Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Tuesday 17 October 2017

'No decision has been taken on a total ban on splash plates' – Minister

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed has said that no decision has yet been taken to totally outlaw the use of splash plate slurry spreading on Irish farms.

His comments comes after  proposals have been outlined the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment (DCCAE) Clean Air Strategy paper.

Its analysis indicates that much of the ammonia reduction will require the use of modern low emission slurry spreading techniques such as trailing shoe/hose instead of the traditional broadcast ‘splash-plate’ technique.

Also, it says the use of urea stabilisers for fertilisers and the covering of slurry storage in the pig and dairy sectors can also help reduce ammonia emissions.

Responding to questioning on the issue this week, Minister Creed said his Department is aware of recent media coverage and at the outset, said  it is important to note that the lead on this issue is the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment as it relates to the National Clean Air Strategy consultation which was open during March and April this year.

Minister Creed said that it recognised that the spreading of slurry can, depending on the timing of the application and the weather conditions, result in nitrogen loss from slurry to the atmosphere through ammonia volatilisation.

“That Department will conduct a thorough examination of all submissions received as part of its consultation phase.

He said no decision has been taken on a total ban on splash plates and said his Department continues to liase closely with colleagues in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and the Environment on this matter.

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“On foot of farmer demand to improve the utilisation of slurry as a fertiliser, my Department is assisting farmers under TAMS in the purchase of Low Emission Slurry Spreading equipment.

“This is being driven by farmers themselves wanting to maximise the value of the slurry on their own farms, rather than as a regulatory requirement. Recently, the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors of Ireland also identified their support for this technology.

“However, I fully understand that this technology is not suitable for all farms,” he said.

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