Current ground conditions in many parts of the country at the moment have been described as “challenging and deteriorating”.

In light of this, the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) environmental chairman, Thomas Cooney, has called on local authority and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine inspectors to “show an understanding of this, as the open period for the spreading of organic manures comes to an end”.

Cooney noted that Met Éireann is predicting rainfall of 50mm in the west and northwest in the next 48 hours, which he said “will exacerbate the situation”.

Continuing, the environmental chairman and candidate for deputy president in the upcoming IFA elections said: “Grass is the cheapest form of feed for livestock and many farmers have tried to manage their costs in this very difficult year by grazing out fields and paddocks, only to get caught by the deluge of rain in many parts of the country in recent weeks.

Farmers should not be penalised for doing the right thing by not spreading slurry in recent weeks when the weather deteriorated.

Concluding, Cooney said: “All inspectors and regulators must work with farmers in the coming period of time to ensure a pragmatic approach is taken, which does not add hardship on farms or impact on the local environment.”