Any new measures being placed upon farms stocked below 170kgN/ha would undermine the viability of farming, warns ICMSA’s farm and rural affairs chairman, Denis Drennan.
Mr Drennan said ICMSA is concerned by suggestions farmers may be restricted from exporting slurry to other farmers to ensure their stocking rates stays below the 170kgN/ha. He pointed out that almost 5,000 farmers export slurry to maintain this stocking rate. Rule changes could have very serious implications for these farmers, he said.
The Department’s drive to promote blanket use of low emission slurry spreading equipment, while an effective tool to combat greenhouse gas emissions, also faces practical cost barriers to its widespread adoption.
“There simply isn’t enough low emission equipment or contractors out there to make this happen,” said Mr Drennan. There are also questions around the suitability of this type of equipment for many land types that have to be addressed, as well as the financial costs on farmers.”
ICMSA is seeking a 60% grant from TAMS for low emission slurry equipment. Farmers should also be able to get the VAT back on this equipment and it should qualify for accelerated capital allowances, said Mr Drennan.