Concerns are growing that grants for new dairy parlours and milking machines could be restricted in the next evolution of TAMS under the next Common Agricultural Policy (CAP).

The Irish Farmers Journalunderstands that the matter is being discussed at the Department of Agriculture and a core part of the issue is that new parlours are seen as dairy expansion – a hot topic at Government level as agriculture faces an uphill battle to reduce emissions under the climate action bill.

Tightening restrictions on dairy are already under way with a change to the latest TAMS tranche requiring evidence that farmers have adequate slurry and nutrient storage measures in place for specific investments, including milking machines, dairy structures, milk storage and cooling and in-parlour feeding systems.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue this week announced the long-awaited updated reference costs for TAMS.

As previously reported by the Irish Farmers Journal, building costs have gone up by as much as 30% over recent months, with many farmers feeling that TAMS costings did not match up to the prices they were paying.

Comparing the reference costs to those published on 17 April 2021 shows the general increase in costings has been in the region of 10%.

This applies to the construction of animal housing and collecting yards, milking parlour and dairy. The allowance for direct constructional work completed by an applicant or an applicant’s family member has also increased by 10%, or €1.40 per hour, and now stands at €14.85.

Some components of cattle handling equipment including a semi-automatic skulling gate and a race have received a 15% increase in costing, while a mobile cattle crush has had its reference cost increase by 20% or €313.60 to reach €1,881.60.

Other components such as penning, gates, barriers, etc, have increased by 10%.

The only element of sheep handling equipment to receive a 10% increase in costings is a fixed unit, with costs for mobile equipment unchanged.

The standard cost for sheep fencing has increased by 80c/m or 15% to reach €6.14/m. The cost for mountain sheep fencing and gateways remains unchanged, however.