The prohibited period when chemical fertiliser spreading is not allowed on Irish farms will start in the coming days.

From September 15, farmers are not allowed to spread chemical fertiliser on their lands under the rules of the Nitrates Directive.

As the graph below shows the closed period remains enforced until January 12 in the south east, January 15 in the midlands and west and January 31 in northern counties.

slurry deadline

Slurry and chemical fertilisers are prohibited from being spread over the winter in Ireland so as to comply with the European Union’s Nitrates Directive.

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

Farmers have until October 15, to spread slurry on their land while the closed period for farm yard manure starts on November 1.

Failure to comply with these guidelines could lead to farmers Basic Payments potentially being penalised.

With grass growth rates still running relatively strong throughout the country, many farmers will be tempted to apply fertiliser in the coming days.

Unfortunately for farmers under pressure to get their final applications of fertiliser out the weather for the weekend and into next week is set to get increasingly unsettled.