The deadline for the spreading of slurry needs to be extended as farmers come to terms with the worst summer in living memory, according to Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Agriculture Éamon Ó Cuív.

Deputy Ó Cuív was speaking after the Minister for the Environment refused to extend the deadline further despite huge swaths of farmland in the country being saturated.

“I have repeatedly asked the Minister to consider extending the deadline for the spreading of slurry, two weeks isn’t good enough, it needs to be put back a further two weeks. The land is totally unsuitable for slurry to be spread on it. There is too much surface water and the land will not be able to absorb the slurry.

“The incessant rain over the summer months has also resulted in slurry tanks being filled up with water, farmers don’t have the capacity to store this and the land is too wet to spread it over. Farmers are being caught out on all angles, what they are seeking is help from the Government in coping with the adverse weather. They are not looking for favourable treatment, just a little bit of fair play.

“The Minister has given a feeble response to the problem, which is a reflection of the Government’s response to a lot of issues. The Minister needs to take direct interest in this, which is causing a lot of anguish for farmers. In a perfect scenario, farmers would be able to spread slurry on their land during the late summer/autumn season.

“It has been an exceptionally poor summer for farmers, there needs to be flexibility here from the Government. The agricultural sector cannot be administered in such a rigid fashion, account must be taken of vagaries in weather conditions and other factors that are changeable from year to year.

“I am calling on the Minister for the Environment to revisit his decision to only extend the deadline for the spreading of slurry for a fortnight, another two weeks is needed to give farmers some hope of preparing well for next year.”