With machinery grants expected to reopen in December 2023 and January 2024, exhibitors at the Midlands Machinery Show will be looking to help farmers make the most of these.
Consultants Brown & Co will be at the event to provide advice and look through the options. Tom Cheer, agricultural business consultant, explained: “The main grant relevant to the Show is the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) Productivity and Slurry, which is very similar to the old Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme and aims to improve productivity and efficiency on farm. Applications are online, selecting items from an eligible list and getting paid a fixed amount of grant no matter how much is spent on the item.”
The Farm Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) is expected to open for a third round later this year and will help to fund direct drills, camera guidance systems, liquid fertiliser applications and small seed drills. Several exhibitors at the event, including KRM, Grange Machinery, Sands Agricultural Machinery, Househam Sprayers and Knight Farm Machinery offer products that would fit within this.
“For a 6m direct drill in round two, the amount of grant awarded was £18,720; if it was capable of applying fertiliser simultaneously it was £25,000,” said Mr Cheer. “For N-Sensors, it was £6,675 and for camera-guided inter-row vegetable weeders, a 6m machine attracted £22,745.
“The maximum FETF grant is £25,000 but farmers can choose as many items as they like to meet this amount. It is worth bearing in mind that for each item, a minimum specification must be met which the Rural Payments Agency is incredibly strict about.”
KRM managing director Mike Britton explained that the grants have enabled farmers to access more technical machinery at a lower cost. “KRM machinery’s tine drill SMP model will be on show at the Midlands Machinery Show and has so far been eligible for the FETF grant. It promotes regenerative farming, moving the soil less, leading to less release of carbon.
“The grant has also covered KRM Calibrators – control systems for fertiliser spreading and variable rate application and KRM Patchwork GPS section control. Both are driving efficiency, meaning farmers use less fertiliser on the field, and less fertiliser is wasted through run-off, with environmental benefits.”
In addition to field equipment, the grant will cover Animal Health and Welfare, and there are larger productivity grants available through the Farming Transformation Fund (FTF). This includes water management, for building reservoirs and irrigation equipment, slurry infrastructure, adding value to agri products and improving productivity.
Mr Cheer said: “Improving Farm Productivity is about bringing robotics on farm like robotic harvesters, sprayers and weeders, aimed at the vegetable industry. But also autonomous tractors and robotic milking and feeding systems – anything with a camera to sense its surroundings and decision-making capabilities.”
Applying for FTF is a two-stage process, with an expression of interest and an online checker, followed by a full application. It accounts for 40% of the equipment cost, with the balance provided by the farmer. Grants available range from £35,000 up to £500,000. While currently closed for applications, it is expected to reopen in December or January.
“We are looking forward to meeting farmers at our stand at the Midlands Machinery Show to discuss the grant opportunities available,” explained Mr Cheer.
The Midlands Machinery Show takes place at the Newark Showground on the 8th and 9th of November. For more information go to www.midlandsmachineryshow.com