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The next 6 months will be very busy for Farm Buildings

Applications under the latest tranche of the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), operated by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, closed last Friday 5th June. The level of interest among farmers and the number of applications was the highest to date.

The next 6 months will be very busy for Farm Buildings

Tom Fallon Teagasc Farm Buildings Specialist said; “Farm Building Contractors are likely to be very busy for the rest of the year due to the loss of valuable time during the Covid-19 related restrictions, and the pending closure of TAMS at year end.”

Teagasc is providing valuable information on Farm Buildings to the industry on its public website. In particular farmers will find the two page document titled ‘Farm Buildings Project Delivery’ very useful. Tom Fallon reminds farmers that the Health & Safety requirement to appoint Project Supervisors needs to be fulfilled.  https://www.teagasc.ie/rural-economy/farm-management/farm-buildings/animal-housing/housing-design-information/

The one page document ‘Cubicle Design Fact Sheet’ has invaluable information and is an effort to bring Irish Standards up to International best practise. Tom Fallon encourages farmers to move beyond the 2.1 metre (7 foot) cubicle because it is just too small. Farmers expect new farm buildings to last at least 40 years so it is important that they are done to a high standard. He also advised that farmers building slurry storage facilities need to provide extra capacity as a buffer over and above meeting minimum requirements.

Tom Fallon argues that just because Farm Building Contractors are likely to be very busy, should not necessarily mean that construction costs will increase:

  • The effect of Covid-19 on the farming sector is less severe compared to other parts of the economy. For the first time in years Agricultural Contractors have no difficulty in recruiting labour, so there is a movement of resources into farming. The latter and the severe recession in the wider economy will help to curtail farm building costs.
  • The TAMS is very popular for farmers purchasing equipment like low emission slurry spreading equipment and dairy equipment, because the application procedure is simpler than applying for a grant for a farm building. In fact the vast majority of farm construction is done without grant aid.
  • The completion dates for TAMS will extend into 2022 so all building work can be done in an orderly fashion. Farmers should not rush to get work done or costs will inevitably increase.
  • Recent entrants into dairying, in particular are finding it a tough business. We are experiencing the second drought in three years. Tight and volatile margins mean there is no room for complacency in the cost of capital investment.