The deadline for the slurry spreading season, October 15, will not be extended. This is according to the Minister for the Environment Phil Hogan.
He explained the Nitrates Directive's aim is to protect ground and surface waters, including drinking water sources, primarily through the management of livestock manures and other fertilisers. "Good agricultural practice involves the land spreading of slurry as early as practicable in the growing season in order to maximise the uptake of nutrients by crops and to minimise pollution risks to water courses and groundwaters."
In accordance with the requirements of the Nitrates Directive, the regulations include provisions regarding periods when the land application of certain types of fertilisers is prohibited. In addition, the regulations prohibit such application at any time of the year when the ground is frozen, waterlogged or heavy rain is forecast.
"In view of the prolonged period of favourable weather that has prevailed this summer, an extension to the spreading periods for organic fertilisers is not proposed," the minister confirmed.
He was responding to a parliamentary question from Westmeath Deputy Robert Troy in the Oireachtas yesterday.