The closed period for the spreading of farmyard manure starts on November 1 and will last until mid-January at the earliest, depending on the region.
Slurry, farmyard manure, and chemical fertilisers are prohibited from being spread over the winter in Ireland in order to comply with the European Union’s Nitrates Directive.
The aim is to protect ground and surface water, including drinking water. These regulations also prohibit such applications at any time of the year when the ground is frozen, waterlogged or heavy rain is forecast.
With the forecast promised relatively dry for the weekend farmers may have an opportunity to spread any remaining manure prior to the deadline.
Farmers may also be tempted to spread their final bit of manure as grass growth remains relatively good for this time of year, according to Met Eireann.
Earlier this month, multiple calls were made to extend the slurry spreading deadline which closed on October 15.
There was also some confusion whether or not the slurry spreading deadline would be extended or whether cases would be looked at on a case by case basis.
A memo issued to local authorities from the Department of Housing and Local Government said no individual exemptions to the slurry spreading deadline would be made.
Farmers who have animal welfare issues arising from the inability to spread slurry can contact the Nitrates Unit of the Department of Agriculture and it will look into it.
The Department expects this issue to arise when animals are housed for the winter, more so than right now and it will look at it on a case-by-case basis.