'Brexit is probably easier to figure out': Tillage farmers view of new TAMS scheme

Tom Tierney on his 270ac tillage farm in Prosperous, Co Kildare Photo: Denis Boland
Tom Tierney on his 270ac tillage farm in Prosperous, Co Kildare Photo: Denis Boland
Photo: PA
Helen Harris

Helen Harris

We went to a meeting regarding TAMS and I think the Brexit negotiations will be easier to understand.

I know I'm not the brightest button in the box but this points systems seems to make something very straight forward very complicated.

I understand that the Department are trying to make it as fair as possible for everyone

applying but, as a farmer, it is very difficult to understand the need for such a complicated system.

To give the Department some credit the online application system seems to be very user friendly.

But the end of the story for us, is that we have gone from thinking that we could take this opportunity to change a machine, to believing we won't qualify for 40pc of the cost or even near it.

The machinery prices have gone up and as a result of TAMS the second-hand value of machines has plummeted.

Because we are over 40 and the machine prices we are looking at are too dear, it's not worth our while.

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We would be better off waiting a year or two and buying a second-hand machine rather than buy an overpriced new one, that we cant get a grant on.

It seems that with every scheme the Government comes out with to help farmers, at a difficult time, other parties figure out some way of taking the bulk of the funding back from the farmers.

Even the fact that I have done a health and safety course isn't enough - Phil will have to do one if he applies, which of course, is another cost.

On the farm

Eventually we got the beans in. We thought we ran late last year and we ended up even later this year.

Every time we thought there was a break in the weather, we got another shower of rain.

We used our McConnell shakerator to cultivate one of our fields of winter wheat last year rather than ploughing.

It is looking really good so we decided to try again with the beans. We were worried that it wouldn't break up the soil enough and we need to run the disk over it to get a better tilth but it worked a treat. We went with the same variety, Fuego, as we had last year and we went with 212kg per hectare. We need to keep an eye on the crows as they can decimate a crop very quickly.

The rest of the crops are looking well after a good feed of fertiliser. The oilseed rape is already starting to flower and turn the field bright yellow.

We are watching out for the pollen beetle as it is a pest at this time of the year. They can damage the small buds on the plant, whereas later in the year they are a benefit as they help with pollination.

The headland of the field is still struggling with compaction with fewer, smaller plants.

The main body of the field got 140 units of nitrogen but the headland got 180 to try and get it going.

The whole crop also got Wolftrax boron and 1 litre per ha of Prosaro to control light leaf spot and help with growth regulation.

The winter wheat has benefited from four bags of 10.5.25 + 2S where it got chicken litter, and 10.8.20 + 2S where it didn't. Soil samples were taken to match the compounds used. It has also gotten 40 units of nitrogen.

The winter barley has received 70 units of nitrogen, 40 from compound 10.5.25 +2S and 30 from urea (40pc N). It will get a growth regulator as soon as we can at 1.25 litres per hectare.

We still have to get spring barley and oats sown and the mixed weather really isn't helping.

Philip and Helen Harris are tillage farmers in Co Kildare. Follow them on twitter P&H Harris @kildarefarmer.

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