25 April 1997

Caution on the cracks

DIRTY water must be applied at low rates on cracked ground to avoid polluting water courses.

A spokeswoman for the Environment Agency says that with the ground hard and dry, dirty water applied is running into cracks and passing straight through into water courses.

And because the soil moisture level is low, dirty water is reaching these courses relatively undiluted.

ADAS slurry specialist Brian Chambers explains that the soil moisture deficit has risen to 76mm (3in) and cracking appears extensively with a SMD of 100mm (4in).

He advises choosing which field to spread dirty water on carefully. "If possible choose fields without a drainage system and spread at no more than 50m cu/ha at a time.

"And move the spreader around frequently so that no area receives too much," he says.

Mr Chambers.