Farm Ireland
Independent.ie

Thursday 25 May 2017

Calls for action on TAMS II scheme for Tillage farmers

Smart farming innovations can improve yields, with the FTMTA urging Minister Creed to consider grant aiding such technology
Smart farming innovations can improve yields, with the FTMTA urging Minister Creed to consider grant aiding such technology
Derek Casey

Derek Casey

The Farm Tractor & Machinery Trade Association (FTMTA) has called on the Minister for Agriculture to ensure that the proposed Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme II (TAMS II) Tillage Scheme is opened for applications as soon as possible.

The original measures, announced for TAMS II during 2015, failed to make any provision for the tillage sector and this omission was widely criticised at the time. The then Minister for Agriculture, Simon Coveney, announced in October 2015 that TAMS II would be amended to include the tillage sector. However, that announcement is now one year old.

Such a change required EU approval and the current minister, Michael Creed, confirmed during July that this approval had been granted and that a tillage scheme would be opened later this year.

FTMTA welcomed the minister's confirmation, in a written response of July 13 to a parliamentary question, that "formal approval from the EU Commission to an amendment to the Rural Development Programme 2014-2020 to provide for the inclusion of a tillage scheme under the suite of measures provided under the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) was received on June 23, 2016 and the scheme will be opened for applications later this year".

FTMTA highlighted to the Minister that Irish farmers needed access to modern technology to improve their margins and that any progress towards rectifying the omission of the tillage sector from TAMS II was particularly welcome at a time when the challenges facing tillage farmers are so great.

Sprayers

FTMTA chief executive, Gary Ryan, said: "Clearly the difficulties facing the tillage sector have increased even since Minister Creed's response of July and it is vital that all possible assistance be given to this important segment of Irish farming. In light of the difficulties experienced by tillage farmers this year, FTMTA has asked the Minister that the proposed tillage scheme be opened as soon as possible.

"The association has requested that consideration be given to grant aiding a range of investments on tillage farms, from grain storage and drying facilities to a variety of precision agriculture technologies in the areas of machine guidance, precision drilling, soil quality, crop monitoring, fertiliser spreading and spraying.

Such smart farming innovations can improve yields as well as reducing waste of costly inputs and can have a direct positive impact on farmers' margins."

Meanwhile, the FTMTA has also requested that Minister Creed make some provision for the replacement and repair of sprayers given the imminent deadline for the testing of all sprayers which are more than five years old on November 26 under the Sustainable Use of Pesticides Directive.

The association believes that most well-maintained sprayers will meet the requirements of the sprayer test with a minimal amount of additional attention, but there will undoubtedly be a relatively significant number of older machines which will require more substantial remedial work or indeed replacement. With this in mind, the FTMTA has urged Minister Creed to include under the TAMS II measures the purchase of replacement machines which are sprayer test compliant and the bringing of existing machines up to the required standard.

Indo Farming