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Agriculture minister Poots points to technology to boost farming profit

Edwin Poots

Making use of innovation and technology in the agriculture sector will be key to improving the environment and making farming more profitable and sustainable, the new Agriculture Minister has said.

Edwin Poots was speaking at a Slurry Spreading Technology Open Day in Waringstown, where advanced equipment that reduces emissions and boosts farming efficiency was unveiled.

He said: "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 (Department for Agriculture and Rural Affairs) 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 farming."

Farmers were encouraged to read DAERA's technical note which details the range of productive and environmental benefits of low emission technology.

It can be found on the department's website where details on The Nutrients Acton Programme (NAP) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2019 also feature.

The NAP regulations require that Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment must be used for all anaerobic digestate spreading by February 2020, all slurry contractors by February 2021 and cattle farms with over 200 livestock units, or pig farms with total annual livestock manure nitrogen production of 20,000kg or more by February 2022.

Mr Poots said he was "delighted" that a number of local firms are leading suppliers in the new technology.

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