‘Farmers should not be penalised if slurry tanks flood with snow’

Concern is growing over slurry tank capacity as the ongoing thaw is causing surface water to build up on farmyards.

Today Met Eireann issued a new Status Orange snow-ice warning for Leinster – valid until 10:00am tomorrow (March 6) – as deep-lying snow remaining in many places poses a continuing threat of localised flooding.

At farm level, the speed of the thaw is becoming a significant issue for some.

Thomas Cooney, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) environment chairman said the farm body has taken a number of calls from farmers regarding tank capacity.

“Farmers are worried about spreading, tanks being full and conditions not being right. We’d be calling on the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to develop a solution to get farmers through this difficult time.

The department needs to take a lenient approach to inspections for starters where there are weather-related issues. Also, where possible, we’re urging farmers to continue to help each other out.

For example, Cooney suggested that one farmer might be able to export surplus slurry to a neighbour who’d already been out spreading up to this stage.

“The one who has surplus storage might be able to take in slurry from a neighbour in distress,” he suggested.

Cooney is also calling on Teagasc to provide solutions and measures to farmers to help them prevent excess surface waters from getting into tanks.

“Where a farmer’s tank is flooded by snow it must be clear that it wasn’t the farmer’s own doing; they shouldn’t be penalised for it. This is an unavoidable situation,” he concluded.