Splash-plate slurry spreading window extended
A one-month extension has been granted to the date by which derogation farmers must have 50% of the their slurry spread, by Minister for Housing Eoghan Murphy and Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed.
The deadline has been extended from 15 June to 15 July 2018 and thereafter the remainder of slurry must be spread by low-emission technology.
Minister Creed said: “We have decided to extend the date by one month to 15 July 2018, in light of the significant difficulties faced by farmers and contractors in spreading slurry as a result of the extreme weather this spring.
“This has meant that it is not possible for many derogation farmers to meet the 15 June deadline set out in the Ntitrates Regulations due to the poor weather and delayed grass growth, which has impacted on first-cut silage harvesting dates.
“The limited extension for 2018 will facilitate farmers and contractors in catching up with their workloads,” he said.
Meanwhile, Minister Murphy said that “Ireland’s derogation allows higher stocking rates subject to derogation farmers complying with specific requirements, and this limited flexibility for slurry spreading this year recognises the extreme weather-difficulties faced by farmers throughout the spring".
“The 15 June deadline was introduced for more intensively stocked derogation farmers in order to improve nitrogen-use efficiency and reduce ammonia losses from slurry,” he added.
National Emissions Ceiling Directive
Under the National Emissions Ceiling Directive, Ireland must reduce its ammonia emissions, as the agriculture sector being responsible for 98% of these emissions.
Ammonia losses from slurry are significantly reduced by slurry application in the springtime and also by using low-emission equipment.
The timeframes for slurry application stipulated in this new measure for derogation farmers will contribute to reducing ammonia losses and assist farmers to deliver their production targets, reduce their greenhouse gas and ammonia emissions, and reduce the risk of runoff to water quality.
The minor adjustment in the date is aimed at facilitating an orderly introduction of the measure on derogation farms this year (6,891 applications for derogation status have been submitted in 2018).