Farmers seeking slurry flexibility will be prioritised for inspection
The Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government (DHPLG) said this week there are no plans to extend the slurry spreading deadline, but it is recognised there may be some potential concerns for a n i m a l w e l f a r e a r i si n g f r o m heavy rainfall in specific parts of the country (the north west in particular).
Farmers with such concerns are advised to contact the Nitrates Section of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) at 0539163444, or by emailing to firstname.lastname@example.org with details of the flooding/trafficability situation, their herd number, and other relevant data. Such contact should be made by next Saturday at the latest, as the closed period commences on Sunday, October 15.
Farmers wishing to avail of such flexibility will be advised: To spread only that volume of slurry necessary to ensure adequate storage capacity for the remainder of the closed period.
That any spreading should occur as soon as good spreading conditions exist.
That they will be prioritised for inspection by local authorities in the immediate future, to ensure compliance with the Nitrates Regulations. That assessment of overall on-farm storage capacity may be part of that inspection process.
That the Nitrates Section DAFM will subsequently contact the farmers to ascertain and record the date(s) on which additional spreading takes place.
Local authority inspection reports will be returned to DHPLG and shared with DAFM, and those farms needing to avail of this flexibility will become a priority category for inspections in future years also. Both Departments also warned all those working with slurry to be aware of the dangers involved and to work safely at all times.
Both ICMSA President John Comer and ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock said prioritisation for local authority inspection of those applying for slurry spreading flexibility heaps additional pressure on farmers.
The Association of Farm & Forestry Contractors welcomed the flexibility, saying its members have been under huge farm safety pressure, trying to meet the October 15 deadline for farmer clients.
Farmers seeking slurry spreading flexibility will be prioritised for inspections in the immediate future and in future years.