Manure and slurry are not waste when used directly as a fertiliser. This includes when they are used on a different farm to where they came from.
However, you must still comply with other legal controls such as the Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) Action Programme.
Even when you apply manure and slurry to your land as a fertiliser, they still need to be managed properly.
The Code of Good Agricultural Practice (COGAP) for the protection of water, soil and air recommends that you should not apply manure and slurry when:
- the soil is waterlogged
- the soil is frozen hard
- the field is covered in snow
- the soil is cracked down to field drains or backfill
- the field has been pipe, mole drained or subsoiled over drains in the last 12 months
- heavy rain is forecast within the next 48 hours.
You should also not apply manure and slurry:
- within 10 metres of any ditch, pond or surface water
- within 50 metres of any spring, well, borehole or reservoir that supplies water for human consumption or for farm dairies
- on very steep slopes where run-off is a high risk throughout the year
- on any areas where you are not allowed to because of specific management agreements.
Anaerobic digestion is the natural decomposition of organic waste in an oxygen-free atmosphere. It is a process used to treat biodegradable waste. Anaerobic digestion uses natural bacteria to convert waste into:
- biogas, which can be used to generate electricity and/or heat
- liquid, which can be used as a fertiliser
- solids, which can be used as soil improver.
It can be used as a way of managing manure and slurry on a farm. If you are carrying out anaerobic digestion on your farm, you will need an exemption or permit. Find out more about the regulation of anaerobic digestion:
There is an exemption for anaerobic digestion at premises used for agriculture and burning of resultant biogas.
- T24 Anaerobic digestion at premises used for agriculture
There is more information about anaerobic digestion on our website: