More supports urged for low-emission slurry spreading equipment – as tanks fill up

The Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, has been urged once again to increase the grant rate available for low-emission slurry spreading equipment to at least 60% by the chairman of the Irish Farmers’ Association’s (IFA’s) Environment and Rural Affairs Committee, Thomas Cooney.

Calling for increased supports, Cooney said: “Many farmers, particularly those with a nitrates derogation, are facing increased compliance costs as a result of new regulations introduced by government.

“The Department of Agriculture has provided a similar level of support when they previously introduced new agri-environmental measures and this must also happen now.

In addition, an accelerated capital allowance scheme should be established to further support the uptake of this low-emission equipment.

“The message that I will be delivering to Minister Creed – when he attends the association’s AGM in the coming weeks – is that Ireland faces growing climate and environmental challenges and he must do everything he can to meet these, by supporting farmers who will be using low-emission slurry spreading equipment,” the chairman said.

Cooney also described the requirement for derogation farmers to have 50% of their slurry spread by mid-June as “extremely difficult for farmers to deliver on”.

This tight calendar farming regime has proven in the past to be extremely problematic for farmers and must be reviewed, he added.

Currently, slurry tanks around the country are reaching worryingly high levels due to poor spreading conditions in the weeks leading up to the deadline and livestock being housed earlier than usual last year.
Image source: Department of Agriculture

While farmers will be allowed to spread slurry again from as early as Friday, January 12 – depending on which spreading zone farmers are situated in – soils are currently at field capacity countrywide, according to Met Eireann.

While some recovery is expected for a few days from Sunday onwards, it is not looking likely that most soils will be ready by the time the spreading period opens.