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Additional requirements around applying slurry and manures apply in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones.

These include:

  • A 170 kg N/ha/year loading limit for livestock manure. This sets an annual farm limit of 170 kg/ha of total N produced by farm livestock across the agricultural area within the NVZ. It is based on the nitrogen excreted by animals on the farm, plus the nitrogen content of any livestock manure that is brought onto the farm.

Organic manure must not be applied to land where the application would result in the total nitrogen (in kilograms) contained in organic manure exceeding 250 kg N/ha of total nitrogen in any 12-month period on an individual field.


These limits apply to all organic manures, excluding that deposited by animals whilst grazing, and to all individual fields within the NVZ boundary. They include all other nitrogen-containing organic wastes such as sewage sludge but do not include chemical fertiliser or compost, which has a separate limit.

  • A 500 kg N/ha – field application limit for compost. This sets a field limit restriction for the application of compost to 500 kg/ha of total N from all organic manures (including compost) that are applied to land in any 24-month period, excluding grazing deposition and nitrogen applied as manufactured nitrogen fertiliser.

Where there is insufficient land on the farm to spread organic manures within the total nitrogen limits, either the number of livestock should be reduced or arrangements will need to be made to export any excess for utilisation on other farmland in accordance with good agricultural practice.

Further information

  • Read the Scottish Government Guidance detailing requirements in Nitrate Vulnerable Zones here.