Given the prevailing weather conditions, authorities need to provide farmers with flexibility on the impending slurry spreading deadline according to IFA Environment Chair Paul O’Brien.
“With the deadline approaching, there is a real risk that farmers will be forced to apply nutrients on wet land. Announcing flexibility now would allow farmers to wait for land to dry out before applying nutrients” he said.
‘The very difficult weather conditions of this week make it very difficult for farmers and contractors to spread what is a valuable resource on farms. With the medium-term weather outlook favourable and strong grass growth still evident it makes sense, based on the Department’s own criteria, to extend beyond the end of September,” he said.
The Department has only this week issued farmers with up to date Nitrogen and Phosphorus (N and P) statements, a delay of over a month compared with last year. This has caused problems for farmers who plan to transfer their slurry to other farmers.
“Due to the delay in issuing these statements many farmers are only now fully aware of the levels of nutrients they have produced year to date on their farm.
There are provisions within the regulation, which are based on scientific criteria, that permit the Minister to extend the period for slurry spreading from the 30th of September to the 14th of October that should be applied.
An extension would help to ensure that these nutrients are applied in more appropriate weather conditions than those prevailing this week,” concluded Mr O’Brien.