€10m in funding announced for on-farm solar panels and LED lights
From the next TAMS tranche onwards, farmers will be able to receive grant aid to install solar PV panels and will be required to install all-LED lighting.

As part of the next tranche of TAMS, €10m worth of grants will be available to all farmers for solar PV installation and LED lighting.

The new measures were announced by Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed following a review of TAMS, which was designed to increase its focus on sustainability.

The grants will be available to farmers when the next tranche of TAMS opens on 5 April.

Investments

The TAMS funding available to pig and poultry farmers for solar PV installation will be extended to all sectors.

Grant aid in this initial pilot phase will be up to €9,300 or up to 60% of the overall cost to fund a 6kW solar system.

Energy generated will solely be for agricultural use on the farm

All lighting funded under TAMS will be required to be LED lighting, uses a fraction of the electricity consumed by conventional lighting.

The current specifications for TAMS II include lighting in all new farm structures. In future, only LED lighting only will now be grant aided.

Credentials

Minister Creed commented: “The [TAMS II] review factored in the latest available technologies to further drive energy efficiency at farm level and reduce electricity use on farms.

"This is part of the wider drive to position Irish agriculture as a global leader in sustainability and these investments will further enhance those credentials.”

The Minister said he had listened to Irish farmers on the issue and their enthusiasm to invest in on-farm renewable technology.

He added that any new or emerging technologies would continue to be monitored with a view to their inclusion in future tranches if feasible.

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Renewable support to materialise in 2019

The farmer's daily wrap: farm fatality, African swine fever and bees
Here is your news round-up of the five top farming stories and weather outlook for Saturday 24 May.

Weather forecast

Met Éireann has said that it will be rather cloudy at first on Saturday, with patches of light rain or drizzle, mainly affecting the western half of the country.

Cloud is forecast to start to break later in the morning, with spells of sunshine for the afternoon and evening.

However, Atlantic coastal areas will remain quite dull and damp.

It looks set to be a humid day, with top temperatures ranging from 16°C to 20°C in light to moderate southwesterly breezes.

In the news

  • There is a mixed bag of weather ahead for the weekend, with showers, sunshine and highs of 20°C.
  • Minister warning to holiday-makers over African swine fever: “Don’t bring back your sandwich; don’t bring back your salami.”
  • A man in his 60s has died following an accident on a farm in Aughnacliffe, Co Longford.
  • Just 207t of skimmed milk powder (SMP) remains in the EU’s intervention measure.
  • And Irish citizens are being asked to report sightings of bees in a nationwide online survey.
  • Coming up this Saturday

  • Good week/bad week.
  • Free trailer marking against theft.
  • The latest from Newford Farm.
    Three-man race for ICSA president
    The Irish Cattle and Sheep Association (ICSA) will elect a new president in June.

    Three candidates are in the running to become the next president of the ICSA following the close of nominations on Friday evening.

    In alphabetical order, these candidates are as follows:

  • Hugh Farrell, Cavan.
  • Dermot Kelleher, Cork west.
  • Edmond Phelan, Waterford.
  • The election will take place in Portlaoise on the evening of Thursday 27 June.

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    Watch: vegetable growers turn on the irrigation systems
    O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming have both turned on the irrigation pumps this week.

    In order to combat dry conditions, O’Shea Farms and Hughes Farming were irrigating crops this week.

    Julian Hughes says he has never irrigated as early as May before and that he has two reels out at the moment, but will be putting another two out next week if there is no rain in the meantime.

    “We have a 30mm soil moisture deficit,” he said.

    “The fear of a repeat of 2018 is palpable in the yard at home, there’s dust everywhere.”

    In a normal year, he said that he would irrigate the crops in July and August.

    But so far he has put 30mm on parsnips and followed up five days later with another 30mm.

    “You could ask are we selecting higher-yielding varieties that need more inputs. But I’m using the same variety with the last 20 years.

    "It’s just very dry. We need 50mm over three days to get things balanced up.”

    Agronomist with O’Shea farms Tom Murray said that it would be normal for them to be irrigating at this time of year. They grow carrots in Piltown and Carrick-on-Suir.

    “We’re putting on 12mm to 15mm, not any more than that. We don’t want to wash away any pre-emergence spray,” Tom said.

    “There has been years before when we needed to irrigate to encourage germination. But the soil is starting to dry out and we want to be ahead of it.”

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    Fields drying up as some farmers wait for rain

    Flood risk farmers urged to make submissions

    Crops remain in good condition but have become more variable