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Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Tuesday, 13 Nov 2001

Vol. 543 No. 5

Written Answers. - Manure Management Practices.

Enda Kenny


249 Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Agriculture, Food and Rural Development if research has been carried out on the treatment and pelletising of cattle slurry; if his attention has been drawn to the numerous reports of extensive pollution arising from phosphorus run off from land due to slurry spreading; the discussions he has had with the farming organisations on this matter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28090/01]

The process of drying and pelletising manure is expensive and, therefore, on the basis of research and experience in other European countries, its widespread use at farm level is unlikely. My Department has had ongoing discussions over recent years with the farming organisations about a number of issues relating to the environment, including the issue of raising awareness of potential water quality problems associated with the land-spreading of manure. My Department is currently in discussion with the farming organisations about proposals by Dúchas to designate river margin areas as special areas of conservation under the Habitats Directive.

The adoption of good manure management practices is a key requirement of farmers who participate in the rural environment protection scheme – REPS. Participation by over 45,000 farmers in the first REP scheme significantly reduced the danger of water pollution caused by slurry spreading, and with participation projected to reach 70,000 in 2006, this trend will continue. Approximately 25,000 applicants are expected to avail of the capital investment grants under the farm waste management scheme in the period 2000-06.

My Department has recently published a booklet on good farming practice, which includes specific requirements on nutrient management and the protection of watercourses and wells. Farmers are also required to comply with their responsibilities under environmental legislation. Compliance with good farming practice is compulsory for all farmers claiming aid under the direct payment schemes operated by my Department, and therefore over 100,000 farmers will be subject to it in the period to 2006.