ICSA rural development chairman Seamus Sherlock is calling on the Department of Agriculture to adopt a more common sense approach to slurry spreading dates.
“Calendar farming restrictions for slurry spreading are proving unworkable and unrealistic and most frustrating for farmers,” he said.
Farmers in Zone A can commence spreading, with farmers in Zones B and C permitted to commence after January 15 and 31 January respectively.
Focusing on the inclement weather Mr Sherlock said: “Many parts of the country are experiencing weather conditions which are completely incompatible to slurry spreading. It may be weeks before conditions improve by which time many important farming schedules will have been delayed. On the contrary, the milder and dryer weather over the last number of weeks would have been ideal, yet our hands were tied.”
He pointed out that at all times, farmers were 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.
“Fixed artificial deadlines at the beginning and end of the slurry spreading season goes against all that, and the legislators must surely recognise the wisdom in being more flexible on this issue, said the ICSA leader.