The Netherlands must adhere to the limits imposed on animal manure in the Nitrates Directive, which amounts to 170 kg nitrogen per hectare. In certain situations, a less strict manure limit may be obtained (derogation). One condition for derogation is that phosphate production in Dutch livestock manure does not exceed 172.9 kg phosphate production nationwide. This phosphate ceiling has been made equivalent to the phosphate production level of the Dutch livestock herd in 2002. Given the allocation made for manure phosphates, if the phosphate ceiling were exceeded, the Dutch manure market would be over-pressurised according to the European Commission.
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