29th January, 2014
ICSA rural development chairman John Barron has described the revised 3rd Nitrates Action Programme as “a major disappointment to cattle and sheep farmers, because nothing has been done to address the madness of calendar farming. The revised plan has completely ignored the importance of weather conditions particularly in an Irish context where weather patterns are so variable.”
“Farmers are continuously frustrated at the reality that slurry can’t be spread on the 14th of January in many counties but it can be spread on the 16th, even though, as we see now, weather could be so much more suitable on the 14th.” He added that the action plan also ignores the problem that many farmers are suffering penalties under this directive for the most trivial shortcomings in their farmyard.
“The majority of amendments seem to have been made to facilitate the most intensive farms, while ignoring the key issue of calendar farming which impacts the majority of cattle farmers. There is also an additional layer of bureaucracy concerning the export of slurry from one farm to another whereby in future all such movements will have to be notified to the Department in a specific format. In addition, the revision gives a new role to local authorities, enabling them to demand information regarding the movement of slurry. This is bureaucratic overkill,” he concluded.