From 2 April 2018 all farmers in England will need to meet new government rules to protect water quality. The farming rules for water build upon the good practice already in operation and relate to managing fertilisers, manures and soils. AHDB has a wealth of relevant information to help farmers, including guidance on soil testing and nutrient management planning in the Nutrient Management Guide (RB209), managing field drainage and on soil management. The new rules are broken down into eight parts, five about managing fertilisers and manures and three on managing soils.
The fertiliser rules require farmers to test their soils, then plan and apply fertiliser or manure to improve soil nutrient levels and meet crop needs. They include minimum storage and spreading distances from water bodies. They also require farmers to assess weather and soil conditions to reduce the risk of runoff and soil erosion. The other rules require farmers to protect land within five metres of water and reduce livestock poaching of soil. More information can be found at www.gov.uk/defra/farmingrulesforwater