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Could this be the end of the smell of slurry in the countryside?

New slurry proposals could cost farmers €35m


Farmers could be hit with new rules on how they spread slurry in an attempt to reduce emissions from the farming sector.

The 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 the Department’s paper Teagasc has said a 50pc reduction in the use of splash-plates would represent a 5.1pc reduction in emissions relative to 2005.

However it warned that achieving this level of reductions could prove extremely challenging in the context of a) incentivising farmer uptake and b) verifying the emissions reduction inside the farm gate (eg. verifying the early spreading of slurry) or the practicality of using the trailing shoe or trailing hose across 50pc of the slurry applications.

Indeed, it said significant policy measures would have to be implemented to achieve these levels of uptake.

Teagasc puts the total costs associated with these reductions are €24.9m and €35.6m per annum (for SGS with bandspreading and trailing shoe application respectively) by 2030.

These costs neither include pricing in labour costs (the farmer’s time) to implement measures, nor the cost of education and advisory services, it said.

Agriculture is also a significant source of greenhouse gases contributing 33p cto Ireland’s overall total.

This is mainly in the form of methane (CH4) emissions from ruminant livestock but also from nitrous oxide (N20) emissions from the use of artificial fertilisers and manure management.

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