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Minister Smith Confirms Extension of Slurry Spreading Period to 30th November

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today confirmed a further extension of the period for the spreading of livestock manure, which includes both farmyard manure and slurry. Minister Smith said that following consultation with the Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, John Gormley TD, farmers will now be allowed to continue spreading until 30th November 2008.

The Minister said that the decision to grant this further extension reflects the continuing poor weather which has proven completely unsuitable for spreading livestock manure since the original extension was granted earlier this month from 15th October. Minister Smith said he and Minister Gormley had previously acknowledged that the adverse weather conditions experienced in Ireland over recent months had caused significant hardship for farmers and had made it extremely difficult to carry out regular farming activity.

"We originally extended until today the period within which farmers could spread livestock manure and hoped that this would allow farmers the opportunity to complete landspreading activities that, for reasons beyond their control, had been curtailed due to the exceptional weather conditions we had experienced. Unfortunately, this has proven not to be the case, and given the weather conditions over the past fortnight, the original extension has proven totally inadequate and the justification that applied for an extension two weeks ago is equally applicable today", said the Minister.

Minister Smith expressed his appreciation to Minister Gormley for his support for an extension, and said "I am absolutely satisfied that there is a necessity to extend the period for landspreading, and I hope that this further extension will enable farmers to complete their landspreading activities over the next month."

As with the previous extension, Minister Smith reiterated that today's announcement represents an extension in time only. All landspreading activity is conditional on weather and ground conditions being suitable as set out in the Nitrates Regulations. Livestock manures or any fertilisers may not be landspread when, for example, land is waterlogged, flooded or likely to flood, frozen or if heavy rain is forecast within 48 hours. Buffer zones are specified for different kinds of water bodies and fertilisers may not be applied within those buffer zones.

The Minister reminded farmers in particular of the absolute necessity for full compliance with all buffer zone restrictions specified in the Nitrates Regulations. In addition, he urged farmers to spread livestock manure at greater distances from water courses than those specified in all cases where there is scope to do so.

Date Released: 31 October 2008