Since January 2021, farmers interested in purchasing new calf-rearing equipment could apply for grant aid under TAMS II.
The inclusion of calf-rearing equipment under TAMS followed on from the period where calf feeding and rearing equipment was funded through a standalone grant scheme called the Calf Investment Scheme.
While this original scheme funded a range of equipment, TAMS now only funds two items of calf feeding equipment; computerised calf feeders and a milk cart with mixer.
Reference costs have remained unchanged since the original Calf Investment Scheme was announced in February 2020.
The reference costs, excluding VAT for a computerised calf feeder, is €7,541 plus €1,535 per feed station. So the reference costs for a two-station computerised feeder is €10,610, while the reference cost for a four station feeder is €13,680.
The reference cost for a milk cart with mixer is €185, plus €6.55 for every litre of capacity in the tanker.
These reference costs are the ceiling on which grant aid can be claimed. Even if the equipment purchased costs more than these reference costs, the reference costs are what the Department of Agriculture will use to determine the rate of grant aid.
Under TAMS II, the maximum rate of grant aid is 40%, or 60% in the case of a young trained farmer. If the cost of the items comes in lower than the reference costs, then the grant will be paid at a rate based on the lower costs.
The maximum investment ceiling under TAMS II is €80,000 per individual or €160,000 in the case of a registered farm partnership with two or more partners.
While this ceiling won’t be hit when claiming under calf-rearing equipment, it could be hit if prior TAMS funding was claimed.
The exception to this is where funding was claimed under the Low Emission Slurry Scheme as investment under this scheme doesn’t count towards the investment ceiling.
The minimum amount of investment which is eligible for grant aid is €2,000. As many milk carts will fall under this, it may be necessary to apply for more than one item when filling in the application.
However, it’s important to highlight that if using an agent to apply for the TAMS II grant, it could cost up to €400 to get the application in, which will obviously have a big effect on the value of any grant.
If a two-station computerised calf feeder costs, say, €10,000 excluding VAT, it falls below the reference cost so a 40% grant can be claimed, meaning the net cost to the farmer of installing the feeder will be €6,000 excluding VAT.
If a four-station feeder costs €16,000 excluding VAT, the farmer can claim a maximum grant of €5,472, meaning the total cost of installing the feeder will be €10,528. In this instance, the cost of the machine is higher than the reference cost of €13,680.
If a 170-litre milk cart with mixer costs €1,500 including VAT and the farmer qualifies for a 40% grant, the most that can be claimed is €462. This is because the reference cost for this type of machine is €1,299, excluding VAT, but the actual cost of the machine is €1,155, excluding VAT at 23%. Therefore, the grant can only be claimed on the lower amount, which is 40% of €1,155. In this case, the VAT cannot be reclaimed as it’s not a fixed item.