The Welsh Government has confirmed a final decision on whether to introduce closed periods for slurry spreading has not yet been made.
A spokesman admitted the plans, which were due to come into force in January 2020, were under review while the Regulatory Impact Assessment is completed.
Last month, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths told NFU Cymru conference she was ‘concerned’ about introducing set dates for spreading and had asked officials why the closed periods were needed.
After Farmers Guardian asked what advice officials had given to the Minister in this regard, a Welsh Government spokesman said: “Agricultural pollution is one of the main causes of water pollution. Industry leaders must recognise the scale of this issue and take a responsible approach.
“The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs will consider all available evidence when making a final decision on nutrient management issues and regulation.”
The comments came as NFU Cymru’s Rural Affairs Board held its final meeting of 2019, where members expressed their dismay at Welsh Government’s failure to provide further detail about how farmers would be expected to comply with the new regulations.
Hedd Pugh, chair of the board, said: “All involved in the industry will know Welsh farming is currently operating in a period of profound Brexit uncertainty.
“That Welsh Government has opted to compound this uncertainty through its lack of openness and communication about proposed new regulations to the farming sector is alarming and has been a source of significant concern to our members.
“Any farmer seeking out information on the detail of the new regulations would be hard-pressed to find anything from Welsh Government.”
FUW president Glyn Roberts added: “Experience here in Wales and elsewhere shows introducing a closed period is likely to increase the risk of agricultural pollution, and compliance with even some of the basic requirements Welsh Government wants to introduce could cost tens of thousands of pounds.
“The clear message we are getting from members is this would push large numbers over the edge in terms of keeping cattle at a time when environmental bodies continue to highlight the need to graze cattle for environmental reasons.”