A leading mental health farming charity in Wales has said controversial new regulations which introduce closed periods for slurry spreading are ‘likely to cause stress’ for farmers.
Kate Miles, charity manager at the DPJ Foundation, also warned the rules around additional slurry capacity could pile more stress on farmers who suffer TB breakdowns, as movement restrictions often lead to a build-up of extra muck.
“Closed periods are likely to cause stress,” she said.
“In all likelihood they will, because if farmers or contractors are under pressure to get muck out at a certain time, that is unhelpful in itself.
“Anything which takes control away from the individual can contribute to mental health problems.
“With TB breakdowns, the situation is stressful enough as it is. We have already got farms where capacity is fine most of the time, but they go down with TB and they have to keep calves they would normally sell on, so they are creating more muck.
“When it comes to that point, it is going to be an issue.”
Ms Miles also suggested any additional inspections associated with the water rules may add to existing concerns.
She said: “In mental health awareness training we ask delegates what their worries are and something which consistently comes through is farm inspections, either by Welsh Government for Glastir or compliance with payments, or from the local authority or farm assurance schemes.
“That is relatively high on the list of worries. If it looks like the whole of Wales is going to become a Nitrate Vulnerable Zone, which it does, that is another inspection to go into the pot of potential worry.”