Measures announced to assist farmers

The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government, Phil Hogan T.D., following consultation with the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, today(Friday 26 October) announced a number of measures to assist farmers in light of the very difficult weather conditions that have persisted throughout and since the summer.  These conditions have led to a situation where animals had to be housed and farmers, who would otherwise have sufficient storage for the manures produced on-farm, now find that they have insufficient storage capacity for the closed period ahead.


In brief, the measures announced by the Minister means that the closed period for the application of slurry will end earlier in 2013.  In addition they permit these farmers to spread such manures, subject to certain conditions, up to 16 November 2012.  In addition, The Minister also announced an easing of the obligation to establish a ‘green cover’ in certain exceptional circumstances.


The purpose of the closed periods is to protect the environment, especially during the months of November and December when there is little or no nutrient uptake.  “Because of this”, the Minister said, “I am not simply announcing a further extension into November but a series of measures that represent a careful, proportionate response to manage a genuinely difficult position on the ground.”

The measures announced by the Minister today are:


Spreading of organic manures produced on farms


The closed period will end on 1 January 2013 in zones A and B and on 15 January 2013 in zone C.

The spreading of organic manures produced on farms will be permitted during the period 1 November to 16 November inclusive but only in circumstances where:


  1. Farmers have the required minimum storage capacity under normal circumstances;
  2. Storage tanks are at a current level that leaves insufficient storage capacity for the closed periods;
  3. The insufficient storage capacity arising could lead to a potential risk of animal welfare issues arising;
  4. Farmers must only remove and spread the least amount required to give them sufficient capacity to last until the end of the closed period; normal requirements where spreading is not allowed in advance of adverse weather continue to apply.
  5. Farmers notify the appropriate authorities, through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, in advance of their intention to avail of this arrangement. Details of the notification process will be available on the Department of Agriculture website early next week.



Green Cover


In addition to the above, the Minister has approved an exemption from the requirement to establish a green cover for certain tillage farmers who, due to the inclement weather, have been unable to sow a winter crop.  The exemption will only apply where:

  1. land was prepared through ploughing or application of a total herbicide in advance of winter sowing;
  2. the land was ploughed or sprayed before the date of this announcement;
  3. the farmer declared winter crops on the 2012 Single Payment Scheme application;
  4. evidence is produced, if requested, of having secured/ordered seed with the intention of sowing a winter crop.
  5. There is no requirement to notify the Department of Agriculture to avail of this derogation.




‘Zones’ referred to in this Press Release refer to Schedule 4 of the European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for the Protection of Waters) Regulations 2010 and include the follow counties:

Zone Counties
A Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Wicklow
B Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo and Westmeath
C Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim and Monaghan.

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