Slurry store© FLPA/REX/Shutterstock

Dairy and beef farmers in England have just over two weeks to apply for 100% grants for slurry store covers.

Successful applicants to the Farming Ammonia Reduction Grant scheme also get one-to-one advice from a consultant on reducing ammonia emissions and conserving nitrogen. The scheme is open for existing slurry stores only.

Ammonia air pollution can have significant effects on human health and on ecosystems, with farming accounting for more than 83% of total emissions in 2014.

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Covers protect slurry from rainwater, reducing storage and field application costs, cutting nitrogen loss and increasing the quality of slurry as a fertiliser, as well as reducing ammonia emissions, improving air quality and minimising odour emissions.

Applications must be in by 31 January and are being assessed on a first-come, first-served basis, with no maximum grant on eligible capital items for each business.

“Get your applications in as soon as possible,” advised Thomas Armstrong, associate director at land agent and surveyor H&H. “And make sure all your application details are filled in correctly – plenty of applications are expected and if details are missing, forms risk being put to one side.”

North Yorkshire farmer and contractor Adam Metcalfe has diversified into slurry store supply and building and advises that applicants need to think about how slurry will be stirred under covers.

Careful timing and planning was needed as covers must be installed when lagoons were empty, said Mr Metcalfe.

Slurry store cover grants

  • Self-supporting covers for slurry stores funded at £61/sq m, floating covers for stores and lagoons at £11.20/sq m
  • Applications must include vendor number, Single Business Identifier (SBI), County Parish Holding (CPH) number, herd and flock numbers – no quotes needed
  • Applications are checked for eligibility, with the outcome notified by end of March 2017
  • Agreements run for a minimum of five years
  • Claims for payment can be submitted once all approved work is complete – the claims deadline is 31 July 2017
  • Run by Natural England as part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme
  • Funded by the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund under exceptional adjustment aid to milk producers and farmers in other livestock sectors.