MAKING use of innovation and technology in the agriculture sector will be key to improving our environment and making farming more profitable and sustainable.
Minister for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) Edwin Poots was speaking as he visited a Slurry Spreading Technology Open Day at SlurryKat in Waringstown.
The Minister viewed advanced slurry spreading equipment that will help to reduce emissions to the environment and help farm businesses to become more efficient.
Mr Poots said: “There is an increasing and growing acceptance of the need to reduce ammonia, nitrates and phosphorus emissions into our air and water to prevent damage to sensitive sites, rivers and lakes, protect human health, help to meet UK targets and to improve the efficiency of nutrient use.
“In doing so, agricultural businesses have the added benefit of becoming more efficient by making better use of nutrients in slurries and reducing the need to buy chemical fertilisers.
“There is no doubt of the complexities and challenges that face us when we try to protect our green lands whilst at the same time support and encourage the rural sector to flourish.
“My tenure in DAERA will aim to create the building blocks for these two principles to not only converge, but also to find mutual benefits and thrive.
“While use of low emission slurry spreading equipment such as trailing shoe and dribble bars is already significant, I would like to see much greater uptake of this highly beneficial technology on farms across Northern Ireland as it is a key contributor in making a sustainable future for NI farming.”
Farmers are encouraged to read the DAERA technical note which details the range of productive and environmental benefits of low emission technology.
It is available on the department’s website at www.daera-ni.gov.uk/publications/low-emission-slurry-spreading-systems-help-reduce-ammonia-emissions
The Minister concluded: “I am also delighted that a number of our local companies are leading suppliers of this technology. They produce top quality equipment for our farmers and also export far beyond Northern Ireland.”