Slurry woes hit farmers in northwest
Dairy and cattle farmers across the north and west of the country are coming under severe pressure as their slurry storage nears capacity.
While the end of the closed period for slurry spreading is in sight, for some of the worst affected counties, such as Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan, unsuitable ground conditions are exacerbating the problem.
The open season for slurry spreading in Zone B counties (Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo) began yesterday, but atrocious ground conditions, particularly on heavy soils, mean that many farms are not trafficable.
Alan Nolan, the Teagasc drystock adviser in Co Mayo, said some farmers were within two weeks of filling their maximum storage capacity but ground conditions on individual farms were nowhere near suitable for spreading.
"It was a very early winter for some farmers, with suckler cows in for nearly four months at this stage," said Mr Nolan.
"Some farmers were forced to house animals as early as the end of September or October."
He added that most pressure was on bigger and more heavily stocked farms and those farming heavy soils.
"The only option they have is to swap slurry from tank to tank if they have more than one tank," he added.