Principles of fertilisation in zones particularly vulnerable to pollution by nitrates from agricultural sources (NVZs)              

Zones particularly vulnerable to pollution by nitrates from agricultural sources (NVZs) have been determined in accordance with the so-called Nitrates Directive applicable to all EU Member States. Farmers whose parcels are located in NVZs are obliged to follow so-called action programmes aimed at reducing the inflow of nitrogen from agriculture to water and reducing its eutrophication. Currently, all NVZs are covered with the same action programmes. It should be remembered that they supplement provisions generally applicable across the country.   Link to an exemplary action programme

The following fertilisation principles apply to NVZs:

  • fertilisation is carried out at times and in circumstances where there is no risk that minerals, especially nitrogen compounds, contained in fertilisers will be leached to groundwater or washed to surface water to the extent posing a threat to water quality and, consequently, leading to its pollution;
  • natural and organic fertilisers are to be applied on arable land from 1 March up to 15 November;
  • liquid natural fertilisers are to be applied on permanent meadows and permanent pastures from 1 March to 15 August;
  • solid natural fertilisers are to be applied: - on permanent meadows from 1 March to 30 November; - permanent pastures from 1 March to 15 April and from 15 October to 30 November;
  • fertilization on frozen soil surface is prohibited;
  • fertilisation must not be carried out throughout the year on uncultivated soil, including fallow land.
When managed variably (for hay and grazing) and when pasture in plots is used, a reduced dose of nitrogen, i.e. up to 85 kg N/ha/year, from liquid natural fertilisers is to be applied directly after mowing/grazing, but no later than 15 August.

Mineral nitrogen fertilisers are applied:

  • on arable land and perennial crops from 1 March to 15 November;
  • on permanent meadows and permanent pastures from 1 March to 15 August.


Become acquainted with current action programmes aimed at reducing the outflow of nitrogen from agriculture to surface water and groundwater
If more than 100 ha of the farm’s area is located in NVZs, develop a nitrogen balance using the "on the soil surface" method, and a fertilisation plan
If you carry out large-scale livestock production or purchase natural fertilisers, check whether you are required to develop a fertilisation plan
If you are not required to have a fertilisation plan, check whether planned nitrogen fertilisation does not exceed maximum doses specified in an action programme