Slurry buffer zones at double width for first 2 weeks

Nitrates regulations dictate that buffer zones for surface waters double in width from 5m to 10m in the first two weeks after the prohibited spreading period ends, according to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The same rule also applies for the two weeks before the prohibited spreading period begins in the autumn, it is noted.

Under cross compliance, the statutory management requirement (SMR) 1 – protecting water against pollution caused by nitrates – farmers are required to adhere to a set of buffer zones for spreading organic fertilisers.

However, some farmers may not be aware that the buffer zone for surface waters changes from 5m to 10m in the two weeks at the beginning and end of the spreading period.

This means that for farmers spreading slurry in Zone A – which officially opened yesterday – application must not be within less than 10m of surface waters from January 13 to 26 or October 1 to 14.

The table below shows the different buffer zones – for spreading organic fertilisers –  for different kinds of water bodies (lakes, rivers, wells etc).

Farmers must not spread soiled water, effluents, farmyard manures or other organic fertilisers inside these buffer zones.

As previously noted on AgriLand, local authorities such as Wexford County Council “know the exact day people start spreading slurry“, due to calls made by the public complaining about the smell and practice of spreading slurry.

If a complainant phones a county council and says that a farmer is spreading slurry into the river, the authority has to follow up, it was noted.