The number of applications from farmers for the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS) in 2020 was the highest to date, writes Teagasc Buildings Specialist Tom Fallon.
Farm Building Contractors are likely to be very busy for the rest of the year. This is due to the loss of valuable time during the Covid-19 related restrictions, and the pending closure of TAMS at year-end.
There is valuable information on farm buildings for the industry on the Teagasc website. In particular, farmers will find the two-page document titled ‘Farm Buildings Project Delivery’ very useful.
The importance of health and safety cannot be overemphasised. It is a Health & Safety requirement to appoint project supervisors this needs to be fulfilled.
Farmers expect new farm buildings to last at least 40 years, it is therefore very important that they are done to a high standard. The one-page document ‘Cubicle Design Fact Sheet’ has invaluable information and is an effort to bring Irish Standards up to International best practise.
Farmers should move beyond the 2.1 metre (7 foot) cubicle size because it is just too small. It is advisable that farmers building slurry storage facilities provide extra capacity as a buffer over and above meeting minimum requirements.
The documents referred to above are available here in the Housing Design and Project Management section of the Teagasc website
Just because Farm Building Contractors are likely to be very busy, should not necessarily mean that construction costs will increase:
- The effect of Covid-19 on the farming sector is less severe compared to other parts of the economy. For the first time in years Agricultural Contractors have no difficulty in recruiting labour, so there is a movement of resources into farming. The latter and the severe recession in the wider economy will help to curtail farm building costs.
- The TAMS is very popular for farmers purchasing equipment like low emission slurry spreading equipment and dairy equipment because the application procedure is simpler than applying for a grant for a farm building. In fact the vast majority of farm construction is done without grant aid.
- The completion dates for TAMS will extend into 2022 so all building work can be done in an orderly fashion. Farmers should not rush to get work done or costs will inevitably increase.
- Recent entrants into dairying, in particular, are finding it a tough business. We are experiencing the second drought in three years. Tight and volatile margins mean there is no room for complacency in the cost of capital investment.