Grant of up to 40% for vacuum and milk pumps

A grant scheme which has paid over €1m to dairy farmers in the last three years has been re-launched.

The funding, for energy efficient dairy farm equipment, re-opened this week, with up to €500,000 available for high-efficiency vacuum and milk pumps which can save the average farmer €1,440 in energy bills, and reduce a farm’s carbon emissions by 1.6 tonnes annually.

Up to 40% of total technology and installation costs may be covered by grant aid. The technologies included in the scheme include variable speed drive (VSD) vacuum pumps, and VSD milk pumps.

The scheme is administered through the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI), which is funded by the Government of Ireland through the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, where Minister Richard Bruton said it is vital that every sector seek ways to reduce their carbon impact, and the SEAI equipment grant scheme is a great opportunity for dairy farmers to become more efficient and save money.

Agriculture Minister Michael Creed said: “Not only does this dairy equipment make climate sense but also sound economic sense at individual farm level and I urge farmers to engage fully with the scheme.”

Why are high-efficiency milk pumps better?

Variable speed drive vacuum pumps can reduce energy consumption by 60%, resulting in savings of over 10% on total farm energy costs.

Pat Walton is a dairy farmer in Ballingarry, Co Tipperary, who has installed a new vacuum pump. He says: “The new system is much quieter and cheaper to run. It is an investment at the start, but over four or five years, it will have paid for itself, and after that it is saving you a lot of money.

“It is worth doing for the savings. It is also more environmentally friendly, cleaner and safer. I would encourage other dairy farmers to think about a new vacuum pump. The SEAI grant is important in helping install this new equipment.”

The grant-aided equipment can reduce noise, lower the maintenance costs, and improve vacuum, as well as provide energy cost savings which dairy farmers can invest in more productive activities elsewhere on the farm, or for savings to protect against milk price volatility.

How do farmers take part?

If a farmer wishes to apply for the grant, application forms along with the application guide are available on the SEAI’s www.seai.ie/grants/business-grants/dairy-farm-grant/ web page.

The grant application guide should be read carefully prior to applying (applications must be returned to smegrants@seai.ie).

This funding is limited and awarded on a first come, first served basis, so early application is advised.

Items must not be purchased or installed before the applicant receives a grant offer (letter of offer).

The SEAI is Ireland’s national energy authority investing in and delivering appropriate, effective and sustainable solutions to help Ireland’s transition to a clean energy future.

Is there any other grant scheme for energy efficiency dairy farm equipment?

This dairy farm grant scheme complements the range of investment items available under the suite of seven measures that form the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II) available from the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM).

Grants in the TAMS scheme can also include equipment to drive on-farm energy efficiency savings, and the scheme remains open to applications.

The DAFM and SEAI have worked closely to ensure that their respective schemes are complementary and to give farmers options when considering these investments.

Visit www.agriculture.gov.ie/farmerschemespayments/tams/ for more information on TAMS II.

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