SOUTH Down Sinn Féin’s Chris Hazzard MLA has backed calls for the Environment Minister to extend the deadline for spreading slurry in the countryside.
Mr Hazzard said: “With the change in weather conditions lately farmers are finally getting a chance to graze their stock outside; however with the slurry deadline of 15 October approaching, farmers are coming under increasing pressure.
“We have experienced one of the wettest years on record and farmers have subsequently been forced to house stock and feed them silage they had set for winter. By asking the Minister to extend the deadline to the end of October we could ease the pressure on both stock feed and the financial cost farmers will face this winter in replacing silage already used.
“With other jurisdictions extending the deadline in order to ease the pressure on both the farming community and the environment, Sinn Féin are hopeful that the Environment Minister will see sense and agree with our position.
“The last thing we want is farmers racing to meet the deadline over the next couple of weeks and feeling forced to put huge amounts of slurry on the ground, as not only is this out of step with sustainable farming practises, but it may result in major environmental implications,” added Mr Hazzard.