Extension granted for slurry-spreading deadlines on derogation farms

A one-month extension has been granted to the deadline by which derogation farmers must have 50% of the their slurry spread.

This news was announced today (Friday, May 18) by Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy and Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

The date is extended from June 15 to July 15 – and thereafter the remainder of slurry must be spread by low-emission technology.

Minister Creed explained: “We have decided to extend the date by one month to July 15, 2018, in light of the significant difficulties faced by farmers and contractors in spreading slurry as a result of the extreme weather this spring.

“This has meant that it is not possible for many derogation farmers to meet the June 15 deadline set out in the Nitrates Regulations due to the poor weather and delayed grass growth, which has impacted on first-cut silage harvesting dates.

The limited extension for 2018 will facilitate farmers and contractors in catching up with their workloads.

Minister Murphy said: “Ireland’s derogation allows higher stocking rates subject to derogation farmers complying with specific requirements, and this limited flexibility for slurry spreading this year recognises the extreme weather-difficulties faced by farmers throughout the spring.

“The June 15 deadline was introduced for more intensively-stocked derogation farmers in order to improve nitrogen-use efficiency and reduce ammonia losses from slurry.”

Under the National Emissions Ceiling Directive Ireland must reduce its ammonia emissions with the agriculture sector being responsible for 98% of ammonia emissions.

Ammonia losses from slurry are significantly reduced by slurry application in the springtime and also by using low-emission equipment.

The time-frames for slurry application stipulated in this new measure for derogation farmers will contribute to reducing ammonia losses and assist farmers to deliver their production targets, reduce their greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions and reduce the risk of runoff to water quality.

The minor adjustment in the date is aimed at facilitating an orderly introduction of the measure on derogation farms this year (6,891 applications for derogation status have been submitted in 2018).