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New £25m grant scheme for high tech equipment opens for applications

20th Jan 2022 / By Alistair Driver

Pig farmers can apply for grants of up to £500,000 to help investment in new technology, under a new £25 million Defra scheme. 

The Improving Farm Productivity scheme will provide large grants to farmers and growers in England for a range of new high-tech equipment, including for the pig sector,  slurry treatment equipment, robotic feeders and ventilation control systems. 

The grants, totalling £25m, range from £35,000 up to £500,000, paying up to 40% of the costs for a new investment. The application window opened on Wednesday (Jan 19) and will run until March 16.

While the first tranche of the scheme, the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (which has now closed for applications), focused on small grants of up to £25,000, this second tranche provides support for significant investments to boost performance across agriculture, including pig farms. 

Investments covered by the grants include new slurry management systems that lowers the acid in slurry, which increases the nutrients for plants and reduces ammonia emissions and pollution. Options include:

  • mild acidification equipment (all projects must buy acid storage, dosing equipment, mixing tank and pump)
  • acidification infrastructure (for example, any work to adapt or install pipework, pumps etc to get slurry into the acidification system and then out to storage).

There will also be grants for various types of robotics and innovation equipment, including:

  • robotic animal welfare equipment (for example, robotic milking, robotic feeding)
  • advanced ventilation control systems for existing horticultural and livestock buildings
  • robotic horticulture and arable equipment (for example, robotic weeding, robotic harvesting)
  • wavelength-specific LED lighting for horticultural crops.

Defra is urging farmers and agricultural contractors to take advantage of this opportunity to apply for grants to buy new equipment and infrastructure to ‘improve efficiency and help us build back greener’. Further themed grants will open later this year.

Farming Minister Victoria Prentis said: “These grants are aimed at contributing towards the purchase of new and green equipment that can bring a positive change to the day to day operation of a farm, as well as the wider environment.

 “This specific fund has a two-month application window, and I encourage everyone in the sector to take a look at eligibility and fund details.”

Rural Payments Agency chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “There is a wide variety of equipment and systems farmers can apply for though the Farming Investment Fund, and our new online eligibility checker is designed to make your application process even faster and easier.”

More information

Defra will host a webinar on January 24, at 10am, to explore the details of the Improving Farm Productivity theme, and will be available to answer questions.

You can register HERE