Nitrates Decree

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The Government Decree on the Restriction of Discharge of Nitrates from Agriculture into Waters (1250/2014), or the Nitrates Decree, applies to all animal shelters, field use and horticulture. The Decree contains provisions concerning, inter alia, soil fertilisation, the use and storage of livestock manure, silage effluent recovery, as well as the placement of livestock shelters and exercise areas.

In addition, the environmental protection regulations include provisions regarding stables and manure treatment.

Manure storage

According to the Decree, animal shelters must have a leak-proof manure storage large enough for manure accumulated over 12 months. Instead of a storage, the manure can be placed in a moveable container, if the manure is handed over to a recipient holding a relevant environmental permit or to another farm for storage. The said container must be leak-proof and placed under a roof or a tarpaulin, for example.

Notification regarding manure windrows

Windrowing cannot replace manure pits on a permanent basis. The location, size, structure and duration of the windrow must meet the requirements laid down in the Nitrates Decree. Windrows must be reported to the Espoo Environment Department with a notification 14 days before they are set up.

Fertiliser use and amounts

Manure may be applied mainly from 1 April to 31 October. The Nitrates Decree restricts the use of nitrogen fertilisers and their application on sloping fields or fields located next to waterways. Wells and springs from which household water is drawn must be surrounded with a 30–100 metre wide riparian zone free from animal manure. Fertilisation is forbidden on areas closer than five metres to a watercourse.

The Decree obliges farmers to keep a record of the amount of nitrogen fertilisers used, and to conduct a manure nitrogen analysis at five-year intervals.