A proposal to ban the use of splash plates on all NI farms by 2026 has been described as “totally unacceptable” by the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU).

In its official response to DAERA, the union said the compulsory use of low-emission slurry spreading equipment (LESSE) on all livestock farms is “not feasible”.

Major concerns were raised about the impact on small farmers who do their own slurry spreading with a splash plate.

The UFU point out that the option of employing a contractor would add a significant cost for these farmers and they will be well down the contractor’s list of priorities.

“There will also be a reduction in nutrient efficiency as the ability to choose the most suitable times for spreading will be removed,” the UFU response reads.

The option of buying new LESSE, such as a tanker with a dribble bar or trailing shoe, is deemed “unviable” for small farmers, even with a continuation of the current Tier 1 grant support.