ICSA increases pressure to scrap slurry spreading deadline

23rd October, 2012

The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association is applying further pressure on the authorities to scrap the deadline for slurry spreading, which ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin describes as “unworkable, unrealistic nonsense.”

“I understand, as do all farmers, that the slurry spreading regulations are in place in an attempt to safeguard the environment – however, in my view, particularly now after one of the wettest summers in years and more torrential rain in the last few days, forcing farmers to spread slurry before a certain date, no matter what the conditions to comply with regulations has the potential to cause more environmental harm than good.”

The original deadline of October 15th was extended by two weeks this year as a result of the exceptionally heavy rainfall during the summer months.  However, ICSA has long argued that this is not an adequate solution to the problem, and that there must be a complete revision of the concept of ‘farming by calendar.’

“We must be allowed to use weather patterns and ground conditions as the determining factors in carrying out our work.  Farmers who are now under pressure to empty their slurry tanks in order to protect their Single Farm Payment are being forced to go against their better judgement and spread the slurry in totally unsuitable conditions.”

“At all times, farmers are working and planning with a close eye on the weather and ground conditions in order to comply with best farming practice in terms of efficiency, animal welfare and environmental concerns.  This artificial deadline goes against all that, and I cannot understand why the legislators refuse to accept this fact.”

Mr. Gilmartin concluded, “As well as that, this situation is putting enormous mental pressure on farmers and their families.  Farmers must be allowed to do what they can, when they can, according to the prevailing weather conditions.  That means, in no uncertain terms, that the unworkable, unrealistic nonsense of strict deadlines for essential farm activities such as slurry spreading must end now.”