Slurry season is here, and 2021 is a year like no other as the pandemic rages on and Brexit wreaks havoc on imports. “Extra vigilance” is required this slurry season, says FCI chairman, John Hughes, urging farmers and contractors to prepare ahead of time, order parts early and take extra safety precautions in line with government guidance.
To help you get set—in line with the guidance— we’ve put together the slurry application dates you need to know, tips on how to get the best equipment in time for the season, and a safety measure checklist to give you peace of mind before you roll out the machinery.
Slurry application dates in Ireland and Northern Ireland According to the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) slurry can be applied in Northern Ireland from Monday, February 1st until October 15th. Ireland is slightly more complicated date-wise because it’s split into three separate zones. You can get the information you need for your area in the table below.
|Fertiliser type||Zone A||Zone B||Zone C|
|Jan 13th - Sept 14th||Jan 16th - Sept 14th||Feb 1st - Sept 14th|
|Organic||Jan 13th - Oct 14th||Jan 16th - Oct 14th||
Feb 1st - Oct 14th
|Farmyard Manure||Jan 13th - Oct 31st||Jan 16th - Oct 31st||Feb 1st - Oct 31st|
Zone A: Carlow, Cork, Dublin, Kildare, Kilkenny, Laois, Offaly, Tipperary, Waterford; Wexford, Wicklow
Zone B: Clare, Galway, Kerry, Limerick, Longford, Louth, Mayo, Meath, Roscommon, Sligo, Westmeath
Zone C: Cavan, Donegal, Leitrim, Monaghan
That’s the dates sorted, but is your equipment up to speed?
So, your tanks are filling up to overflowing and you’re keen to get the slurry out quick to cut the silage sooner rather than later. But maybe now isn’t the time for rushing. The safest bet is to check and service your slurry equipment ahead of spreading to save yourself big bucks in the long run and potential downtime.
Why LESS could be more
You’re probably well aware that slurry is an important source of nitrogen (N), phosphorous (P), and potassium (K), and using it effectively can help balance soil fertility levels and offset expensive chemical fertiliser costs. However, traditional spreading methods, including the use of splash plates, can cause a substantial amount of the nitrogen to be lost in the atmosphere as ammonia, diminishing its value as a nutrient and polluting the air. A better way to get nitrogen into the soil is to use low emission slurry spreading (LESS) techniques such as trailing hose or trailing shoe systems which get the slurry directly onto the soil surface below the grass. According to the Agricultural and Food Development Authority, a trailing hose will deliver as much as a 30% reduction in ammonia losses and the trailing shoe up to a 60% reduction compared to a traditional splash plate. It’s also worth noting that from February 1st this year the laws change, and slurry contractors in Scotland and Northern Ireland won’t be allowed to use an inverted splash plate to spread slurry.
Top tips for getting the most out of your slurry
⇒ Apply to fields with a large nutrient demand i.e., silage fields
⇒ Apply under cool and damp conditions, e.g. spring in the UK and Ireland
⇒ Apply with a trailing hose or shoe
⇒ Increase slurry nitrogen efficiency by diluting it with water
⇒ Test your slurry to determine its nutrient content
⇒ Adjust chemical fertiliser N rate and make a cost-saving
So whether you are a farmer or a contractor looking to upgrade Farm Compare has a slurry solution for you
Ready to spread? The ‘stop and think’ checklist from HSENI
25% of deaths and serious injuries are caused by slurry in Northern Ireland’s farms. Just one breath of slurry gas which is produced during the mixing process can kill you. That’s why it’s so important to ensure that you’ve taken every necessary safety precaution. Always presume hazardous gas is present during mixing, and always keep unnecessary slurry tank openings covered. Why not check off this NI Health and Safety Executive checklist to give yourself peace of mind before you spread?
|The safe slurry spreading checklist||Check before you start (X)|
|1. If possible, mix on a windy day|
|2. Keep children away when working with slurry|
|3. Take all animals out of the building before starting to mix slurry|
|4. Open all doors and windows|
|5. Use outside mixing points first|
|6. If slats are removed, cover the exposed areas if the tank beside the pump/mixer to stop anything falling in|
|7. Start the pump/mixer and then stay out of the building for as long as possible-at least 30 mins or longer depending on the size of the tank|
|8. If you must go into the building, make sure that another adult who knows what you are doing stays outside and can get help if needed|
|10. If you must re-enter to move the pump, or change the direction of the pump, leave the building as soon as this is done. Do not go back in for as long as possible- at least 30 mins or longer depending on the size of the tank.|
|Rely on filter type facemasks|
|Use gas monitors/meters as a substitute for a safe method of working|
|Rely on meters at the start of mixing|
|Have naked flames near slurry, as slurry gas mixture is flammable|
|Stand close to the pump/exhaust of a vacuum tanker when it is being filled|