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AHDB Guidance to help with new rules for water

3 April 2018

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.

Dr Nicola Dunn, AHDB Resource Management Scientist, says: “The agricultural industry has already taken great steps to lessen its impact on and improve the local environment. AHDB will continue to help farmers and growers with best practice on soil, nutrient and manure management through our guidance, workshops and events.”

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.

The new rules will be rolled out by the Environment Agency. More information can be found at  

- Ends -

Notes to editors

The Nutrient Management Guide RB209 can be downloaded here:

Great Soils information can be downloaded here:

AHDB is a statutory levy board, funded by farmers, growers and others in the supply chain. Our purpose is to inspire our farmers, growers and industry to succeed in a rapidly changing world. We equip the industry with easy to use, practical know-how which they can apply straight away to make better decisions and improve their performance. Established in 2008 and classified as a Non-Departmental Public Body, it supports the following industries: meat and livestock (cattle, sheep and pigs) in England; horticulture, milk and potatoes in Great Britain; and cereals and oilseeds in the UK. AHDB’s remit covers 72 per cent of total UK agricultural output. Further information on AHDB can be found at


For further information contact Sharon Robinson,

For out of hours enquiries,call AHDB press office on 024 7647 8800 or email


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