Corteva™ Soil Health

Regulations Aimed at Nitrate Contamination

Regulations Aimed at Nitrate Contamination

Across the globe, regulatory restrictions are being instituted to protect ground and surface waters from nitrate contamination. The Nitrates Directive (1991) from the European Union is a good example of legislative instruments intended to protect water quality by promoting the use of good farming practices. Under this directive, all Member States have an obligation to identify zones within their territories that are vulnerable to nitrates (NVZ), and establish codes of good farming practices for growers to adopt. The best management agricultural practices promoted to farmers vary by Member States but they all have components that focus on the management of nitrogen fertilizer on farms.

Typically these practices include:

  1. Limits on the total amount of nitrogen applied to specific crops
  2. Limits to the amount of fertilizers that can be applied at one time
  3. Permissible periods of time when fertilizer may be applied
  4. Maintenance of accurate and complete fertilizer records
  5. Failure to comply with these guidelines can result in loss of subsidies


As Member States continue to assess their compliance with the Nitrates Directive, further measures that will impact crop protection activities can be anticipated to be introduced.