Farm Ireland

Friday 15 December 2017

Make safety a priority when spreading slurry

Slurry spreading
Slurry spreading

With many slurry tanks on farms now reaching capacity, and with the spreading dates opened in many counties, (Cavan, Monaghan, Leitrim and Donegal will open after January 31) many farmers are spreading slurry to reduce levels in their tanks and create more capacity for the remaining winter period ahead.

Slurry is a highly dangerous substance and great care and precautions should be taken when handling it.

Much media coverage over the past few years has been given to the dangers of slurry gases and the tragic consequences that can occur, ultimately resulting in death, but I still see and hear of farmers and contractors taking unnecessary risks.

Gases such as hydrogen sulphide, carbon dioxide, ammonia and methane are produced during the breakdown of slurry by bacteria.


Hydrogen sulphide gas is poisonous to both man and beast. It is fatal and one breath of it can kill. It is found above ground level where there is little ventilation.

At high concentrations it cannot be smelled.

Precautions to be followed when agitating slurry

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Always agitate on a windy day.

Open up all doors and outlets.

Ensure that no animals or humans are present in the shed.

Do not stand or stoop near agitation points when agitating.

Do not enter the shed for at least one hour after agitation.

Toxic gases can remain in the tank even when it is emptied, therefore do not enter a slurry tank.

Take a few minutes longer when you are setting up to go slurry agitating to ensure a safe environment for you and your animals and don`t become a victim of a terrible farm tragedy.

Indo Farming