Dung spreaders, bale slices, potato planters, slurry separators, aerators and inlet macerators are all new additions to the newly launched Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS III). However, the big news is that the scheme now excludes dribble bars, and instead only includes trailing shoe and shallow disc injection attachments.

Farmers, farmer representatives and manufacturers have reacted with huge discontent to the exclusion of dribble bars, saying they were the only LESS application method suitable for many parts of the country where soil conditions or slopes are more difficult.

The Irish Farmers Journal understands this has prompted meetings between the Department of Agriculture and the FTMTA (The Farm Tractor and Machinery Trade Association), the industry trade representative, with meetings scheduled to take place this week.

Department sources have told the Irish Farmers Journal, that its decision is not final and that the door remains open to include dribble bar attachments pending the outcome of further Irish research regarding ammonia emissions compared to trailing shoe equipment.

All farmers can now avail of 60% grant aid on Low Emission Slurry Spreading Equipment Scheme (LESS) up to a ceiling of €90,000 under TAMS III.

Slurry equipment

Under the Low-Emission Slurry Spreading Scheme (LESS), the dropping of dribble bars has seen the retro-fitting of trailing shoes added in for the first time. These units have a reference cost of y = 1784x + 7955. For example, a typical 7.5m unit would have a reference cost of €21,335.

Slurry tankers and umbilical systems continue to be grant aided when fitted with a LESS system, now only being either a trailing shoe or a disc injection system. Raw slurry tankers are calculated on their size in litres (y = 2.35x – 6001). So, a 2,000-gallon tanker (9,092 litres) would have a reference cost of €15,365.

An inlet chopper fitted to a new or retrofitted to a used tanker has been added, with a reference cost of €3,500. The fitting of a flow meter to a new or existing tanker has also been added, with a reference cost of €3,251. Based on the wording in the TAMS document, flow meters will not be grant aided to be fitted to umbilical systems, which is a huge shame as this is where they are arguably most required with such a high flow rate of slurry. Hydraulic motors to substitute PTO shafts continue to be included, at a reference cost of €1,520.

The investment ceiling on the LESS kit has surprisingly increased from €40,000, right the way up to €90,000 under TAMS III. In addition, it is now grant aided at 60% for all applicants, and continues to be separate from other schemes.

For the first time, slurry separators and dung spreaders have been added to the listing. Screw press separators have been included with reference costs quoted in m3 per hour throughput, at y = 20.146x + 30875. The grant aiding of rear discharge dung spreaders ties in with a focus on promoting environmentally friendly practices and encouraging farmers to recycle organic nutrients. However, the exact specification and technology required, such as Isobus, weigh cells or a rate controller, which has a €10,000 to €14,000 bearing on price, has yet to be announced. The reference costs on these machines will be calculated in m3 (y = 3202.7x + 6766). For example, a 10t (9.6m3) rear discharge machine would have a reference cost of €37,511.92.

Bale slices with plastic removing attachments have been added for the first time.

Farm Safety Capital Investment Scheme (FSCIS)

Under the Farm Safety Capital Investment Scheme (FSCIS) element of TAMS III, bale slices with plastic-removing attachments have been added for the first time, and have a reference cost of €3,535 per unit. Wheel changing equipment also falls under FSCIS, and includes a wheel changing crate (€1,127.28) and a wheel pumping crate, either as a manual pumping €862.40/unit or as a fully automatic unit with a reference cost of €11,051.04.

Animal Welfare Safety and Nutrient Storage Scheme (AWNSS)

Under pasture management, aerators, mulchers, seed broadcasters and grass harrows have been included. Reference costs include: mounted soil aerator €1,841.60/linear metre, trailed soil aerator €4,139/linear metre, mounted mulcher €2,893.85/linear metre, seed broadcaster to mount on cultivator €4,259/unit, pneumatic seed broadcaster with seed distribution pipes to mount on cultivator €6,982/unit and a spring tine grass/straw harrow €1,263.93/linear metre.

Under pasture management, aerators, mulchers, seed broadcasters and grass harrows have been included.

Fertiliser spreaders once again fall under the scheme, with mounted and trailed GPS ready units qualifying. Mounted spreaders have a reference cost in litres, with y = 1.224x + 16286. Meanwhile, trailed units are referenced at €73,920/unit.

Potato planters have been included for the first time.

Biomass equipment now also fall under the AWNSS scheme, and includes a drying shed and wood/biomass PTO-driven chipper, with a reference cost of y = 41.846x + 31115, m3 per hour.

Tillage Capital Investment Scheme (TCIS)

The listing on cultivators and drills remains the same under the updated TCIS, with a focus on minimum disturbance, with PTO-driven equipment not permitted.

It includes disc stubble cultivators (mounted and trailed), tine stubble cultivators (mounted and trailed), combined tine and disc cultivators (trailed and mounted), min till tine and disc drills (trailed and mounted), direct drills and strip till drills (seed only or seed and fertiliser).

Some samples include €31,352 for a 3m trailed disc stubble cultivator (y = 3012x + 22316/linear metre), €43,364.4 for a 3m mounted min till tine and disc drill (y = 9491.8x + 14871/linear metre), €48,179.70 for a 3m direct drill (y = 4887.9x + 33516/linear metre) and €75,263.6 for a 3m strip till drill (seed and fertiliser) with a reference cost of y = 6294.2x + 56381/linear metre).

More options have been included under the ‘Pesticide Reduction’ banner, such as mounted mulchers (€2,893.85/linear metre), inter row cultivators (€3,748.50/linear metre), inter-row laser guidance weeder hoe systems (€19,329.36/linear metre) and weather stations (€1,500/unit).

Mounted, trailed and self-propelled GPS controlled sprayers continue to be included. Reference costs are per litre, with mounted (y = 21.679x + 10820) and trailed (y = 15.41x + 15124) options. Self-propelled sprayers have a reference cost of €250,000/unit.

Under combine attachments, pea headers (€9,317/linear metre), harvest weed seed control attachments (€5,000/unit) and straw choppers for combines (€14,500/unit) have been included.

Under crop handling, 1t bag fillers with weigh cells (loader attachment) have a reference cost of €5,780/unit, while beet cleaners are included (tonne per hour y = 2420.6x – 37608).

Spring tine grass/straw harrows (€1,263.93/linear metre) and chain harrows (€339.27/linear metre) are available under minimum disturbance tillage (PTO equipment not permitted).

Potato equipment has seen a considerable jump in qualifying equipment, particularly in terms of planting kit. Potato planters (€25,000/row), potato planter chemical applicators (€9,000/unit), specialised fertiliser applicators for potatoes (€15,000/unit), eco tillers (€14,500/unit), bed tillers (€11,166/unit) and destoners (€52,000/row) have all been included.

Spring tine grass/straw harrows have been included.

In terms of potato harvesting, haulm toppers have now also been added (y = 5197.5x + 2919/linear metre). Under potato handling, a box filler (€35,000/unit), a retail bag filler (up to 20kg bags) (€83,000/unit) and a box tipper (loader attachment) (€6,500/unit) have all been included.

Organic Capital Investment Scheme (OCIS)

Once again, organic farmers have been treated to a host of machine options under the OCIS scheme. This includes mowers, toppers, mulchers, straw choppers, rakes and tedders.

Same sample reference costs include €2,722.29/linear metre for mounted mowers with no conditioner, €5,337.58/linear metre for mounted mowers with a conditioner, €6,565.15/linear metre for a trailed mower (with/without conditioner), €19,431.43/unit for a trailed straw blower, €2,663.13/linear metre for rakes and €1,370.83/linear metre for tedders.

Both side-discharge and rear-discharge dung spreaders qualify under the OCIS, while so do slurry pumps and agitators (€5,017.92/item), front loaders (€7,817.25/item), dung forks (€699.30/linear metre), bucket grabs (€1,428.78/linear metre), aerators, pneumatic seed broadcasters and spring tine harrows (all carry same ref cost as mentioned above under AWNSS). Chain harrows are exclusive to the OCIS scheme, and have a reference cost of €339.27/linear metre.

The exact specification and technology required on rear discharge dung spreader has yet to be announced.

Under the organic horticultural/tillage machinery section, a whole host of cultivators and weeders are covered. The offering includes inter-row cultivators (€3,748.50/linear metre), flame weeders (€3,269.70/linear metre), brush weeders (€3,591/linear metre), rotary cultivator weeders (€2,525.67/linear metre), combcut weeders (€2,997.91/linear metre), and inter-row laser guidance weeder hoe systems (€19,329.36/linear metre).

Investment ceilings

As mentioned, the investment ceiling on the LESS equipment has increased to €90,000 and is grant aided at 60% for all applicants, and continues to be separate from other schemes. The investment ceiling across the AWNSS, TCIS, FSCIS and OCIS scheme, which covers all remaining machinery investments mentioned, has also been capped €90,000.

Sixty per cent grant aid is available for the Young Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (YFCIS), the Women Farmer Capital Investment Scheme (WFCIS), the Organic Farming Capital Investment Scheme and the Farm Safety Capital Investment Scheme (FCIS).

We are still waiting on many details from the Department such as scheme opening dates and the ranking and selection criteria published in the terms and conditions, which assess the chances of receiving approval.

It’s important to note that works cannot start, or equipment cannot be purchased until the Department of Agriculture approval has been granted.