£74m slurry grant scheme now open to farm businesses

The second round of Defra’s Slurry Infrastructure Grant has been launched, with £74m available to help improve water and air quality through investment in slurry infrastructure on farms in England.

Applications are now open and farmers are able to claim up to 50% of the building costs for covered slurry stores, tanks, lagoons, and related equipment.

Grant funding of between £25,000 and £250,000 is available for each business and the scheme has been extended to include eight months’ worth of slurry storage for pig producers and will also include slurry separators, covers for existing stores, and cast concrete stores.

See also: Slurry grant guidance and opening date announced by Defra

Demand for the second round of the scheme is expected to be high. If oversubscribed, the Rural Payments Agency will prioritise projects based in areas that most need to reduce air and water pollution.

Defra farming minister Mark Spencer said: “We’re indebted to farmers who work day in, day out to ensure we have great British food on our tables while protecting and shaping our countryside. 

“It is vital they are supported to make the environmental improvements I know so many want to make.

“Our Slurry Infrastructure Grant is helping farmers to invest in infrastructure which is often costly, but can deliver big benefits for our waterways and air quality, while also cutting their input costs.”

The £74m available is more than double the amount spent in the first round of slurry grants earlier this year, indicative of the surplus cash Defra has in its coffers following ongoing cuts to Basic Payment Scheme subsidies in England. 

Applications can be made on the government website, with the online checker due to close on 17 January 2024.

An online Slurry Wizard tool has been launched by AHDB to help potential applicants calculate their business’s total slurry storage requirements.

A further round of funding under the scheme is also due to be announced in 2024, along with two more rounds of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (in early 2024 and 2025), offering £21m for smaller items of equipment to help farmers manage slurry, from nutrient testing kits to low emission spreaders.