Business advisors at the Midlands Machinery Show expect an increased interest in machinery and equipment that can help growers to farm more sustainably and to lower their costs of production.
“People are interested in machinery that will help them be more efficient and reduce input costs, while still allowing them to continue with the same farming system,” said Alex Olivant, farm business consultant at Active Business Partnerships in Nottinghamshire.
“A lot of people are looking at fertiliser spreaders so they can use variable rate applications, and also direct drills, which used to require a lot of paperwork for grant funding, but now applications are much quicker,” she added.
“There is 100% more interest in efficiency and what the new environmental schemes will push towards. Better efficiency is better for the environment and your back pocket, so it’s a win-win.”
Visitors to the event on the 16th and 17th of November will be able to speak with farm business consultants, as well as see the machinery up close at the various manufacturer stands.
Sam Tugwell, a regional advisor at Velcourt who covers a large area surrounding Leicestershire, helped a number of clients last winter to access government capital grants and will be exhibiting at this year’s event.
“Mostly clients were using the capital grant for reduced input machinery, like direct drills,” said Mr Tugwell. “It wasn’t people who were having a wholesale change to the way they farm, it was those who were upgrading their existing direct drills.
“Farmers are also showing interest in inter-row hoes for cereal crops, and rotary hoes that remove weeds from standing crops,” he added.
Getting ready for the next round of grants
The next round of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund is expected to open in autumn/winter 2022 according to the NFU.
Advisors expect it to be similar or the same as round one, which was open to farmers, contractors and foresters across England.
Applicants were able to choose from a list of 120 cost-eligible items, including livestock and resource efficiency units, with grants ranging from £2,000 to £25,000.