Minister Hogan announces measures to assist farmers

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D., today (12 September, 2012) announced extensions to the periods for the application of certain fertilisers in response to the challenges farmers are facing as a result of the very difficult weather conditions this summer.  The reduction in the volume of winter feed saved on many farms is causing particular concern.

 

Responding to requests from Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Simon Coveney T.D. and from farm representatives, the Minister said: “I am conscious of the recent serious disruption to normal farming activity due to very poor weather conditions during the summer  and I believe that this situation can be relieved by allowing the application of chemical fertiliser to continue for a further short period to boost grass growth and address a potentially very difficult fodder shortage later in the year.”

 

In relation to chemical fertilisers, the Minister has decided to extend the period for application to 30 September 2012.  The closed period for applying chemical fertiliser had been due to commence on 15 September.

In the interest of minimising the risk to the aquatic environment and maximising the return on application, farmers should continue to apply the chemical fertiliser as early as possible.  Emphasising this point, the Minister said:  “Ideally, the application of chemical fertiliser in late September should be a last resort to be availed of by farmers who may benefit from such applications and who, for practical reasons, are unable to complete their fertiliser application by mid-September”.

 

The Minister is also granting an extension to the period for spreading organic manures produced on farms to 31 October 2012, an extension of just over two weeks.  Together with the extension to the period for applying chemical fertiliser, this is designed to allow farmers the opportunity to optimise the management of manure disposal on their farms while also addressing fodder shortages through extended grazing.

 

The Minister stressed that his announcement represents an extension of 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 applied to land that 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.

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