Calls for extension to slurry spreading deadline as soil conditions worsen

Independent TD Michael Fitzmaurice has called on the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, to extend the slurry spreading deadline as soil conditions in parts of the west have deteriorated.

He said that over the past few weeks soil conditions, particularly in the west and north west have deteriorated to such an extent that some farmers are putting their cattle back into sheds.

The land has become unworkable on many farms particularly where there is marginal land, according to the Independent TD.

“Farmers have slurry in tanks ready to spread but even if we get a dry spell now the deadline for spreading is too tight,” he said.

Fitzmaurice has called on the Minister to extend the deadline from October 15 to the end of October and he also wants him to extend the farmyard manure deadline to the middle of November.

“I want the Minister to make these announcements now so as farmers do not have to plough up land which would be most unsuitable at this time given the soil conditions.

“I want the fear of the deadline taken away as soon as possible.

“Usually if there is an extension it is announced at the last minute which is very unsatisfactory and I am calling to Minster Creed to make this announcement now to relieve pressure on farmers,” he said.

From October 15, farmers are not allowed to spread slurry on their lands under the rules of the Nitrates Directive. Slurry is prohibited from being spread over the winter in Ireland so as to comply with the Directive.

The aim is to protect ground and surface water, including drinking water. The regulations also prohibit such application at any time of the year when the ground is frozen, waterlogged or heavy rain is forecast.

The closed period for spreading farmyard manure starts on November 1.