A total of €16.6m was paid out to farmers during 2021 for low-emission slurry spreading (LESS) equipment under TAMS II, figures from the Department of Agriculture to the end of last year show.

In total, 2,700 payments were made during 2021, equating to the total figure of approximately €16.6m. This is a 12.7% (305) increase on the 2,395 applications paid throughout 2020, when just over €15.8m was paid out.

To date, since LESS equipment became available in 2015 under TAMS II for grant aid, a total of 8,058 applications have been paid out on, which equates to approximately €55.3m.

It is worth noting that a total of 3,778 applications were received for 2021, of which 2,700 were paid out. We suspect the notable number of 1,078 unpaid applications for the period might boil down to two main factors.

Firstly, undoubtedly there was a cohort of farmers that applied for the grant aid but had not fully decided to make the investment before the year end. Secondly, the ongoing long lead times experienced in the sector are driven by demand, with component and material shortages also having a big effect.

650 retrofit dribble bars were grant aided in 2021.

For 2021, the trend continued, with the largest uptake being for new slurry tankers fitted with a LESS attachment. Out of 991 new slurry tankers grant aided, 67.5% (669) were fitted with a dribble bar while 32.4% (321) were fitted with a trailing shoe. Interestingly, of these, 991 new slurry tankers 0.1% (one unit) were fitted with a shallow disc injection attachment.

Only one new tanker grant aided out of 991 was fitted with a shallow disc injection system.

Dribble bars remain the only retrofit solution available through TAMS II, with grant aid paid out on 650 units for the period.

The number of umbilical systems subsidised remain lower, with 23 applications paid out on.

Farmers operating above the standard nitrogen cut-off limit of 170kg organic nitrogen per hectare and remaining outside of derogation by means of slurry export have up until 15 April 2022 to avail of grant aid on LESS equipment.