Restrictions on spreading slurry in NI will remain the same throughout 2021, according to new guidance published by DAERA.

Cross compliance rules for the 2021 scheme year state that slurry can be applied from 1 February and the closed period will begin again on 15 October.

Last year, Agriculture Minister Edwin Poots asked his officials to review restrictions on slurry spreading with a view to moving away from calendar dates, but no changes have been introduced in the latest guidance.

Other key dates in cross compliance rules remain the same for 2021, including the closed period for hedge cutting which runs from 1 March to 31 August. Chemical fertiliser can be applied from 1 February to 15 September and farmyard manure can be spread from 1 February to 31 October.

An important rule change for 2021 surrounds the requirement for all slurry contractors to use low emission slurry spreading equipment. A year later, from 1 February 2022, around 1,100 farmers in NI who have over 200 livestock units will no longer be able to use splash plates.