28 May 1999

Cut silage effluent…

FARMERS making silage in the coming weeks are urged by the Environment Agency to take special care to reduce effluent pollution.

"Farmers have made tremendous efforts in recent years to reduce pollution from silage effluent," said Bob Merriman, rural land use officer for the agency in Wales. "We appreciate farmers recognise the enormous polluting strength of silage effluent, which can be up to 200 times more polluting than untreated sewage.

"Very small quantities can devastate stream life and cause major problems to water users. Farmers are now taking more care and, as a result, pollution incidents have reduced," he said.

While many producers took advantage of warm, dry periods in early May to make silage with little effluent, cool, damp weather since then meant later cuts could produce more effluent than normal.