Milking parlour generators will not be included in farm building grant scheme

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

Generators to power milking parlours during power outages will not be included in the Department of Agriculture’s farm building scheme.

Fine Gael Senator Tim Lombard has called the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme, known as TAMS II, include the generation capacity that is required for farmyards.

He said there was an anomaly in the system whereby generation capacity, which is required when or if there is an outage of power is not funded.

“In the middle of October this year, we had a weather event which was amazing in so many ways. The south west of Ireland was greatly affected.

“At one stage, 385,000 were without power. This included farms, businesses and the wider members of the public.

“The knock-on effect that had on the agricultural community was immense. There has been a large expansion in agriculture, particularly in the dairy herd. Over the last four years, the number of dairy cows has increased by 300,000 to 1.4 million.

“With such a large expansion, there has been a major increase in plant size and capacity. Milking parlours and bulk tanks have all been expanded. At the back of that, the one thing that has not increased is the generating capacity.

“The hardship that farmers and animals went through during this unfortunate weather event was immense. It took ten days for some of these areas to have power again.

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“There were situations where generators were being moved continuously in order that cows could be milked at least once a day,” he said.

However, Minister for State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle said at this point he is not in a position to add generators to the comprehensive list of investment items already approved under the suite of seven existing TAMS measures.

“ I do appreciate the logic behind the Senator's case, but I hope he will appreciate that until we know where we stand with the budget commitments, it is very difficult to commit to anything further.

Doyle highlighted that a total of €395 million has been allocated for the scheme yet there has seen a very low rate of claims for payments submitted so far amounting to €27.8 million, which is less than 10% of the full allocation.

“Until we get to that point, it will be difficult to commit, but it is intended that the money will be spent.

“In future, there may well be an opportunity to revise the scheme further,” he said.

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