The TAMS III Animal Welfare and Nutrient Storage Scheme (AWNSS) was opened by the Department of Agriculture on Tuesday 28 March, five days after the Minister for Agriculture announced its opening on Thursday last.

The AWNSS is the largest scheme falling under the umbrella of TAMS, covering 168 individual eligible items for grant aid.

The scheme will cover all types of eligible housing for sheep and cattle, as well as fencing and handling for the above.

Other new items to TAMS III that are now open under the AWNSS are herd fertility monitors (cow collars or boluses), cattle underpasses, farm roadways and solar water pumps.

The scheme will also cover investments in silage pits, including new pits and repairs to existing pits, as well as all relevant investments in slurry storage.

Marking scheme

Farmers who did not avail of any TAMS II aid will benefit in the form of being awarded 20 marks in the marking scheme.

The marking scheme is based off farmer age, farm size, area of natural constraint (ANC) area, nitrates figures and aid awarded under TAMS II, with the higher marks being leaned towards farmers under 40, smaller farms with high ANC areas and low organic kg nitrogen/ha.

The higher the marks a farmer receives, the more likely they will be successful in their application.

The AWNSS also covers new equine investments, with the Department confirming last week that a minimum of three equines registered on the census is required to be eligible to avail of grant aid for equine accommodation.

Training facilities such as gallops and lunging areas are also now open for application.

See more in this week's Irish Farmers Journal.