ICMSA’s Comer looks for slurry spreading ‘window’ during closed period
The Deputy President of ICMSA and Chairman of that association’s Farm Services Committee, John Comer, has stated that Ministers Coveney and Hogan will simply have to ‘put their heads together’ and come forward with a solution to problems being experienced by the large numbers of farmers, particularly in the West and Midlands, who were unable to spread any slurry during the Open Period due to very heavy rainfalls that occurred continuously throughout the September and October. Mr Comer said that simply pointing at the calendar and repeating that there was no possibility of an extension was to ignore the reality that had seen hundreds, if not thousands, of farmers left with no slurry spread at all because of the very adverse weather conditions. The ICMSA Deputy President pointed out that in a submission made to the Department of the Environment in July of 2010, ICMSA had requested that the Minister regularise the force majeure conditions that had been invoked on several occasions in recent years – as late as October 2008 for the spreading slurry and September 2009 for the spreading chemical fertiliser.
“We would like the Ministers concerned to see sense on this issue and cease denying any possibility of an extension. We would recommend that the Minister go back and look at possible solutions based on detailed proposals ICMSA made in July of 2010 in which we argued that the Ministers could identify and agree on ‘window periods’ during the designated Closed Period in which they would permit the spreading of slurry based on Met Eireann forecasts predicting at least five consecutive dry days during which the soil temperatures remain above 4 degrees centigrade and soil moisture content remained above field capacity. While it is being reported that both Ministers concerned are set against any extension to the slurry spreading periods, we would only direct their attention to the previous three occasions – the last a mere three years ago – when they realised that extensions would have to be granted so that farmers would be able to carry out this vital work. It is time surely to regularise the arrangements around this and not be relying on this ad hoc system that has the Ministers concerned deciding on a year-to-year basis whether or nor the particular weather in specific parts of the country warrants any extension. ICMSA has already come forward with sensible proposals that will deal with the matter and we would ask the ministers to re-visit our 2010 submission”, stated Mr Comer.
Ends. 2 November 2011.
John Comer, 087-2057846
Deputy President, ICMSA.
Cathal MacCarthy, 087-6168758
ICMSA Press Office