Slurry laws eased to help farmers with weather woes
ENVIRONMENTAL restrictions on farmers have been eased to help them overcome difficulties caused by this year's bad weather.
Farmers will be allowed spread slurry until the middle of November and from the beginning of January, Environment Minister Phil Hogan has announced.
This is because bad weather meant animals were housed indoors much longer than normal this year resulting in difficulties storing all the manure produced.
Farmers are normally prohibited from spreading slurry during winter months to prevent pollution of rivers and groundwater.
However, strict conditions are being placed on the extended slurry spreading season.
"I am not simply announcing a further extension into November but a series of measures that represent a careful proportionate response to manage a genuinely difficult position on the ground," said Mr Hogan.
Extra spreading would only be allowed if storage tanks were already full and there was a potential risk of animal welfare issues, and farmers would have to notify the Department of Agriculture in advance if they wanted to do this.
Tillage farmers have also been given exemption from the need to sow a winter crop if they haven't been able to do so due to bad weather and late harvest. They are usually requir-ed to have a "green cover" on fields to prevent soil erosion.