The next funding round for the Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme has opened for applications today.
Through the initiative, farm businesses can apply for grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to help them invest in new and innovative technology. Today’s announcement follows the first round of funding in 2018 when £15m was awarded to successful applicants.
For the second round of funding, 26 new items have been added to the list of equipment available, including chlorophyll meters, which instantly measure the chlorophyll content of a plant leaf. Another new item is the portable ammonia analyser, which can be used to check the levels of ammonia in farm buildings. Farmers and rural businesses will have eight weeks to submit an application for this funding.
The evidence shows that smart use of technology boosts productivity and yields, but also improves animal welfare and the environment. For instance, it can help farmers be more precise in the application of fertiliser, or ensure that the correct levels of medicine are being for animals.
Grants are available for all farm types, including livestock, horticulture and arable businesses, with a total pot of £15m available to fund investments in new technology.
Farming Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The small grants scheme proved to be so popular in the first round because it gives farmers access to equipment that can deliver quick and tangible improvements.
“This isn’t just about increasing yields; it’s also about using the best tools and equipment that can improve animal welfare and the environment, such as monitoring the levels of nitrogen in crops.
“As we leave the EU we want more farmers to be able to invest in this kind of technology that can boost the bottom line and make a real difference.”