The TAMS II Tillage Capital Investment Scheme (TCIS) is drawing to a close this year. The scheme has facilitated the modernisation of many tillage farms, particularly grant aid for precision agriculture technologies such as GPS guidance, autosteer and section control equipment.

The last tranche opens for applications on 5 November. This week, Darren Carty runs through some key points to note when completing your application. Interest in TCIS remains high, with stiff competition for access to funding, so it’s important to be smart with your application and item costs.

Grant aid is payable at a rate of 40% up to a maximum of €80,000 per holding or €160,000 in the case of two or more eligible partners so this scheme is valuable.

So far some €17.5m has been given to over 1,000 applicants, with the most popular items being minimum disturbance tillage machinery, sprayers, GPS machinery control, fertiliser spreaders and pesticide reduction equipment in that order.

With TCIS set to wind down this year, the attention is turning to what will replace it. The Department’s strategic plan needs assessment document suggests one of the high-level priorities of the next CAP is to increase efficiency and competitiveness of farming including through on-farm investment and adoption of new technologies. So a follow-up to TAMS is likely.

It’s fitting that the key focus of the next TAMS is to improve the sustainability of the sector.

Sustainability can encompass everything from environmental aspects, to efficiencies and to farm financial viability. Some of the key items which would help to improve the sustainability of Irish tillage farms are explored.

Finally, as technology develops, so too do the rules and regulations which govern it. We also take a look at new rules for owning and operating a drone which came into effect at the start of this year.