026, the country will no longer have an exception.
Brussels had already notified the withdrawal of this extension after it became evident that nitrate pollution in soil and surface waters had not been sufficiently reduced. Ireland’s current derogation expires on January 1, 2026, with the derogation limit in certain areas reduced from 250 to 220 kilograms per hectare on January 1, 2024.
This adjustment will take effect in just a few months. Irish Agriculture Minister Charlie McConalogue, like his German and Dutch counterparts before him, unsuccessfully attempted to secure a ‘transition year’ from Brussels.
According to Minister McConalogue, Environment Commissioner Virginijus Sinkevicius has confirmed that there is little chance of revising the current decision of the Commission. ‘The Commissioner made it clear that Ireland is one of only three remaining Member States with a derogation, emphasizing that there is no prospect of a revision.’
The news means that thousands of Irish dairy farmers will be forced to reduce their livestock or acquire additional pasture within the next four months to comply with the new EU rules for managing their manure.
Earlier this year, the Irish government proposed a package of measures on how the country can reduce its livestock over the next few years. A decision on this proposal is expected to be made in the coming weeks.