IFA call for slurry spreading flexibility this winter

IFA President John Bryan has said that the continuous bad weather right throughout the summer and into the autumn has caused havoc for farmers who are trying to spread slurry.

IFA President John Bryan has said that the continuous bad weather right throughout the summer and into the autumn has caused havoc for farmers who are trying to spread slurry.

He has called on the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney and the Environment Minister Phil Hogan to work with Teagasc and develop a flexible solution that will allow farmers get through this winter.

A survey by IFA of over 300 farmers around the country shows that 60% of respondents still have half their slurry to spread, with a quarter having 75% left. Asked if they will be finished before the deadline of October 31st, nearly 80% say they are not confident they will be done in this time.

Mr. Bryan said, “The decision to extend the slurry spreading period was a welcome move by the Government. However, farmers have been unable to avail of this extension due to the continuous rain since it was announced. This has resulted in the early housing of stock and the backing up of slurry in tanks. Currently it remains extremely difficult to spread fertiliser because many fields remain un-trafficable.”

John Bryan has called on the Department of the Environment, the Department of Agriculture and Teagasc to immediately develop a flexible solution that will allow farmers get through this winter, after an unprecedented summer of constant rain. Rainfall was significantly above normal levels everywhere, with average rainfall ranging from 121% in Mayo to 224% in Cork. Counties such as Westmeath and Cork reported their wettest summer in over five decades.

“Farmers have made the right decision not to spread slurry during the times of extensive rainfall and they should not be penalised by a blanket ban on spreading. It is essential that Ministers Hogan and Coveney now draft in the expertise of Teagasc and develop a sensible and practical solution. Farmers need support, to lower their tanks during the winter and this must be done without fear of penalties.”