The current Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS), which is extended to the end of 2022, offers farmers grant aid funding to buy a GPS fertiliser spreader for their farm.
The list of machines which are covered under this scheme was updated in August 2021 and is available in specification S.195A on the Department of Agriculture website.
The fertiliser spreaders covered under the scheme are controlled automatically by a GPS unit.
This means that the fertiliser application rate set by the operator is automatically controlled and the machine will adjust to compensate for the flow rate of different fertilisers, the working width and the forward speed of the tractor.
Basically, the machine is constantly recalibrating itself to ensure that the spread rate is maintained. The GPS unit will also reduce the flow of fertiliser when coming into narrow ground, reducing any overspread and saving on fertiliser.
One of the big advantages of these machines is the automatic on/off control at the headland.
The reduction in fertiliser use here gives a considerable saving
Most operators turn on their fertiliser spreader much too soon after turning on the headland. With GPS control, the spreader is turned on at the right time, every time.
The reduction in fertiliser use here gives a considerable saving and is actually more of an advantage to farmers with smaller fields. This is because in smaller fields you will meet a headland turn more often - as a result, you will see a bigger benefit.
You can purchase the GPS control system separately to the GPS spreader, so you can buy a GPS-ready spreader from one dealer and a GPS controller from another, so shop around for a good deal. You will need both to qualify for the grant.
It is a good idea to make sure the GPS unit will allow you to control other machines in the future, so it can be used on more than just the fertiliser spreader.
Also get a unit which is user friendly and easy to operate, and also easy to move from one tractor to another. This will make it easier if you have to change driver or change the tractor.