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Independent.ie

Wednesday 22 November 2017

Farmers can now get grants for grass measuring equipment

Tim Fitzgerald and his daughter Bronagh do the weekly grass measuring on the family farm at Ballyroan, Co Laois. Photo: Alf Harvey/HR Photos.
Tim Fitzgerald and his daughter Bronagh do the weekly grass measuring on the family farm at Ballyroan, Co Laois. Photo: Alf Harvey/HR Photos.
FarmIreland Team

FarmIreland Team

Funding for precision grass measuring equipment has recently been added to the list of items available for grant aid through Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Schemes (TAMS)  under the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, the Animal Welfare Nutrient and Storage Scheme and the Organic Scheme.

Equipment that is eligible for funding includes both a grass plate meter, or similar grass pole measuring instrument, and the accompanying system hardware.

The reference cost per unit is set at €950, meaning young farmers that qualify for the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme, can receive a grant up to €570. Additionally, applicants must have a software compatible smart device (phone or tablet) when purchasing equipment.

Macra na Feirme strongly lobbied for funding for grass measuring equipment as a means of incentivising young farmers to improve accuracy in measuring grass. 

As part of the 2017 pre-budget submission, Macra na Feirme campaigned for funding to be made available to all young farmers to purchase grass measuring equipment.

The inclusion of funding for grass measuring equipment comes at a time when many Irish farms are not reaching their grass growth potential.

Macra na Feirme National President James Healy welcomed the addition of grass measuring equipment to the statutory instruments of TAMS adding, "I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Department of Agriculture."

Recent Teagasc publications suggest that only 50% of Irish farms are reaching their grass growth potential.

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Encouraging better grass growth and utilisation will help to reduce feed bills by increasing the proportion of grass in an animal’s diet and allow young farmers better resistance to the volatility of grain and livestock prices.

Healy said "Grass is the cheapest feedstuff for livestock farmers and it is crucial young farmers take advantage of this funding to improve their farm’s grass growth potential. Measuring grass provides invaluable performance information, improves decision making and is something I would advocate all young farmers to do on their farms."

James Healy also highlighted that through its Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet, it provides grass measuring courses in our Grass for Cash events.

"I invite anyone looking to master the skill of grass measuring to attend our ‘Turning Grass into Cash Farm Walk’ taking place on the 20th of July," Healy said.


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