The period for spreading fertiliser and chemical feed should be extended by a month to alleviate a winter feed crisis for farmers because of the heavy summer rainfall, Senator Lorraine Higgins has said.
She was calling upon the relevant Minister to make an order extending the period for spreading of chemical feed from September 1 to Aug 31 in order to allow farmers to grow a crop of silage.
“The exceptional heavy rainfall over the summer has made farming extremely difficult and if farmers are given more time for spreading, they’ll have at least some extra winter feed,” said Senator Higgins.
“I feel it is essential Environment Minister Phil Hogan looks favourably on this request.
"Given the extremely poor summer, farmers must now be given the flexibility to manage their fertiliser spreading over a longer period in September which would, if allowed, bring major cost savings.
“The IFA have estimated that in autumn every extra day at grass saves approximately €2.10/cow/day or €2.3 million/day to the dairy sector alone when compared to the cost of feeding on concentrates.”
In most southern counties, it is prohibited to spread chemical fertiliser from September 15 to mid-January, and to spread slurry from October 15 to mid-January.
“We need to preserve and assist the farming community in any way we can so that local communities remain viable with real spending power to sustain jobs and incomes in County Galway,” added Senator Higgins.