As part of the Rural Economy Grant and Farm and Forestry Improvement Schemes, dairy farmers may be eligible to apply for funding for improvements such as automated heat detection systems or concrete grooving, which could help improve fertility.
To be eligible, these areas must have been identified by the vet in the herd health plan as an area which will improve herd health and welfare.
Rural Economy Grant (REG)
REG Animal Health and Welfare (AHW) funding is aimed at providing facilities/technologies that are designed over and above standard industry practices.
The funding is focused on large-scale projects shown to be part of a holistic farm plan to raise AHW and be dependent on grant funding to implement best practice.
Grant support is up to a maximum of 40% of eligible costs, with a few exceptions (visit www.rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk to find out more).
To apply there must be a minimum grant requirement of £25,000, this equates to minimum eligible expenditure of £62,500 where the 40% rate applies (or £125,000 where 20% applies).
Stage one of the application process must be submitted by 5pm on 30 April 2012.
Find out more at RDPE website or contact your local RDPE delivery team.
Farm and Forestry Improvement Scheme (FFIS)
The FFIS is part of the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) and aims to help make your business more profitable while reducing the impact of farming on the environment.
There is £20m of funding available under FFIS until December 2013.
The grants are for capital items and the grant rate available is up to 40% in non-upland areas, and up to 50% in upland areas.
The maximum grant allowable per applicant business is £25,000. The minimum grant per application is £2,500.
The first round of the FFIS has now closed. A second round is set to be announced in May 2012.
For more details contact your local RDPE delivery team or see www.rdpenetwork.defra.gov.uk
Training – Fertility training courses
Farming Connect in Wales
Higher Education Funding Council for England Funding
At a national level, XL Vets offers HEFCE-funded courses for dairy producers.
Of the six dairy modules on offer, one looks at bovine fertility and DIY AI.
The farmer pays 70% of the course cost, giving them credits which can be put towards a foundation degree – accredited by Harper Adams
An introductory price of £300 for a four-day course is available until 30 June.
Contact the XL Vets Farm Skills office on 01765 608489 for more information.
XL Vets offers DIY AI courses and refreshers, as well as courses on heat detection and nutrition.
Funding varies depending on where you are in the UK, with farmers paying between 30-50% of the cost of the course.
Welsh dairy producers may be eligible for vet help through the Welsh Farming Connect Programme, which can include advice on fertility. Through the program producers are able to claim back 80% of the costs, excluding sampling or testing costs.
To get involved, farmers need to register with Farming Connect and then, if eligible, they can receive five days of vet advice.
Find out more under the topics section at the Welsh government website
Land Manager Options for Scots
There is SRDP funding available through the animal health and welfare stream of the LMO, which could indirectly help with fertility.
Under option 23 there is the opportunity to improve AHW by undertaking a herd health plan with the vet. The farm could then identify a minimum of three out of 10 options for improvement
There is no specific option for fertility, but by focusing on Johne’s, BVD incidence or maintaining body condition score, for example, fertility can be indirectly improved
Each option has a payment amount. Producers can receive £137 towards the cost of a herd health plan, with greater financial help placed on actions. For example, by signing up to improve body condition score, a producer will receive £383 a year.
Producers have to sign up for a five-year commitment. Applications must be received by 15 May 2012.
Find out more details online at the Scottish government website
The farm minister has announced the next round of applications for funding through the Farm Modernisation Programme will open this year, although the date is yet to be confirmed. Aids to help improve fertility, such as automated heat detection systems, were covered in the last round.
Other funding streams may be available. Keep up to date at the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development website