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Storage of Broiler Litter

April 17, 2020

Sinéad Mathers
CAFRE Pigs and Poultry Agri-environment Adviser

If broiler houses have been cleared out and litter disposal cannot take place as normal due to Coronavirus restrictions, then litter can be stored on a farmers’ premises.

Can I store litter temporarily in my yard?

Yes. Prior to land application or before been moved to another premises, poultry litter should be stored in a midden which has adequate effluent collection facilities and covered with an impermeable membrane. There is no limit to amount stored this way.

Can I store litter in my field?

Yes, but you must notify NIEA of any poultry litter placed in a field heap. It must be covered with an impermeable membrane within 24 hours of placement in the field. If stored in a field, the poultry litter must not be stored for longer than 120 days or in the same location in consecutive years, in quantities greater than would be applied to that field. Poultry litter must be stored in a compact heap. This must not be within:

  • 40m of any waterway
  • 100m of lakes
  • 50m of a borehole, spring or well
  • 250m of a borehole used for a public water supply
  • 50m of exposed cavernous or karstified limestone feature
Can I spread my litter direct onto grazing or silage ground?

Poultry litter should not be spread on agricultural land that is to be grazed, or from which silage or hay is to be harvested, in the same year due to the risk from botulism. If litter must be spread, it should be deep-ploughed into arable ground in line with crop requirements. If this is not an option and litter must be utilised by spreading on pasture, the litter must be checked for carcasses and ruminants should not have access to the treated fields for at least several months. However, there is no guarantee that the treated fields would then be safe for ruminants. Spreading litter on a windy day may also pose a risk of contaminating adjacent fields.