The Health and Safety Executive for Northern Ireland (HSENI) is reminding farmers to follow the slurry mixing code to stay safe, as the closed period for slurry spreading is due to commence at midnight on Saturday, October 15.

Slurry gas is a mixture of gases, including the extremely poisonous gas, hydrogen sulphide.

Even a low concentration of hydrogen sulphide can knock out your sense of smell so you won’t even know it’s there.

At higher concentrations you will rapidly find it harder to breathe and become confused – and at certain concentrations, just one breath can kill.

Mixing slurry can be a dangerous job as the gas is released very quickly, and in large quantities, as soon as the mixing starts.

The first 30 minutes are the most dangerous, so it is important to remove all stock from the shed before mixing starts and for farmers to leave the building as soon as the mixing starts.

It is also vitally important to stay out of the shed for at least 30 minutes after the mixing starts.

Camilla Mackey, principal inspector of the agri-food team at HSENI, warned farmers about taking chances and urged them to follow the slurry mixing code.

She said: “Coming up to the closed period can sometimes be hectic for farmers trying to get the last of their tanks emptied.

“Do not take any chances when mixing slurry, it is not worth losing your life over. Stop and think about the entire job and ensure you follow the slurry mixing code.

“Always keep children and animals away at all times during the mixing process.

“Farmers must stay out of the shed for 30 minutes after mixing starts or after moving or re-directing the pump.”