There is no justification for a mooted exclusion of dairy farmers with more than 120 cows from milking parlour funding under the new TAMS programme, says the Irish Farmers' Association (IFA).

IFA dairy chair Stephen Arthur described “indications” of the milking parlour funding exclusion as “very concerning”.

“Based on reports, it seems that the Department of Agriculture will prevent any dairy farmer with over 120 cows from applying for TAMS funding for new milking facilities from 2023.

“It makes no sense that the sector of Irish agriculture with the highest percentage of viable farmers is being singled out and prevented from getting grant aid to invest in their farm businesses,” he said.

Labour efficient

Arthur highlighted labour and energy efficiency as two of the main reasons a farmer may wish to put in a new milking parlour.

“Farmers investing in new milking facilities are doing so to make their farms more sustainable.

“It does not make sense to arbitrarily set a cow number and exclude all farmers over this. Many dairy farmers with over 120 cows have a number of family members involved, be they partners, parents, sons, daughters or siblings,” he said.

The IFA dairy chair called on Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and his Department officials to “reverse this decision”.

“It’s completely unfair and sends the completely wrong message to the hard-working dairy farm families across the country.”