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Bovine Fencing and Meal Bins TAMS 3 Options for Drystock Farmers

30 April 2024
Type Media Article

By Keith Fahy B & T Drystock Advisor, Teagasc, Galway/Clare

The last twelve months has been a year like no other with a number of individual months being the wettest on record. July in particular was recorded at 215% of the normal rainfall for the month. This wet weather played an integral role in creating tough and challenging conditions for both ‘man and beast’ throughout the past few months, with farmers having to buy record levels of meal and fodder. It is during this weather we appreciated the importance of having enough forage on farms and budgeting for unexpected turbulence along the way. With feeding more meal and looking for silage being two common activities among all farms, I decided to cover a little on the potential for farmers to obtain grants for bovine fencing and meal bins. By putting in more bovine fencing and splitting fields into better paddocks, farmers may operate a better rotational system when compared to set stocking. “Grow in three weeks and graze in 3 days” was a phrase that was instilled in us in UCD while learning about agriculture. While modernisation and technology are becoming more evident on farms, the basic principles have always been the same and always will be. Grazing rotationally will result in better live weight gains, better grass growth, utilisation and will inevitably allow farmers to bale excess surplus paddocks which is phenomenal feed for young stock and finishers during our ever longing winter periods.

Bovine Fencing

TAMS 3 (Targeted Agriculture Modernisation Scheme) is a follow on from TAMS 2. Sheep fencing was in TAMS 2 but bovine fencing wasn’t so it is a great addition to farmers to see this included. Farmers can apply for this on their own individual ag food account or via their agricultural planners’ agent account. All applications must be completed online. The application process is somewhat easy to do with a map of the field and a line drawn in where the proposed fence is to go along with the linear metres. There are reference costs on the system which will calculate the max you are entitled to receive. The grant is 40% for the majority of farmers or 60% for young trained farms. Planning permission in most cases will not be necessary but may be required or sought in special areas of conservation. A condition of the bovine fencing is that farmers must keep bovine stock for a minimum of 5 years post claiming grant. There are three sub sections in which farmers can apply for three different grants under the bovine fencing, these are €2.77/linear metre, €361/gateway and €634 per solar fencer. If the fencing supplies are less than the reference costs, the grant will be paid on the lower amount. Specifications can be sought in the terms and conditions for TAMS 3 on the Department of Agriculture Food and Marine website. A minimum of €2000 must be applied for when applying for the grant application. Farmers must be tax compliant and will need to show ownership details or a lease agreement on the lands where the proposed fencing is to take place. Farmers must also complete a half days TAMS training course which covers health and safety and related topics. Timber stakes and galvanised steel stakes are also becoming very popular. A large number of the farmers I deal with are putting down a lot of “Versalock” and “Clipex” steel stakes. Some of these possess a 30 years guarantee and can clip on or screw in insulators.

Meal Bins

Meal bins are also a very common application for drystock farmers in relation to the TAMS grant. This can also be found under the TAMS 3 AWSNS. There are two sub sections in the application for the meal bins which allow farmers to apply for a singular or a split meal bin. Split bins are popular amongst mixed farmers where beef and sheep nuts can be kept separate or indeed drystock farmers whereby young stock feed can be kept separate to finishing meal. There are different reference costs for both bins as the split bin is more expensive.

One area to be mindful of is the vat reclaim. There seems to have been changes in recent times in the revenue whereby vat had been reclaimable on meal bins but seems to have changed in the last number of months. The grant rate for the meal bins is also similar to the bovine fencing where a rate of 40% is attainable for farmers unless they are a young trained farmer; then they may qualify for the 60% rate. A farmyard sketch is required along with ownership detail or a lease agreement. It must also be noted that farmers should apply for a bin big enough or possibly slightly in excess of what they require in case they change their mind when purchasing the bin. The reason for this being that farmers can reduce the size of the bin once approval but cannot get a grant on a bin bigger than the approval size.

Applications must be applied in relation to metres cubed and not tonnes but all this is explained in further details on the Department of Agriculture’s Terms and Conditions page.