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What impact can weed control & drainage work have on water quality?

Agricultural Sustainability Support and Advice Programme advisors Mary Roache & Meabh O’Hagan join Catherine Egan on this week’s Beef Edge podcast as part of Water Quality Week to highlight correct weed control management & tips on carrying out drainage work to reduce impact on water quality.


Firstly, Mary discussed the main types of weeds farmers want to control.  With docks being the most common, Mary discussed the chemical and non-chemical methods of control.  Mary also advised farmers as to what they must look out for when using pesticides to avoid getting any into our water supplies such as correct application rate, method and buffer zones.

To conclude Mary advised farmers to look at the Basic Payment pack they received recently to complete the necessary recording paperwork for cross compliance. Only a DAFM-registered professional user can apply Plant Protection Products that are authorised for professional use.  It is a requirement for sprayers over 3 years of age to have passed a Pesticide Application Equipment Test before being used to apply professional use Plant Protection Products. 

Meabh then discussed how land drainage impacts water quality and how farmers can minimise the impact. When it comes to carrying out new drainage works, Meabh advised to consider the bigger picture in relation to new environmental schemes in the future and to talk to your advisor in advance of undertaking any work.

Meabh highlighted that drain maintenance should only take place when needed and after spawning has occurred from July- Sept.  She also advised on the ways to minimise the amount of maintenance drains require.

Farmers can get more information about how to appropriately carry out drainage and drain maintenance here: https://www.teagasc.ie/environment/soil/soil-drainage/

Find further information here on Water Quality Week

For more episodes and information covered on the Beef Edge, visit the show page at: www.teagasc.ie/thebeefedge