The Environment Agency have urged farmers to be particularly vigilant and to inspect their fields thoroughly before applying slurry to their land. The prolonged hot weather has left many fields with extensive surface cracks.

If care isn’t taken significant pollution could be caused as these cracks can act as a rapid pathway for slurry to enter land drains. Slurry could pollute watercourses directly if application rates are too high or could remain in the land drains after spreading only to be flushed out during wet weather at a later date causing significant pollution.

The recently introduced Reduction and Prevention of Agricultural Diffuse Pollution (England) Regulations 2018, more commonly referred to as the “Farming Rules for Water” specify that:

“a land manager must ensure that, for each application of organic manure or manufactured fertiliser to agricultural land, the application is planned so that it does not give rise to a significant risk of agricultural diffuse pollution, and that it takes into account the weather conditions and forecasts for that land at the time of the application”.