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Grassland Derogation Guidance & Forms

The Scottish Government has been successful in securing a derogation from the NVZ Action Programme (Scotland) Regulations 2008 in relation to the 170 kg/ha limit on nitrogen from organic manures.

Farming Cows

The Nitrates Directive limits the total amount of nitrogen (N) from livestock manure (including that deposited by grazing animals) that can be applied on a farm to 170kg of nitrogen per hectare per year. The derogation allows farms that meet certain conditions, to apply up to a maximum of 250kg of nitrogen per hectare per year.


To be eligible to apply for the derogation a farm must meet the following criteria:


  • 80% of the agricultural area of the farm must be grassland (grassland is defined in the guidance booklet)
  • Farmers will need to apply each year to the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate
  • An application limit of 250kg of nitrogen per hectare per year from manure from 'grazing livestock' (cattle, sheep, deer and goats)
  • Livestock manures may not be spread on grassland that is to be cultivated in the autumn
  • Grassland on sandy soils must only be cultivated in the spring
  • Ploughed grass must be followed by a crop with a high nitrogen requirement
  • The crop rotation must not include leguminous or other plants which fix atmospheric nitrogen. This will not apply to clover in grassland with less than 50% clover or to other legumes that are under-sown with grass
  • The results of nitrogen and phosphorus analysis in soil shall be available for each farm benefiting from a derogation. Sampling and analysis must be carried out at least once every four years
  • A phosphorus fertilisation plan must be prepared for each field


Application forms and guidance

Applications must be made annually by 30th April.


Guidance for Farmers Booklet & Associated Tables


Derogation application form