Farmers warned about dangers of importing slurry to offset fertiliser price increases

Imported untreated slurry or other sludges could expose cows to diseases such as Salmonella, TB, or Johne’s disease
Farmers warned about dangers of importing slurry to offset fertiliser price increases

Trailing shoe slurry spreaders will minimise disease risk from aerosols.

Glanbia suppliers have been warned of the dangers to watch out for if sourcing organic fertilisers such as slurry or manure to offset the rapid increase in the price of artificial fertilisers.

Avoid bringing risk onto the farm in alternative fertilisers, is the co-op's biosecurity advice to suppliers.

"Alternative fertilisers could seem attractive, but it's key for a dairy farm to ensure you don’t accidentally bring in diseases along the way."

For example, imported untreated slurry, farmyard manure, sewage, or other sludges or byproducts from food waste companies could expose cows to diseases such as Salmonella, TB or Johne’s disease.

Suppliers were referred to the Animal Health Ireland website's excellent resources about avoiding issues and implementing good biosecurity practices on the farm.

Glanbia Co-op advisers said the most crucial thing to watch out for is to avoid poultry litter being used on any livestock farm, due to the botulism risk. 

The Glanbia Ingredients Milk Purchasing Policy highlights this risk, and states that poultry litter is not to be used.

Botulism toxin from poultry litter

This is due to the unfortunate experiences of some suppliers through the years, where cows and milk were lost due to a herd being exposed to the botulism toxin from poultry litter from neighbouring farms.

The smallest amount of botulism toxin can significantly damage a herd.

"Be aware if neighbouring tillage farmers use poultry litter, and ensure your stock are moved as far away as possible from where the litter is being stored or used," farmers were advised. 

"Poultry litter use has strict guidelines, and it must be incorporated deep into the soil immediately to rule out the risk of wild animals carrying debris that could harm livestock." 

The wind can carry fragments of chicken carcasses, and this can be enough to cause issues.

The Glanbia checklist on how to reduce disease risks from slurry and other manure-based products:

  • Don’t use imported slurry and other wastes from other farms, where possible;
  • If purchasing from external sources, enquire about the farms’ disease status;
  • If purchasing from an anaerobic digestion plant using manure, enquire about the temperature standard being used and the source of the material being used in the plant;
  • If using imported biological waste, spread it on tillage or silage ground in preference to grazing land. Do not use imported biological wastes on grazing land;
  • Discuss with your own vet the risks of using imported waste, the source, time, and treatment;
  • Where possible, restrict slurry spreading to farm-owned machinery, thus avoiding the biosecurity risk associated with third party owned slurry spreaders;
  • Discuss with your own vet or your DVO the option of treating slurry with lime to reduce certain disease threats from imported slurry;
  • Trailing shoe slurry spreaders will minimise disease risk from aerosols.

More in this section


Biodiversity & Agriculture

Fertliser & Lime

Animal Health

Hemp Farming

Artifical Insemination

Fertiliser & Lime


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