TAMS fine detail poses issues for tillage farmers
Strong farmer interest has been reported in the new TAMS II tillage measures, but some in the sector claim access to finance and the high cost of the actions listed could limit uptake.
Last week, Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed announced the launch of the new specialised tillage measure under TAMS II.
The specific areas of investment include min-till cultivation equipment, sprayers, rainwater harvesting, grain storage and grain driers.
Tipperary-based agricultural consultant, PJ Phelan, said he had received a number of enquiries to date from farmers who are looking at sprayers, or fitting GPS systems to tractors and fertiliser spreaders.
He said tillage farmers were keen to take advantage of the 40pc grants on offer under TAMS, but access to finance would be an issue for many in the sector.
Phelan pointed out that cereal growers had endured "three very tough years", where margins had been severely hit by extremely low prices.
The popularity of hire purchase and long-term leasing as the preferred means of funding new machinery acquisitions would also work against uptake of the TAMS grants, Mr Phelan predicted, as only outright purchases qualify for the scheme.
One midlands cereal grower questioned why the emphasis was put on purchasing new machinery, such as sprayers, rather than grant aiding the upgrade of existing machinery.