By Michelle Byrnes
Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue has announced that the closing date for the slurry spreading period will be extended beyond the 30th of September due to wet weather conditions.
Irish farmers were informed that they would be permitted an extra week to get their slurry tanks emptied, with the deadline extended to the 8th of October.
Announcing this decision made in consultation with Darragh O’Brien, Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Minister McConalogue stated:
“I recognise that unseasonable weather conditions experienced this summer and within the last week, have impacted trafficability and provided limited opportunities for possible slurry applications by farmers and contractors.”
The extension comes amid concerns about the pollution of water supplies due to wet and waterlogged conditions of fields. Speaking to Galway Pulse, Local Councillor Michael Connolly explained: “It doesn’t make sense to spread slurry by calendar dates if those dates happen to be unsuitable, with high rainfall.”
Councillor Connolly spent 15 years as chairman of the Rural Water Monitoring Committee on the Galway County Council, and he, among other members of the community shared worries that that the fertiliser would be washed into the local waterways.
He suggested a few weeks or even a month be given to farmers to have suitable weather to spread, he strongly propositioned the dates be extended to avoid “any adverse effects on water quality.”
At the Municipal District Meeting in Ballinasloe on Wednesday, councillors discussed the past summer season and how it has been one of the wettest Julys on record in Ireland.
With the unworkable conditions of the fields, concerns were shared over fertilisers being run into the local river and other water supplies. A motion was made and seconded to send a letter to the Minister for Agriculture expressing these concerns.
The decision to bring forward the spreading deadline from that of last year was one of the key changes to The Nitrates Action Programme in 2023 to protect water quality in Ireland.