Environment

Limerick City and County Council urges farmers to adhere to regulations ahead of silage season

For assistance or emergency reporting, farmers can contact Limerick City and County Council at 061 556000 or the out-of-hours emergency phone at 061-417833.

As the silage-making season looms, despite the lingering cold weather and slow grass growth, Limerick City and County Council has issued a timely reminder to all farmers regarding their obligations to manage silage effluents responsibly. Emphasising the importance of adhering to environmental regulations, the council aims to mitigate potential water pollution risks associated with silage operations.

According to the European Union (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) Regulations 2022, silage effluent poses a significant threat to water quality, being approximately 200 times more polluting than raw domestic sewage. In light of this, farmers are urged to ensure that all effluents generated during the silage-making process are collected, stored, and managed in a manner that minimises their impact on the environment.

Ahead of commencing silage activities, farmers are advised to conduct thorough inspections of their silage bases and associated collecting channels to identify and rectify any defects. Professional advice should be sought for necessary repairs, with reference to the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine’s building specifications.

During pit silage making, several key precautions must be observed:

  • Farmers should accurately determine the storage capacity of their silage slabs to avoid overfilling, which often leads to effluent leakage.
  • Grass should be adequately wilted before ensiling to achieve a dry matter content of at least 30%, thereby minimising effluent release.
  • Proper maintenance of drainage channels and ensuring that grass remains behind them are crucial to prevent blockages and effluent seepage.
  • Regular monitoring of effluent collection is essential to prevent overflow, with any observed leakage promptly addressed to prevent contamination of surface or ground waters.

Furthermore, farmers are reminded to dilute silage effluent with slurry at a ratio of at least one to one before land spreading, and to maintain adequate buffer zones to safeguard water bodies.

In the event of any effluent-related issues, farmers are obligated to report them to Limerick City and County Council promptly. This includes instances of effluent leakage from silage pits or unauthorised connections of farmyard pipes to watercourses.

Limerick City and County Council emphasises the collective responsibility of farmers in safeguarding the environment and urges full compliance with regulations to ensure the protection of water resources for future generations.

For assistance or emergency reporting, farmers can contact Limerick City and County Council at 061 556000 or the out-of-hours emergency phone at 061-417833.

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