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TAMS fine detail poses issues for tillage farmers


IFA President, Joe Healy

IFA President, Joe Healy

IFA President, Joe Healy

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.

Another asked why grain stores qualified for funding and not the building of concrete aprons that would assist cereals handling.

However, the general reaction among farmers to the opening of the TAMS measures was positive.

IFA president Joe Healy welcomed the opening of a dedicated TAMS programme for investment in infrastructure, equipment and technology by tillage farmers. "The provision of targeted funding for investment by tillage farmers under the TAMS programme will enable growers to maintain competitiveness while reducing the sector's carbon and environmental footprint," Mr Healy said.

Meanwhile, Minister Creed encouraged tillage farmers to take advantage of the funding available under the measure.

"I would encourage all tillage farmers to examine the provisions of TAMS II.

"I am confident that this new measure will provide a strong platform for investments on tillage holdings," Minister Creed said.

An initial allocation of €26m is being made available to the tillage sector under the terms of the new measure over the full period of the Rural Development Programme to 2020.

All applications must be made online, with the closing date for applications under the first tranche being Friday, June 30.

Indo Farming