Severe penalties for spreading slurry with a rain gun

Farmers who are caught spreading slurry with a rain gun could face severe financial penalties, according to a spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

This also applies to the use an upward trajectory splash-plate – which may be referred to as a ‘swan-neck’ or ‘bent-elbow’ attachment – on the rear of a conventional slurry tanker.

In a statement released to AgriLand, the department outlined that the spreading of slurry with the methods listed above “does not provide for an efficient and accurate use of slurry and is not permitted under the regulations”.

It adds: “EU regulations governing the cross compliance regime prescribe a range of penalties to be applied where a non-compliance with the relevant legislative provisions has been determined.

“Where the non-compliance is due to negligence, the penalty is generally 3% – which can be increased to 5% or decreased to 1% depending on the extent, severity and permanence of the non-compliance.

Where the non-compliance is deemed intentional, a reduction of 20% is generally applied; but, this can be increased to 100% or reduced to 15% depending on the seriousness of the non-compliance. In extreme cases, the penalty can extend beyond the year of the finding.

“Where a non-compliance with the same requirement or standard occurs more than once within a consecutive period of three calendar years, the penalty may be trebled,” the statement explained.

It also outlined that using a rain gun or upward trajectory splash-plate to spread slurry would be considered a “serious breach“.

“However, each breach is assessed on a case-by-case basis to determine the final penalty to be applied,” it added.

Low-emission slurry spreading equipment

Meanwhile, low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment is supported by the department under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme – also known as TAMS II.

Grants are available subject to the terms and conditions of the scheme, at a general grant rate of 40% – rising to 60% for qualifying young farmers, according to the department.

Also Read: Grants worth almost €3 million issued for low-emission slurry spreading equipment

The maximum amount of investment eligible for grant-aid under the LESS measure is generally €40,000/holding.

It is also worth noting that the investment ceiling under this measure is, uniquely among all TAMS II measures, not subject to the overall TAMS II investment ceiling of €80,000 per holding.

Concluding, a spokesperson from the department said: “Applications submitted under the LESS measure have been higher than expected and have – to date – surpassed both the targets and budget provided for in Ireland’s Rural Development Programme.”