92% of farmers in favour of extension to the slurry spreading deadline

Some 92% of farmers who responded to an AgriLand poll believe the deadline for spreading slurry should be extended.

In excess of 1,100 farmers from across the country agreed that the deadline should be extended beyond October 15.

The responsibility for extending the deadline lies with the Department for Housing, Planning and Local Government.

slurry extension

Repeated calls for an extension have been made by various farm organisations and numerous rural representatives.

Poor weather conditions over the last number of weeks has halted many farmers from spreading slurry. With the beginning of the closed period fast approaching, many farmers are running out of time.

Last week, a statement released to AgriLand from the department highlighted the importance of the closed period for slurry spreading.

Findings from the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP) operated by Teagasc support the current closed periods in Ireland, according to the department.

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

“The closed season in Ireland commences from Sunday, October 15. The closed periods were decided following extensive public consultation and were discussed with farming bodies and the European Commission at the time,” the department’s statement added.

It was also confirmed that both the Department for Housing, Planning and Local Government and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine would keep the situation under review.

Meanwhile, rural TD Michael Fitzmaurice believes that ruling out an extension to the deadline would be “reckless in the extreme”.

“Even the most up-to-date technology – using the pipe system – for spreading will not work in the current conditions; cattle have been inside since August began and tanks are full.

“Now the department is expecting farmers to spread slurry on unsuitable land that will threaten water quality,” he said.