Environmentalists are now warning that increasing milk production by 50% will impact on water quality due to pollution. Furthermore, as dairy herds are set to expand, the HSE has also warned that the risk of water-borne zoonotic illness, or diseases that can be passed from animals, had potentially been “underestimated”. Ground water supplies and surface water are particularly susceptible to slurry contamination from intensive farming practices.
Many rivers in the Golden Vale area of counties Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford are already badly polluted due to the effects of intensive dairy farming and farm run-off such as nitrates, phosphates and slurry. It is expected that many farmers will now spread even more nitrogen to intensify grass production and much of that fertiliser will inevitably end up in local streams and rivers. There will also be a huge increase in slurry output due to larger dairy herds which will threaten ground water supplies…Read More (PDF)