Steadmans is predicting increased sales of its popular Agri-Steel cladding for farm buildings in the Republic of Ireland when the second phase of a government grant scheme comes into force next year.

The Irish government is reintroducing its Targeted Agricultural Modernisation Scheme (TAMS). The new initiative, known as TAMS II, will run until 2020. It involves €395m in grants being made available to farmers for a range of purposes. These include nutrient storage, animal housing, dairy machinery, low emission spreading equipment, animal welfare and farm safety, organic capital investment, plus pig and poultry investments in energy, water meters and medicine dispensers.

A general grant aid rate of 40 per cent will be put in place, with 60 per cent available for young farmers – applying within five years of joining the industry – who can claim for all these purposes, plus dairy buildings. Each farmer can secure up to €80,000 during the course of the scheme.

The TAMS II initiative is part of the Irish government’s €4bn Rural Development Programme. This is intended to support the countryside by enhancing the competitiveness of the agri-food sector, managing natural resources in a sustainable manner and ensuring the balanced development of rural areas.

One reason for the support programme’s introduction is next year’s abolition by the European Union of milk quotas, which set limits for production in member states. This removal has led the Irish government to target a 50 per cent increase in milk output within the republic by 2020.

Phil Brady, Steadmans’ area sales manager for Ireland, said: “Agri-Steel provides perfect, cost-effective cladding for uninsulated farm buildings. It’s very widely used in new build and refurbishment, as it provides a more robust and protective alternative to traditional fibre cement materials. Agri-Steel consists of zinc-coated steel sheets, rolled to five different profiles for single skin roofing, down to four degree pitch, and walls.

“The product includes eight layers of protection to the steel substrate, including a 35 micron coating to both sides of the material, giving it excellent corrosion resistance and making it suitable for buildings with aggressive, high humidity atmospheres, such as livestock housing. Agri-Steel also provides excellent levels of resistance against many chemicals found in agricultural environments and comes in a choice of rurally-suited colours with a performance warranty of up to 15 years.”

Carefully manufactured in a controlled process to ensure consistent quality, Agri-Steel sheets are unaffected by mould, fungi and mildew, and do not support vermin. They are constantly tested in accredited laboratories to measure performance against the corrosion effects of sunlight, chemicals and abrasion. Like all Steadmans’ cladding, Agri-Steel is manufactured in a process certified to ISO 9001:2008 and the substrate complies with BS EN 10346:2009.