Farmers have until Saturday to apply for a slurry spreading extension

Farmers have been given until Saturday, October 14, to apply for a slurry spreading extension, the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed to AgriLand.

As the closed period for slurry spreading commences on Sunday, October 15, farmers have been urged to contact the nitrates section of the department by Saturday at the latest.

The department recognises that there may be some potential concerns for animal welfare arising from heavy rainfall in specific parts of the country, with particular concern in the north-west.

Application process

Farmers with such concerns are advised to contact the nitrates section of the department on: 053-9163444 or by emailing: [email protected]

The application should contain details of the flooding or trafficability situation, the farmer’s herd number and other relevant data, the department added.

In a statement released to AgriLand, the department said: “The Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters Regulations 2014 gives legal effect in Ireland to the Nitrates Directive and to our Nitrates Action Programme (NAP) and the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) is the lead department in this regard.

“The directive requires all member states to define set periods when the land application of fertiliser is not allowed. Findings from the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP), operated by Teagasc, support the current closed periods in Ireland.

“A key message from the research is that there are disproportionately high nutrient losses to waters during the winter and the current closed period coincides with the time during which risks of incidental nutrient losses to water are highest.

“Farmers are advised to spread slurry early in the season when growth and nutrient uptake are at their peak.”

Farmers wishing to avail of such flexibility will be advised:
  • To spread only the volume of slurry necessary to ensure adequate storage capacity for the remainder of the closed period;
  • That any spreading should occur as soon as good spreading conditions exist;
  • That they will be prioritised for inspection by local authorities in the immediate future to ensure compliance with the nitrates regulations;
  • That assessment of overall on-farm storage capacity may be part of that inspection process;
  • That the nitrates section of the department will subsequently contact the farmers to ascertain and record the date(s) on which this additional spreading takes place.

Inspections

Local authority inspection reports are set to be returned to the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government and shared with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

Those farms needing to avail of this flexibility will become a priority category for inspections in future years, the statement from the Department of Agriculture confirmed.

“Finally, both departments stress the importance of farmers ensuring that safety is their number one priority as toxic gases are released when slurry is agitated and one breath at this time can cause instant death.

“All of those working with slurry should be aware of the dangers involved and make sure they work safely at all times,” the statement concluded.

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