Tuesday 25 September 2012
The deadline for spreading chemical fertilizer has been extended to the end of the month. In addition, Environment Minister Phil Hogan has confirmed a two-week extension to the deadline for spreading organic fertilizer (slurry/FYM) to the end of October. The extensions apply to all farmers in all schemes.
Minister Hogan revealed that the decisions were made following requests from Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and farm organisations. They were "in response to the challenges farmers face due to the very difficult weather conditions this summer" he said.
"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." In addition, tillage farmers were in a race against time to fertilize autumn plantings following harvest delays. Therefore the deadline for application of chemical fertilizer is now 30 September, as opposed to the original deadline of this Friday 14 September. Slurry may be spread now until 31 October.
Teagasc research has indicated a strong response to nitrogen application at this time of year, between 15-20kg DM grass/kg N applied. However, fields have to be grazed down or have forage saved prior to any N application. In recent days, farmers have been saving hay as well as silage, the first opportunity to do so since early June in the most weather affected areas.
"Ideally, the application of chemical fertiliser in late September should be a last resort," said Minister Hogan, stressing farmers must observe normal good practice when applying fertilizers.
Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney welcomed the announcement. "I am acutely aware of the difficulties the adverse weather conditions have had on farms this summer. The granting of these extensions will alleviate pressures on farmers to some extent".
Both IFA and ICMSA welcomed the extensions. IFA Environment Chairman Harold Kingston said: "This is a crucial recognition of the need for farmers to take advantage of improved weather and ground conditions". ICMSA President John Comer said that the Department must continue to monitor the situation closely and look for ways to actively support farmers who were struggling against adverse weather, fodder shortages and sky-rocketing input costs.
Source: Argentine Beef Packers S.A.
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