TAMS frustration

There is unfortunately no significant update or answers to the steady flow of queries received relating to TAMS III. Tranche two is currently open and there has been no closing date confirmed as yet for this tranche.

There have been no general approvals sanctioned for the various entry routes.

The latest update from the Department is that it is “currently assessing applications received in Tranche one” and “approvals are issuing to priority applications”.

It states approvals will then issue on a scheme-by-scheme basis, starting with the Solar Capital Investment Scheme”.

With regard to queries relating to the purchase of mobile equipment and submission of a payment claim, this is unfortunately not possible until approvals have been confirmed and the TAMS portal is in a position to accept relevant documentation. There are no forecast dates for when this will take place.

For queries regarding the purchase of mobile equipment applied for in Tranche one before official approval has been received, this is permitted.

Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue announced in early September that all eligible applications under Tranche one would receive approval.

Farmers who applied for mobile equipment may purchase the equipment now but at their own risk subject to verification of eligibility in accordance with the terms and conditions.

ACRES cover crops

The grazing of cover crops planted under the Agri-Climate Rural Environment Scheme (ACRES) differs significantly to crops sown under the Green Low-Carbon Agri-Environment Scheme. Crops sown in GLAS could be grazed after 1 December, and it is important to note that crops planted under ACRES must remain in-situ until after 1 January.

At such time crops can be lightly grazed or incorporated in to the soil. Intensive strip grazing or zero-grazing is not allowed under the scheme.

Teagasc webinar

Teagasc sheep specialists are hosting a webinar on Wednesday 13 December at 8pm. The ‘Let’s Talk Sheep’ webinar will discuss key aspects relating to the housing of sheep this winter, including housing management and feeding plans.

The webinar is free and those interested in viewing can register at teagasc.ie/letstalksheep.

SIS reference number

Last week’s column on the Sheep Improvement Scheme reference number triggered a couple of follow on questions. The reference number is the maximum number of sheep on which payment is based.

Ewe numbers can exceed the reference number but payment will not be increased beyond the reference number.

To achieve the maximum payment in 2024, the number of ewes recorded on the 2023 sheep census must be equal to or greater than your reference number.

For example – if your reference number is 100 ewes and you record 106 ewes on your sheep census, then there is the potential to receive payment on 100 ewes in 2024 provided this number is maintained.

If the same flock recorded 90 ewes on their 2023 sheep census then 90 becomes the reference number for 2024. This can be subsequently increased to 100 ewes for 2025, if recorded on the 2024 sheep census.

There is no further information relating to what farmers will need to do to receive the €8 per ewe payment announced in Budget 2024. It is likely that this will be paid separate to the SIS rather than as an increased SIS payment.