Fianna Fáil Agriculture Spokesperson Charlie McConalogue says the deadline for slurry spreading must be extended past the 15th October.  Hundreds of farmers have had their spreading activity severely curtailed as a result of heavy rainfall this summer.

Deputy McConalogue explained, “There are fewer than 10 days to go until the deadline for slurry spreading kicks in, but many farmers across the country need more time.  The bad weather over the past couple of months has left large areas of farmland completely waterlogged and farmers have been unable to spread.  The current deadline poses a major problem for them and must be pushed out.  This has happened in the past and must be extended again this year.

“Many farmers are already to the pin of their collars as a result of continued market volatility and low prices and the fact that they have been unable to properly fertilise their land will only make for further hardship down the road.

“While I appreciate the role of the Nitrates Directive, there also needs to be an element of flexibility.  The fact that the Minister has failed to move on this issue to date, despite numerous calls, demonstrates how out of touch with the farming community he has become.  Last year, the deadline was extended by two weeks; Minister Michael Creed must relay the fears of farmers to his Cabinet colleague Simon Coveney and ensure that action is taken to alleviate the pressure on farmers by doing the same this year”.