Farm Productivity Grant to Open Jan 2022

FARMING INVESTMENT FUND – FARM PRODUCTIVITY THEME


DEFRA have finally accepted that they need to release grant guidance in advance of the grant release dates which is a huge help to forward planning!

With this in mind, DEFRA have released the second theme within the Farming Transformation Fund – Improving Farming Productivity. Applications for this theme will open in January and will be a two-step process.


Step one is an eligibility checker, this will open in mid-January and will remain open for a minimum of 8 weeks. Should a project score highly enough against DEFRA’s targets – applicants will be invited to submit a full application. Applications will need to be submitted by mid-September 2022.


How much funding is available?


The grants will pay at a rate of 40% towards eligible costs, with a minimum grant of £35,000 (minimum total spend of £87,500) and a maximum grant of £500,000.


What items will this grant fund?


DEFRA have released examples of equipment that will be funded through this theme for both robotics and slurry acidification equipment.


Robotics:

  • robotic harvesting equipment

  • robotic weeding equipment

  • robotic spraying equipment

  • autonomous driverless tractors or platforms

  • voluntary robotic milking system

  • robotic feeding systems

  • robotic transplanting

  • advanced ventilation control units

  • wavelength specific LED lighting for horticultural crops

Additional robotic items will be considered, as long as it has a sensing system, the ability to understand its environment, decision making capability to plan, and control actuators.


Slurry Acidification:


Slurry Acidification projects will include systems that lower the pH value of slurry using acid treatment to stabilise the ammonia, thereby increasing the availability of nutrients for plants, and reducing ammonia emissions.


For a system to be eligible the following 4 items need to be present:

  • acid storage

  • dosing equipment

  • mixing tank

  • pump.

The costs of installation and commissioning the above equipment is also fundable through the scheme. It is also possible to stack the slurry acidification project with shallow injectors, trailing shoes, dribble bars or the real-time analysis of slurry.


What are the aims of this fund?


Capital items available will need to increase productivity through:

  • the use of robotic or autonomous equipment and systems to aid crop and livestock production.

  • the installation of slurry acidification equipment (improved nutrient management, reduced ammonia emissions).

When completing the eligibility checker – the priorities for funding will be towards projects that:

  • improve efficiency and effectiveness of primary agricultural or horticultural production

  • reduce your farms environmental impact resulting in a positive contribution to net zero and GHG reduction

  • improve nutrient and resource management that supports optimisation of field and livestock operations

  • adopt automation in areas where access to labour is an issue.

For further details on the Farm Productivity Grant – you can read the full guidance here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/about-the-improving-farm-productivity-grant


What are the next steps?


As mentioned above, the eligibility checker will be open for this theme from Mid-January. A lot of interest is expected for this theme, so clear and well thought out projects will be essential.


Should a project be invited to complete a full application, detailed business and financial information will be required.


Please also bear in mind the window for the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (up to £25k/round) shuts on the 7th of January for the first round of applications.


For further advice on what items might be available, or for help with an application – please get in touch with your usual consultant.


Sam Kelly 07777 696080 sam@kellyfarmconsulting.com

Charlie Davies 07904 601104 charlie@kellyfarmconsulting.com

Pete Kelly 07970 942668 pete@kellyfarmconsulting.com

Office 01454 614624