Heavy rainfall wreaking havoc with farm work
Urgent call for extension of slurry-spreading deadline while 350,000 tonnes of straw in danger of being lost
Hard-pressed agricultural contractors and farmers have called for a two-week extension to the slurry-spreading deadline as the continuing heavy rain plays havoc with farm work.
The contractors want a temporary 16-day extension to the spreading dates for slurry, which generally closes on October 15, to allow land-spreading up to October 31 this year.
The call comes as contractors struggle to finish the grain harvest across areas of the midlands, east Connacht and Donegal.
Contractors have urged the Agriculture Minister Michael Creed and the Environment Minister Denis Naughten to agree to the extension.
"An extension to the land-spreading date to the end of October will provide farm contractors with an opportunity, weather and ground conditions permitting, to complete land-spreading activities that have been curtailed during the last few months due to the exceptional weather conditions," said Richard White, national chair of the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI).
"Our members are concerned about their ability to meet that deadline date on behalf of their farmer customers," he explained.
The IFA has backed the FCI request, with the association's environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, pointing out that parts of the country, particularly the north-west, have been badly affected by heavy rainfall, resulting in flooding and poor land conditions.
With thousands of cattle housed for the last three weeks in the west and northwest, there are growing fears that on-farm slurry storage capacity will increasingly become an issue.