Flexibility given to farmers for slurry spreading season - but be prepared to be inspected
The Department of Agriculture has said that while it cannot extend the slurry spreading season, despite calls to do so from a number of quarters, it has announced that it will give some flexibility to farmers.
The prohibited slurry spreading period begins this weekend and, despite the calls, the Minister and his Department have both been steadfast in there position that the closed period cannot be altered.
Both say that EU Directives requires all member states to define set periods when the land application of fertiliser is not allowed.
The Department also says findings from the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP) operated by Teagasc support the current closed periods in Ireland.
A key message from the research, it says is that there are disproportionately high nutrient losses to waters during the winter and the current closed period coincides with the time during which risks of incidental nutrient losses to water are highest.
Farmers are advised to spread slurry early in the season when growth and nutrient uptake are at their peak.
The Department has said that it is recognised that there may be some potential concerns for animal welfare arising from heavy rainfall in specific parts of the country (the north west in particular) and farmers with such concerns are advised to contact the Nitrates Section of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine at 053 9163444 or by emailing email@example.com with details of the flooding/trafficability situation, their herd number and other relevant data.
Such contact should be made by Saturday, October 14 at the latest as the closed period commences on Sunday, October 15.