Over 90% of Irish farmers want an extension to slurry deadline
It appears that the majority of Irish farmers want to see the slurry spreading deadline extended past October 15.
A recent Agriland poll shows that over 90% of the farmers questioned want the deadline extended past the current closing date.
Presently, the Government has no plans to extend the deadline in order to prevent an elevated risk of pollution to water bodies and the danger of the contamination of drinking water supplies.
However, farmers disagree as 92% of the respondents expressed a desire to see the deadline extended.
According to the Department of Housing, Planning, Community and Local Government, good agricultural practice involves the land spreading of organic fertilisers as early as practicable.
And, the nitrates directive requires a mandatory closed period when the application of certain types of fertiliser is prohibited.
But given the wet weather in recent weeks, many farmers have struggled to empty their slurry tanks in advance of the oncoming winter.
Given the pressure farmers are currently under to empty their tanks, almost 90% of the farmers questioned do not think the current slurry spreading deadlines are functional.
The Department also says that recent research by the Agricultural Catchments Programme shows that there is no scientific evidence to support increased flexibility around closing dates.
The expert group also indicates that the shoulder periods either side of the opening and closing period should be considered risky times for nutrient losses to water.
But, despite the risk, the majority of farmers questioned admitted that the would spread slurry out side of the designated window, with 57% of farmers saying they would spread slurry after the October 15 deadline.