FARMERS IN Scotland need to have their fertiliser and manure handling plans prepared by March 1, and on-hand to show in case of an official inspection.

However, land agents Galbraith have corrected the suggestion, made earlier this year, that farmers have to submit these plans to the authorities by that date. The legislation only requires the completed plans to be available on request.

The firm's Stewart Johnston, who was previously head of the Scottish Government's Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate for Grampian, said: "The UK’s departure from the EU has not removed the NVZ requirements. We advise farmers to make sure all their records are up to date as quality assurance, SEPA and government inspectors are beginning their annual checks.”

As part of the regulations for protecting Scotland’s water from excessive nitrates, farmers must prepare:

• A risk assessment plan and (RAMS) map for slurry and muck;

• A calculation and record of the capacity of their storage facilities for livestock manures;

• A calculation and record for their holding of the 170 kg N/ Ha loading limit for livestock manure;

• Calculate and record the standard nitrogen requirement (Nmax) for each crop (including grassland) on the farm.

Mr Johnston added: “This level of record-keeping is something which farmers have had to manage for several years but it remains a significant administrative burden. There are however benefits for the farm as a whole from using fertiliser in the most efficient manner and there is the potential to reduce costs.”