Poor control of soiled water was the most common reason for which farms were found non-compliant with local authority farmyard inspections last year, delegates at the EPA’s water conference heard last week.

Some 1,100 farms were inspected under the National Agricultural Inspection Plan (NAIP) in 2023, Ray Cullinane of the EPA’s office of environmental enforcement outlined.

Substandard management of farmyard manure was the next most frequent reason for a farm to fall foul of the county council inspector, followed by farmyard discharges creating a risk to waterbodies.

Farms with inadequate slurry collection and storage facilities was the fourth biggest category of non-compliance.

Farm inspections will ramp up to 3,300 in 2024 and to 4,500 farm inspections in 2025.

Farms found to be non-compliant are issued with warning letters and are open to cross-reports to the Department of Agriculture, which could result in farm payment penalties, as well as prosecution.