30 Oct £40 million fund to boost farm productivity

DEFRA have announced a new grant scheme to help livestock, dairy, arable and horticultural farmers improve farm productivity through investing in new technology, such as robotics, to reduce cost or improve product quality. The funding can be used on diverse investments, from robotic milking machines to green technology.

The scheme also offers funds for farmers and food processors to invest in new equipment and machinery to improve the processing of milk, meat and fruit.

What the grants are for?

These grants are to improve farm productivity through

• the use of robotic equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production

• increasing the use of renewable energy produced on farm by improving energy storage and distribution

• the use of LED wavelength controlled lighting to aid crop production

• more efficient use of livestock slurries and manures, and digestate

How much money can you apply for?

The grants are for a minimum of £35,000. Grants can cover up to 40% of the eligible costs of a project. If the minimum grant is £35,000, the minimum total eligible cost of a project would therefore be £87,500.

Example of eligible projects

Improving efficiency – a dairy business investing in 2 milking robots and a silage pusher

Introducing innovation – a horticultural business investing in a robotic weeder to carry out intra-row weeding

Improving slurry application – a dairy farmer purchasing slurry application equipment including inline, real-time nutrient sensor, flow meters and a trailing shoe application system to fit to an existing slurry tanker

Making better use of renewable heat generated on farm – A poultry farmer will install a heat distribution main, heat exchangers and an innovative ventilation system. This will distribute renewable heat from boilers powered by poultry litter

Making better use of renewable electricity produced on farm – A farmer will purchase a battery storage facility. They already have a solar panel installation and this will allow the business to store excess electricity produced during the day and use it through the night to power cold stores rather than importing electricity from the grid.

How to apply?

All applications will be scored against strict criteria to improve productivity, enhance resilience, introduce innovation etc.

The deadline for applications is 3 December 2018 – please contact us for further details on how to and help with applying.