No plans to make changes to slurry spreading closed season

There are no plans to make changes to current slurry spreading deadlines at present, according to Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government Eoghan Murphy.

The minister made the statement in response to a parliamentary question on the matter from independent TD for Tipperary Mattie McGrath, who asked Minister Murphy on his plans to amend the regulations regarding slurry spreading to introduce greater flexibility as to when this practice is permitted.

Minister Murphy said: “The nitrates directive requires all member states to define set periods when the land application of fertiliser, including slurry, is not allowed and in Ireland the closed season commences on October 15, and closes on January 12, 15 or 31, depending on which part of the country a farm is located.

Closed season

“The closed periods in Ireland were decided following extensive consultation and were discussed with farming bodies and the European Commission when Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme was introduced.

“The provisions of the regulations are underpinned by scientific research and good agricultural practice.

“The most recent scientific studies carried out on a diverse range of farm and soil types as part of Teagasc’s ongoing Agricultural Catchments Programme have provided further evidence in support of the efficacy of the prohibited spreading periods in reducing nutrient losses to waters.

While acknowledging the extreme weather conditions experienced throughout the country over the past year, including the sustained period of drought conditions last summer, I do not have any plans to make changes to the slurry spreading deadline.

“However, I will continue to keep this matter under review in consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine,” Minister Murphy concluded.