What options are available to farmers who haven’t emptied slurry tanks yet?

Farmers still have options if their slurry tanks are not emptied ahead of the October 15 deadline, according to Teagasc Adviser Anthony O’Connor.

Under the rules of the Nitrates Directive, from October 15 farmers will not be allowed to spread slurry on their land.

Farmers must make an effort to have as much of the their tanks emptied as possible before the deadline, O’Connor said.

“The recent spell of fine weather has helped a lot of farmers to get some slurry spread over the last few days, but there are different scenarios up and down the country.

“There is no point trying to spread slurry on wet ground and tracking the land, there are other options available.”

Options available to farmers who haven’t had an opportunity to empty tanks:
  • Take advantage of any fine weather prior to the deadline to get some spreading done.
  • Possibility of using umbilical chord slurry spreading systems where land is exceptionally wet.
  • Where there are multiple tanks on a farm, agitate tanks and even out slurry levels.
  • Export slurry to farms which have surplus capacity beyond their own needs.
  • If possible, put lighter stock over tanks which have the highest levels.
  • Delay putting in stock for as long as possible.

“The worst thing a farmer can do is suck all of the water from the bottom of the tank and leave all of the heavy sludge as they will run into problems next Spring,” O’Connor said.

With regards the importing and exporting of slurry, the Teagasc Adviser warned that farmers who are importing slurry may run into problems surrounding the maximum amount of nitrogen allowed to be spread on their land next spring.

The main aim of the prohibited spreading period is to protect ground and surface water, including drinking water.

The regulations also prohibit spreading at any time of the year when the ground is frozen, waterlogged or heavy rain is forecast.


Weather Outlook

Scattered showers are forecast in the east and south early on Thursday, with these showers spreading westwards during the day, according to Met Eireann.

Thursday night is expected to be mostly dry, but rain is likely to push into the southwest on Friday turning persistent and heavy later in the day.

Some showers will affect the east and north but the midlands will stay mostly dry. During Friday night the rain in the southwest will spread further north on Saturday morning, the forecast says.

The rain will clear northwards later on Saturday with some bright or sunny spells developing. However, a further spell of rain will push into the southwest on Saturday night and spread northwards on Sunday morning.