Slurry tanks reach capacity as prohibited spreading period draws to a close

Slurry tanks around the country are reaching capacity, as the prohibited period for spreading draws to a close.

Speaking to AgriLand, Maurice Gannon – an agricultural contractor from Keelogues, Co. Galway – said that all slurry tanks are full.

“Since a week or two before the Christmas, we have been transporting slurry from tank-to-tank for farmers.

“Farmers are beginning to run out of options and some will either have to get a few loads out or leave animals standing in slurry.

Image source: Department of Agriculture

“There will be a massive panic when the closed period ends; it will be full tilt,” Gannon said.

Carrying out work within a 30km radius from their base, Gannon runs two umbilical spreading systems – as well as a number of slurry tankers. Their umbilical systems include a 12m dribble bar and a twin splash-plate system.

‘Trying to manage the situation’

Meanwhile, Adam Killen – from Killen Bros Contracting, who serve the north-west of Northern Ireland – said farmers are trying to manage the situation as best they can.

“The ground is drier now than it was back in August; the weather last year was a joke. A lot of men never got their tanks emptied last year.

For the last two weeks we have been moving slurry around for farmers. Farmers will be looking to get some slurry out as soon as possible, just to give themselves some breathing space.

“The weather is just so uncertain; it’s very hard to manage,” Killen said.

With a wide array of slurry spreading equipment – including four separate umbilical spreading systems – Killens will be looking to hit the ground running when the closed period comes to an end.

Killen Bros Contracting runs a fleet of Massey Ferguson tractors. Image source: Lorraine Kirk Photography

They also run four single-axle, 3,000-gallon Abbey slurry tankers and have two twin-axle, 4,500-gallon Redrock tankers on the way, as well as a variety of other equipment.

Need for expansion in Co. Cork

Down in Ballyhooly, Co. Cork, David Dennehy has decided to purchase a second umbilical spreading system due to an increasing volume of work.

Having purchased his first system for the start of the 2017 season, Dennehy said that he got so busy that a second outfit was a must for the coming year.

Speaking to AgriLand, he said: “At the moment half of farmers around here are tight for slurry storage and the other half are okay.

Image source: Dennehy Agricultural and Plant Contractors Facebook

“It will be full steam ahead when the ban is lifted. Farmers like the umbilical system, as you can move a lot of slurry and you’re not damaging fields or gateways; it can all be done in the one pass.

“The majority of farmers prefer the dribble bar system,” he added.

At the moment, Met Eireann has said that soils are at field capacity countrywide and that they are waterlogged in poorly-drained soils – with little change expected over the coming week.