Tillage boost: Protein Aid Scheme set to continue

The Protein Aid Scheme – which was worth almost €3 million to tillage farmers in 2017 – is set to continue this year, the Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Andrew Doyle, announced today.

Speaking at the Teagasc National Tillage Conference, he said: “I wish to confirm that the scheme will continue in some form in 2018.

“I can’t give you the details; but it will be finalised in the next couple of weeks and will be included in the Basic Payment Scheme documentation that will be issued shortly.”

The scheme was introduced as a coupled support as part of the implementation of the reformed Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) package in Ireland.

Since its introduction in 2015, the scheme has been an important support for farmers growing beans, peas and lupins. These crops provide important environmental benefits, along with an indigenous source of protein for animal feed.

Last year, the payment rate under the scheme was set at €215/ha and almost 1,200 farmers applied.

TAMS update

Minister Doyle also gave an update on the TAMS (Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme), adding: “It includes capital investment measures that will assist the sector by supporting the use of the most modern and efficient equipment and facilities to enable the tillage farmer to improve in his/her competitiveness.

“Specific areas of investment include: minimal disturbance tillage equipment; sprayers; rain water harvesting; grain storage; and grain driers.”

Under the tillage-specific scheme, he said, 638 farmers have been approved. 97 applicants have submitted payment claims, which total just under €1 million. This figure excludes young tillage farmers, who can apply for a higher rate of funding under the scheme.