NFU Conference 2023: Applications open for productivity and slurry grants

Farmers in England are being invited to apply for round two of Defra’s productivity and slurry grants scheme, offering between £1,000 and £25,000 for new equipment.

The online application window opened on Tuesday 21 February for productivity and slurry grants through the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF).

The grants offer specific items of equipment to boost environmental sustainability, improve animal health and welfare, and reduce input usage, thereby cutting emissions and waste.  

See also: New round of Farming Equipment and Technology Fund opens soon

Following the first round, the list of items has been reviewed with farmers, vets, academics and industry groups. As a result, 19 new items to aid productivity and two items to help with better slurry management have been included for 2023.

These include crop sprayers using precision camera guidance to remove weeds when spraying between rows of growing crops to help reduce herbicide usage.  

The grants for 2023-24 increase the amount of money and range of actions on offer to farmers, building on the £31.5m which has already been paid to more than 3,000 successful applicants in 2022-23.  

The FETF 2023 grants are for a minimum of £1,000 and a maximum of £25,000 per theme, which means the maximum grant available for productivity and slurry items is £25,000.

If you were successful in receiving funding in round one, you can still apply for up to £25,000 per theme.

Last year’s funding through the FETF has already delivered:  

  • More than 600 direct drills for precision drilling crops, to the value of £12.4m  
  • More than 750 dribble bar and trailing shoe applicators for slurry, worth £5.3m
  • More than 400 mobile sheep handling systems, worth £1.3m
  • More than 40 tractor-mounted sensors, for measuring nitrogen levels in crops, worth £450,000.   

£168m investment

The latest funding for slurry grants is part of an overall £168m investment to support farmers in England through 16 different grants and competitions around research and innovation.

This will drive innovation, support food production, improve animal health and welfare, and protect the environment. 

The grants will be delivered through the Farming Innovation Programme (FIP) and Farming Investment Fund (FIF).

These sit alongside the Environmental Land Management schemes which pay farmers for a diverse range of actions, such as managing hedgerows for wildlife, planting nectar-rich wildflowers and managing crop pests without the use of insecticides.   

Next month, the FETF will see applications open for Defra’s new £20m Animal Health and Welfare grants – a key part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway.

These grants, worth between £1,000 and £25,000, will go towards the cost of items to improve the health and welfare of livestock.