Monday 01 October 2012
Spreading chemical fertiliser in late September should be a last resort, said Environment Minister Phil Hogan last week, announcing extensions to the normal periods allowed for application of fertilisers.
The extension should be availed of only by farmers who may benefit and who, for practical reasons, could not complete application by mid-September, said the minister.
"I am conscious of the recent serious disruption to normal farming activity due to very poor weather conditions during the summer and I believe that this situation can be relieved by allowing the application of chemical fertiliser to continue for a further short period to boost grass growth and address a potentially very difficult fodder shortage later in the year." He extended the period for chemical fertilisers to Sept 30 (the closed period was due to commence on Sept 15), and to Oct 31 for spreading organic manures (also an extension of just over two weeks). Nitrates regulations require that manures or any fertilisers are not applied to land that is waterlogged, flooded or likely to flood, frozen, or if heavy rain is forecast within 48 hours. Buffer zones are specified for water ways.
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