The Department of Agriculture has initiated discussions with Teagasc regarding the survey of livestock manure storage capacity.

According to Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney it is anticipated that the assessment required will be fully completed in advance of the next review of Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme in 2017.

In a parliamentary question this week Dublin based TD Clare Daly asked the Minister if he has acted on the recommendations of the Second Review of Ireland’s nitrates action programmes for an assessment of current levels of storage capacity and future needs for agricultural waste, that is, slurry and soiled water. To determine if in view of the growth in the national herd over the past three years and that planned under the terms of Food Harvest 2020 there is sufficed capacity, especially within the catchments of high status water quality sites.

Minister Coveney in his response stated that since 2005 there has been an investment of over €2.5 billion in livestock manure storage capacity in Ireland.

He said this increased storage capacity facilitates improved management of the nutrients present in livestock manure.

The Minister also said that it should be noted that Teagasc research shows that environmental lag times are quite long for changed management practice and investments to impact upon water quality, so it is expected that these investments will have a continued impact into the future.

Under the latest revised Nitrates Regulations, Statutory Instrument, the Minister for Agriculture, is required to carry out an assessment of the capacity of livestock manure storage facilities, in the context of potential agricultural expansion in accordance with Food Harvest 2020.