Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae is urging Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue to extend the slurry spreading deadline by two weeks. Healy-Rae is calling on the minister to utilize his powers under the Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Waters Regulations 2022 to extend the deadline from October 1, 2023, to October 15, 2023. The purpose of this extension is to allow farmers to complete crop harvests, including grass, maize, and cereals, throughout Ireland.
Healy-Rae emphasized the importance of granting an extension for slurry using Low Emission Slurry Spreading (LESS) systems. He stated that this extension is crucial to enable farmers to plan their grass harvesting and slurry spreading in a structured manner. Healy-Rae urged Minister McConalogue to make this decision urgently to ensure farmers can carry out these activities effectively.
Furthermore, Healy-Rae warned that if no action is taken, a more severe slurry management problem will arise during the winter months of 2023/2024. Many farmers will face inadequate slurry storage capacity, which will exacerbate the issue. Therefore, it is imperative that Minister McConalogue addresses this matter promptly.
Healy-Rae’s support for extending the slurry spreading deadline aligns with a request made by the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI) last week. The FCI highlighted the ongoing challenging harvesting conditions and the need for an extension to accommodate excess slurry production. Livestock being housed earlier than usual and adverse weather conditions have contributed to this surplus slurry.
The FCI has sent letters to both Minister McConalogue and Minister for Housing, Local Government, and Heritage Darragh O’Brien, urging the implementation of a national contingency plan. This plan would allow slurry spreading beyond the current cut-off date of October 1. The FCI emphasized that any slurry spreading during the extended period would strictly adhere to low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment.
In conclusion, Kerry TD Michael Healy-Rae is urging Minister McConalogue to extend the slurry spreading deadline by two weeks. This extension is necessary to accommodate farmers’ crop harvests and to address the excess slurry production caused by early livestock housing and unfavorable weather conditions. Healy-Rae’s call for urgency reflects the need to enable farmers to plan their activities effectively. The FCI has also supported this request and called for the implementation of a national contingency plan. The use of low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment would ensure environmentally-friendly practices during the extended period.