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Council warns farmers over silage effluent in Limerick

Environment Agriland.ie

Farmers and silage contractors have been urged to redouble their efforts to eliminate silage effluent spillages from crops amid a particularly bad year for pollution so far, according to Limerick City and County Council.
'Farmers and silage contractors have been urged to redouble their efforts to eliminate silage effluent spillages from crops amid a particularly bad year for pollution so far, according to Limerick City and County Council.The call from the council comes with second crop harvesting very much in full swing and a bumper crop anticipated due to strong growth over recent weeks.Agricultural scientist with Limerick City and County Council, Aidan Leonard called for extra vigilance on the matter.He said that silage effluent is over 200 times more polluting that raw sewage and one of the most potent of agricultural pollutants.Its impact on waters can be devastating, he stressed.Continuing, he said: “Every year, despite widespread awareness across the industry of the threat from silage effluent leakages, there are incidents of leakage which can cause immense damage to rivers and streams. “2019 has been a particularly bad year in this regard.During June 2019, eight cases of pollution resulting from silage effluent came to the attention of the Limerick City and Council. “One of these cases resulted in a serious fish kill, another caused serious pollution of a neighbouring well.Other cases gave rise to significant damage to the biology of the rivers and streams.” Among the reasons identified for these spillages, Leonard said, was wet-silage/over-filling of silage pit, effluent conduits damaged by machinery, inappropriate storage of baled silage and silage bases with cracks in them due to joints not being properly sealed.Leonard said that the public can help with identification of problems, not least by monitoring local streams and rivers.The presence of grey slime, called ‘sewage fungus’, in a waterbody indicates contamination from a range of organic pollutants, including silage effluent, he said.To minimise risk of contamination, the scientist advised: inspecting the pit before silage making to ensure there are no cracks or defects in the base, walls or channels; avoiding an overfill of pits; and usage of a 70mm land drainage pipe in channels, directed to the storage tank. “The silage harvesting season is a particularly busy time of year for farmers.Nevertheless, it is essential to regularly check that there is no silage effluent escaping from the facilities.All drains and watercourses downstream of the farmyard should also be checked regularly to ensure they are free from contamination.Leonard added that if silage is suspected to be escaping, it is important to act immediately. . The post Council warns farmers over silage effluent in Limerick appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Bord na Móna job losses could result in industrial action, unions warn

Environment Irish Examiner Business

An impasse between the ESB and the Environmental Protection Agency that has led to the suspension of operations at a power plant in Longford could lead to industrial action by Bord na Móna employees, unions are warning.
'An impasse between the ESB and the Environmental Protection Agency that has led to the suspension of operations at a power plant in Longford could lead to industrial action by Bord na Móna employees, unions are warning.'

South Kerry Greenway: ‘There is a way forward despite what has happened’

Environment Agriland.ie

The fallout from the South Kerry Greenway proposals must be addressed through consultation with farmers and landowners.These were the sentiments expressed by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) environment committee member John O’Sullivan who also
'The fallout from the South Kerry Greenway proposals must be addressed through consultation with farmers and landowners.These were the sentiments expressed by Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) environment committee member John O’Sullivan who also pointed to the code of practice for greenways.He was speaking in the aftermath of talks breaking down completely between farmers and Kerry County Council over the proposed greenway in south Kerry.O’Sullivan says that, while the greenway is welcomed by everyone, “it will never happen if agreement isn’t reached with landowners”. Meanwhile, the greenway proposal – from Glenbeigh to Cahersiveen – was first mooted in 2011 after the South Kerry Development Partnership recognised that the Great Southern and Western Rail Company’s west Kerry branch abandoned railway line, with its outstanding views, rail structures and varying landscapes, “could provide an exceptional walking and cycling route, and deliver a wide range of environmental, social and economic benefits”. It was to be a flagship project of the Ring of Kerry Cycle Route and part of the first phase of the Ring of Kerry off-road cycling and walking trail. ‘Conduct and code of practice’ O’Sullivan says there is huge upset over compulsory purchase order (CPO) notices that were issued to 130 farmers on the route.He also pointed to how four landowners subsequently ended up in court after Kerry County Council issued legal proceedings against them. “There is a code of practice for greenways and as part of that it was made very clear that CPOs would not be introduced,” added O’Sullivan. “All the farmers around here very much support the greenway but not with a CPO.So there needs to be more consultation with the landowners and an agreement reached between all parties so that this greenway can go ahead.” Meanwhile, he pointed to the benefits of the amenity to south Kerry.It will enhance the area and feed into the Wild Atlantic Way which is now proving to be a national tourist attraction. “It is interesting to note that money has been granted for the development of the north Kerry greenway and everything is ready to roll there; incidentally, landowners were treated very differently in north Kerry than those in south Kerry and through negotiation and consultation resolutions were reached there without any fallout.” Where there is a will there is a way Ken Jones, meanwhile, secretary of IFA’s county executive in Kerry, pointed to the seriousness of the CPO issue and how its impact cannot be emphasised enough. “This is because it hasn’t happened to landowners where other greenways have been built in Ireland; it is a very worrying development. “Who is to say that if this is allowed to happen in Kerry local authorities all over the country won’t start introducing CPOs on farmers or landowners whose land might be required to facilitate other amenities or developments? “It’s a huge issue for farmers in south Kerry and is the reason why talks have broken down completely between local landowners and Kerry County Council.” Jones, meanwhile, says there is a way forward…despite what has happened. “We all believe there is a way forward on this because we asked the council at one stage to withdraw CPOs and they approved that.But then they went and took four farmers to court and everything was ruined then,” he continued.It also showed us that Kerry County Council has no intention of backing down on the CPO issue and that has rankled everyone now.Under the code of practice CPOs are not advised and so if that happens in south Kerry then precedent is set; then what happens in the future? “We have met with the farmers in Waterford who were impacted by the greenway there.And while they had their arguments and disagreements with the local authority there, all sides sat down, trashed things out and they found solutions to the problems.The county now has a fantastic amenity and everyone is happy.” In a statement the local authority in Kerry said: “The planning application for the South Kerry Greenway is currently with An Bord Pleanála for decision and it would not be appropriate for Kerry County Council to make any further comments on the project until that decision is reached.” . The post South Kerry Greenway: ‘There is a way forward despite what has happened’ appeared first on Agriland.ie .'

Grass-clover sward has the potential to deliver ‘€305/ha extra net profit per year’

Environment Agriland.ie

As the pressure on farmers to do their bit for the environment grows, clover is becoming more of an attractive option in trying to reduce the amount of chemical fertiliser applied on farms.
'As the pressure on farmers to do their bit for the environment grows, clover is becoming more of an attractive option in trying to reduce the amount of chemical fertiliser applied on farms.In light of this, an experiment is currently being undertaken in Clonakilty Agricultural College, to investigate the effect of sward type (grass only versus grass-clover) and nitrogen (N) fertiliser levels (150kg N/ha versus 250kg N/ha) on the productivity of spring milk production systems.They will also examine how reducing N fertiliser levels on grass only and grass-clover will affect grass and milk production.Teagasc’s Áine Murray discussed this study and its findings, to date, at the recent Moorepark ’19 Open Day.The previous study “A previous study in Clonakilty looked at the effect of tetraploid and diploid with and without clover – over the course of four years. “The main discovery was that there was no difference between tetraploid and diploid varieties without clover on herbage production – for the whole grazing season – or on milk production. “The only real difference was when you added clover.This resulted in an additional 1.2t DM/ha, 597kg/cow and 48kg of MS/cow produced.This added up to €305/ha extra net profit per year.The new study It was from this previous study that the new Clonakilty study was developed.The new study now aims to see if the same results can be achieved by reducing the N input . Four different treatments are being examined: Grass only with 150kg N/ha applied; Grass only with 250kg N/ha applied; Grass-clover with 150kg N/ha; Grass-clover with 250kg N/ha applied.For the treatments on the lower rates of N, the reduction in N will be during the mid-grazing season.Only 9kg of N/ha will be applied in each round between the months of May and August and 12kg of N/ha in the last round in mid-September.Touching on the performance of the experiment to date, Áine said: “At the minute, we are getting 1.5L/cow/day and 0.11kg of MS/cow/day more from the cows on the grass-clover with the lower N, than the grass only with the higher N. “However, I expect there to be a much greater difference between the two groups over the next number of weeks as the amount of clover in the sward increases.” Over-sowing Since the beginning of the previous study (in 2014), none of the paddocks have been reseeded.In some of the paddocks, the clover has not persisted as well as others; so in order to keep it at the optimum level (20-25%) they have over-sown some of the paddocks.Explained their approach to this, she said: “We over-sowed the paddocks in April.First we grazed them really tight or took bales off.We then mixed 2kg of clover/ac with 0-10-20 and broadcast it across the field.After this we spread parlour washings. “The establishment can be hit or miss using this method; you need moist ground conditions and some paddocks take better than others. “Following this, we grazed the paddocks at a cover of 1,200kg of DM/ha and tried to continue grazing them around this cover – to allow light to penetrate the bottom of the sward.” . The post Grass-clover sward has the potential to deliver ‘€305/ha extra net profit per year’ appeared first on Agriland.ie .'