The IFA is hosting an online meeting for farmers to discuss the nitrate regulations consultation on Thursday 19 August at 8pm.

IFA senior policy staff Geraldine O’Sullivan and Aine O’Connell will give brief presentations, which will be followed by an open discussion in which farmers can make their voices heard.

Farmers wishing to join the meeting should register here.

Current proposals to damage family farm income

IFA environment chair Paul O’Brien said there are over 20 proposals outlined in the draft nitrates consultation, with farm income not mentioned once.

“Many of the proposals, if agreed, would significantly damage family farm incomes.

"[The] IFA will be highlighting this in its submission. Farmers will do more to protect water quality on farms, but adequate supports need to be put in place to make this happen,” he said.

IFA dairy chair Stephen Arthur added that the soil water proposal prohibiting the spread of soiled water for an eight-week period is too demanding of farmers, especially those operating split calving systems.

Extra costs

An estimated 65l of water is used per cow in December and January to wash down the parlour and placing an eight-week storage period on farms (in comparison to the existing requirement of 10 to 15 days) would mean that farmers need to increase their soiled water capacity sixfold for a typical 100-cow herd.

The dairy chair suggested that this results in €20,000 to €30,000 of added expenses for farmers, which they will be expected to incur within a 12-month period by the Department.