The Department of Agriculture has released figures on the breakdown of TAMS III applications amid an ever-growing frustration with farmers yet to receive acceptance and the ability to commence work or the majority of the 8,203 applications.

When questioned last week by Michael Ring TD, Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue stated: "TAMS III has proved very popular, with an unprecedented level of applications received (almost four times the average number received per tranche under TAMS II).

"Applications received across all of the measures in tranche one are currently being processed. Once the initial processing is completed, all applications will be subject to a ranking and selection process, which is a regulatory requirement for all TAMS III applications."

The Minister also highlighted that priority approval has been given to some farmers for urgent animal welfare-related investments, as well as slurry and manure storage, with the Minister commenting that "processing of these priority applications is ongoing and approvals have issued to a number of eligible applicants."

Breakdown of applications

Cork had by far the highest volume of applications under tranche one of the scheme, with 1,171 of the total applications coming from the county to total 14% of all applications.

Galway had the second-highest volume, with 682 applications for TAMS III investments, with Tipperary close behind at 652 applications.

The three counties combined total 30.5% of all applications.

Dublin had by far the lowest volume of applications at 25, with Louth being the only other county to have application numbers below 100.

As expected, the highest level of applications per scheme has been for the Animal Welfare and Nutrient Storage Scheme (AWNSS), which covers the vast majority of animal housing, slurry storage and silage storage. Some 2,505 applications were made under the AWNSS.

The newly introduced Farm Safety Capital Investment Scheme (FSCIS) - with its higher grant rate of 60% - has proven extremely popular among farmers, with one quarter of applications under tranche one being made to this scheme.

The FSCIS covers a variety of investments, including both permanent and fixed sheep and cattle handling facilities, replacement of old slats and the extension of tanks to allow for agitation points to be located outside of sheds.

The Pig and Poultry Investment Scheme (PPIS) has proven the least popular scheme, with just 49 applications received. Of these, 25 of the applications were from Monaghan farmers, with a further 10 coming from neighbouring Cavan.