WITH the closed season for spreading organic manures coming to an end at midnight on January 31, farmers are being reminded of how important it is to follow slurry spreading rules.
Slurries and manures are a valuable source of nutrients for plant growth and if used efficiently can reduce the need for artificial fertilisers.
However, farmers must remember they have a responsibility to protect water quality when spreading slurry or manure and should avoid spreading slurry in sub-optimal ground conditions.
From February 1 it will be possible to spread slurry and manure on land as long as ground conditions allow.
Avoid spreading slurry if the ground is frozen, water-logged or heavy rain is forecast.
Farmers and contractors should also be aware of the rules for spreading slurry during February when there is an increase in the width of buffer zones required along waterways and a reduction in the maximum application rates allowed.
Leave a buffer zone of 15m from a waterway, this is increased from 10m, 30m from a lake, this is increased from 20m and 5m from a waterway if Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment (LESSE) is used, this is an increase from 3m.
The maximum volume of slurry which can be spread per hectare in one application is reduced from 50m3 (4500 gallons) to 30m3 (2750gallons).
Buffer zone and maximum application rate requirements will revert back to the original distances and volumes from March 1 onwards until 1 October.
The increased buffer zones will then apply again until October 15. Take care when spreading on sloping ground.