Contractors emptying a dairy farms slurry lagoon(c) Tim Scrivener

Capital grants of between £2,500 and £35,000 will be on offer from next month to help farmers buy equipment to improve productivity.

Part of the Rural Development Programme, The Countryside Productivity scheme will invest £141m over the course of the current Cap regime until 2020 on a range of support for farm and forestry businesses.

In this first tranche of capital grant offers, £5m will be available to farmers, foresters and other land managers to invest in equipment and innovative technology (see list right). However the grants are competitive so only the best submissions will be successful. 

Funding will be also available for projects to develop innovative ways to improve productivity or sustainability in farming and forestry. Applications must be submitted between March and June 2015 and the RPA is expected to announce soon when applications will open.

These grants cover up to 40% of the actual costs of investments in specific types of innovative equipment, in several areas:

  • Improvements to animal productivity, health and welfare
  • LED lighting systems for livestock housing
  • LED lighting with wavelength control
  • Remote crop sensing
  • Small-scale forestry processing and wood harvesting and extraction
  • Slurry management
  • Recycling ammonia and heat emissions.

Grants of more than £35,000 are also available, offering up to 40% of the cost of projects that improve productivity through investments in:

  • Small-scale forestry processing and wood harvesting and extraction
  • Controlled atmosphere storage
  • Crop robotics
  • Poultry litter drying systems
  • Farm water management through reservoirs and irrigation.

Later in 2015, there will be more funding available to help farmers improve skills, as well as start-up business grants for young farmers starting their first farm business, for projects working to reduce important animal diseases, to improve the woodfuel supply chain and reduce ammonia emissions on farms.

Larger grants will also be available to groups of farmers.