The recent terrible weather has affected some Irish farms badly, leading to calls from the ICOS for support, via Tams II, for farm power generators.
The calls come after this year saw a number of extreme weather conditions strike the country, including storm Brian and Hurricane Ophelia in the one short time period. Many electrical wires and power cables were knocked as a result of the weather, leaving many farmers without power.
The dairy industry was the worse affected, with many not having back up generator on site, in case of emergencies like these. It also disrupted milk collection in many parts of the countries, which has led to calls for funding for emergency generators to be provided.
National Marts Executive of ICOS, Ray Doyle, told a Farmers Charter Monitoring Committee in Portlaoise yesterday, that the impact of said storms demonstrated a severe shortage of generators on farms.
“This added further to the problems arising, in spite of the valiant work of ESB Networks to restore electricity as quickly as possible,” he said.
Doyle says these extreme weather conditions are only likely to increase with climate change, and said it is essential for farmers to invest in a generator in the future.
“With extreme weather events likely to increase due to climate change, it’s essential that farmers are encouraged to invest in a generator to future proof their businesses against power outages.” he said.
Doyle said it is a quality issue, as well as being an animal welfare issue.
“It is a quality issue where, apart from the milking equipment which is powered by electricity, milk cooling tanks also need to be kept running. It is also an animal welfare issue where full dairy herds must be milked regardless of conditions or risk getting mastitis if they are left laden with milk.” he added.
This he says is why the ICOS are calling for an amendment to be made to the TAMS II scheme.
“That’s why we are calling for an amendment to the Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS II) to provide grant aid for the provision of standby generators and associated changeover switches on farms.” he said.
“We also believe it would be sensible to make the installation of a changeover switch mandatory as part of all new parlour and dairy electrical installations, with an appropriate increase in the relevant reference cost.” he concluded.