The slurry spreading period has been extended by a seven-day period, Minister O’Brien and Minister McConalogue have confirmed.
Darragh O’Brien T.D, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, in consultation with Charlie McConalogue T.D, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, granted the extension in light of the recent inclement weather period and considering the scientific criteria to determine whether the period for slurry spreading can be extended beyond September 30th, 2023.
The closed period for slurry spreading will therefore commence on October 8th, 2023.
This is in line with the maximum period that can be granted at present based on the published criteria.
This decision has been made in accordance with the provisions set out in Article 19 (1) of SI No. 113 of 2022 (as amended).
In accordance with the Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Waters Regulations, (SI 113 of 2022 as amended), the Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, in consultation with the Minister for Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine last year agreed and published criteria to determine whether the period for slurry spreading can be extended beyond September 30th, 2023.
These scientific criteria were developed to ensure that any risk to water quality would be considered and that any delay in the closed period would only be granted where an assessment of the criteria indicates that a delay in the closed period does not represent a threat to water quality, according to a statement from both departments.
Right conditions and right time of year
In a statement, Minister McConalogue said:
“I recognise that unseasonable weather conditions experienced this summer and within the last week, have impacted trafficability and provided limited opportunities for possible slurry applications by farmers and contractors.”
“Slurry is a valuable source of nutrients and is best utilised using low emission slurry spreading and especially in spring when growth and weather conditions are typically favourable for utilising nutrients and limit run-off and emissions to the environment.”
“The majority of slurry has been spread well in advance of the closed period and this must be acknowledged and indeed commended. This limited extension will allow farmers spread any remaining slurry in the best conditions available to them.”
Given the need to deliver on commitments to improving water quality, it is fundamental that slurry is applied under the right conditions and at the right time of year, the minister added.
It is critical that farm practices deliver on water quality and on foot of this, farmers are reminded to observe buffer zones that apply at this time of the year.
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