Tuesday, 12 March 2019

Questions (501)

Eugene Murphy

Question:

501. Deputy Eugene Murphy asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine the steps he has taken to monitor the transfer of slurry and farmyard manure from feedlots to areas removed from the site of production; if a ring-fenced system will be put in place, particularly in areas in which the soil type is heavier and prone to more rainfall; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [12236/19]

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Written answers (Question to Agriculture)

The amount of nitrogen from livestock manure that can be applied to land is limited to 170 kgs nitrogen per hectare per year by the Nitrates regulations (SI 605 2017). These regulations are the responsibility of the Department of Housing Planning and Local Government and apply to all farms including feedlots, in effect, placing a limit on the amount of manure applied to land.

The transfer of livestock manures (slurry and farm yard manure (FYM)) between holdings is controlled by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and every farmer is required to keep records of these movements. Farmers are obliged to complete records and submit such records annually to the Department. Each year DAFM carries out a 100% administrative check on all farms to ensure compliance with the nitrate regulations limit.

The conditions for the application of manures in order to prevent waters from being polluted by nitrogen and phosphorus are as below:

- Farmers must spread chemical fertilisers, livestock manure and other organic fertilisers, effluents and soiled water as accurately and as evenly as possible;

- Farmers must not use an upward-facing splash plate or sludge irrigator on a tanker or umbilical system for spreading organic fertiliser or soiled water;

- Farmers must not spread organic fertilisers or soiled water from a road or passageway, even if the road or passageway is on your own holding;

- Farmers must not spread chemical fertilisers, livestock manure, soiled water or other organic fertilisers when land is waterlogged, flooded or is likely to flood, is frozen or covered with snow and if heavy rain is forecast within 48 hours;

- Farmers must not spread chemical fertiliser on land within 2 metres of a surface watercourse;

Buffer zones are adhered to for various types of water bodies (i.e. lakes, rivers, wells etc).