The Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association is once more calling upon the authorities to scrap the calendar farming restrictions for slurry spreading.
ICSA president Gabriel Gilmartin said the current restrictions were “unworkable and unrealistic, given the exceptional cover of grass on farms at present.”
The second half of 2013 has delivered exceptional summer and autumn grass growth. However, further exploitation of the considerable amount of grass currently in fields will now be hamstrung by the impending slurry spreading restrictions. Farmers will be forced to spread over heavy covers of grass, which could be otherwise be used for grazing or late silage, he told the Leitrim Observer.
Mr Gilmartin noted that “grass growing conditions in Ireland have never been as good, and farmers must be allowed to avail of this opportunity to keep input costs down. The fact is that grass growth and ground conditions are extraordinary for this time of year, whereas the regulations are based on ‘normal’ conditions for October.
“Therefore, applying the strict Nitrates Regulations makes no sense this year. Moreover, the Department of Agriculture must facilitate farmers in maximising the opportunity to utilise grass, so as to avoid any repeat of the hardship experienced by many during the first half of 2013.”
The ICSA president said that farmers work and plan “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 the legislators must surely recognise the wisdom in being more flexible on this issue,” he said.