With maize crops costing up to €1,000/ac to grow, will merchants and the banks be willing to finance the Tillage Incentive Scheme (TIS)?

It was an issue discussed on the most recent edition of the Tillage Edge Podcast.

Teagasc’s Shay Phelan made it very clear that many farmers wishing to convert grassland into tillage areas over the coming weeks, will have to have that all-important discussion with their bank and/or local merchant.

He stated: “There is a possibility of offsetting future feed bills against the cost of growing crops under the auspices of TIS in 2022.

“Another option is that of restructuring loans. However, this should be done on the basis of the money being frontloaded at the beginning of the year.

“We did carry out a survey a few weeks ago, which indicated that 60% of farmers did not see finance being an issue when it comes to growing crops under TIS.”

Converting grassland for Tillage Incentive Scheme

Teagasc is strongly advising farmers to burn off existing grassland with glyphosate; the recommended application rate is 3.5L/ha.

Shay Phelan said:

“Ground should be left for up to 10 days before ploughing or cultivating takes place.”

In fields with low phosphate (P) and potash (K) indices, Teagasc is advising that both plant nutrients should be included in the seed bed, along with some nitrogen (N).

Tillage specialist, Ciaran Collins explained: “This approach is very useful. Crop choice also plays a role. Oats e.g., can be a little bit more forgiving than spring barley in a low fertility site.

“If it’s for one year only, farmers may come out the right side as it is a little bit better with oats.

“But irrespective of the crop grown, farmers need to be very sure of their market. Farmers using the crop themselves will have no problem in this regard.

“However, oats aren’t always that easy to sell at harvest,” he added.


Where the addition of lime is concerned, Collins confirmed that it should be put out on top of the ploughed ground.

“This is because its impact will be needed directly adjacent to the growing crop,” he explained.

“If this approach is taken, the reactive part of the lime will be available immediately. The rate of lime application is also important – applications of up to 3t/ac should only be considered at any one time.

“Application rates above this threshold run the risk of locking up manganese.

“Livestock farmers can also make excellent use of available farmyard manures and slurries. These must be ploughed-in as soon as possible after application for maximum effect,” he stated.