Over 600 farmers attended four cross compliance meetings in the county, during November. A range of issues were discussed at these meetings and farmers are showing a keen interest in playing their part in the maintenance of the environment on their farms.
All farmers are obliged to comply with the Cross Compliance Regulations and maintain their land in GAEC (Good Agricultural & Environmental Condition). Failure to do so will lead to penalties being applied to their Direct Payments. Farm Inspections are taking place on an ongoing basis and the following tips are intended to help farmers identify some issues that may need to be addressed during the Autumn and Winter period.
Have you a fertiliser
plan for next year?
Farmers whose REPS 3 plans have expired will generally need to apply up to 25% less Phosphate than they were allowed in REPS 3. New Soil Samples should be taken now to accurately plan your fertiliser use for next year.
Clean silage slabs and concrete aprons
Keep silage pits and slabs clean by collecting fallen and waste silage and storing with Farmyard manure for the 18 week period. If concrete is regularly cleaned, the rainwater runoff will be regarded as clean water.
Keep outdoor concrete yards and passages clean
Clean and scrape the slurry from dairy collecting yards; and store for the 18 week period in a tank separate from the rainfall & washings from the dairy. Then the rainfall and washings runoff from these areas (which is stored in a separate tank to slurry); will be soiled water which only needs 10 days storage. This soiled water can be landspread during the closed period in suitable conditions.
Holding pens and Cattle Crushes and farm roads
Scrape and collect the solids immediately after use and store with the slurry or farmyard manure. The rainfall runoff will be clean water and will not require storage.
Storing Farmyard Manure
FYM can not be stored in a heap in fields between 1st of November and the 15th of January. It may be landspread before 1st Nov and again after 15th January. FYM cannot be stored on hardcore but it may be allowed to build up under cattle housed in loose houses. If FYM is stored outdoors on concrete, all seepage and effluent must be collected and stored for 18 weeks.
Storage of Round
Store all baled silage at least 20 metres away from watercourses and dry drains. Otherwise you must have effluent collection and storage facilities. If bales are stored away from all drains and watercourses, there should be no leaking of effluent that could seep into groundwater.
Should you arrange for Soil Samples to be taken?
Land more than six years in continuous tillage must have soil samples taken to determine the Soil Organic Matter content (€36/sample). In addition, farmers who join AEOS in 2011 need to have Soil Samples taken this Winter. A soil analysis for every 8Ha to include owned, leased and conacre land is required by the 31st march 2012.
Food and Feed Hygiene
Prevent contamination of all stored feedstuffs during the winter months. Ensure there is no access for vermin such as rats, mice and birds. Keep a record of purchased poisons and baits and where they are laid around the farmyard (REPS farmyard sketch will suffice with the bait points marked). Chemicals and detergents may not be stored with animal feed. Keep all invoices for bought in concentrates, as they will be examined during a farm inspection.
Trim Hedgerows and
Trimming of hedgerows can only be done between September 1 and February 28. If you are a REPS farmer, check the yearly schedule of work and identify which hedgerows need to be cut this winter. Remove encroaching vegetation, as otherwise you may suffer a penalty on your Direct Payments of between 1% and 5%.
Movement of Slurry
If slurry is moved onto or off any farm in 2011; you must record this and notify the Dept of Agriculture by December 31. Form Record 3 (available from Teagasc and DAFM), must be completed only by exporters and sent to the Nitrates Section in Wexford by years end and any forms submitted after December 31 will not be accepted.
Derogation applicants in 2011
Start collecting your fertiliser and meal dockets for submission to the DAFM for the calendar year 2011. Keep your N&P statement that you received in September in the same file.