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Grant funding for slurry – what dairy farmers need to know

DEFRA have opened their much-anticipated Slurry Infrastructure grant scheme, to help farmers improve or expand slurry stores – and the deadline for Stage 1 applications is 31st January 2023.

The purpose of the grants is to help farmers future-proof slurry infrastructure, to make better use of organic nutrients; improve water quality; improve air quality and reduce greenhouse gases. And these imperatives chime perfectly with Wolfenden’s ethos: helping farmers to reduce emissions and make on-farm improvements for better herd welfare, a better working environment, and more efficient use of resources.

Farms that pass the Stage 1 application may be invited to submit a full Stage 2 application by 28th June 2023 – at which point it will be necessary to provide detailed information and a full breakdown of all items – including concrete infrastructure to support the new or improved slurry storage – with grants between £25,000 and £250,000 available.

Any grant application must include a fixed or floating impermeable cover unless a slurry bag is going to be installed or slurry is to be treated through acidification. But there is flexibility as to the type of store including tanks, lagoons, and concrete stores – whether precast circular concrete slurry stores, or stores using precast rectangular concrete panels.

Crucially, grant funding can pay for many of the accessories needed for a new or improved slurry store and the option offering the highest grant contribution – at £72.74 per m3 – is a store using precast rectangular concrete panels, an area where Wolfenden have vast expertise. To be eligible for the grant, the store must be designed to create an impermeable tank and can use interlocking vertical panels, including cantilever panels – flat panels supported by the tied-in foundations of the slab – or L-shaped panels secured to a plinth and tied into the floor. Eligible costs include: excavating for foundation and base; supply, laying and consolidation of hardcore; supply, pour and laying of concrete base and foundations; SSAFO compliant, controllable, lockable sluice; leak detection systems if needed, and gas monitoring safety equipment.

For reception pits and transfer channels, there is significant scope for applications to gain subsidy for concrete elements – with £154.81 per m3 grant contribution available for precast concrete reception pits, including associated concrete works, and £154.81 per m3 for cast in situ concrete reception pits.

Whatever slurry options best suits an individual farm, DEFRA’s scheme offers a grant contribution of £215.55 per metre for under-floor transfer channels, and Wolfenden’s SUPA range – designed specifically to move more slurry along greater distances – more than meets the required specification for flat bottomed, V or U section pre-case concrete slurry channels. Here, eligible costs for grant support can include precast headwall; excavation costs; supply and installation of channel units on concrete bedding; backfilling with permeable fill or lean-mix concrete, and making good the interface with the surrounding yard area with minimum C30 or 37 concrete minimum 150mm thick.

With more than 30 years’ experience working with dairy farmers across the UK, designing and supplying slurry storage solutions and herd housing all with emission reduction and herd welfare at their heart, Wolfenden are the partner of choice for some of the country’s most ambitious dairy farmers.

Richard Moody, Wolfenden’s managing director, comments,
“DEFRA’s latest focus on helping dairy to improve slurry is a welcome move – this is an area where farmers really need support to achieve the emission reduction that the sector is charged with, and to maximise the payback on resources such as more nutrient-rich slurry at a time when fertiliser is increasingly expensive and, looking to Net Zero, untenable in the longer-term.

At Wolfenden, our continual investment in product design and development, alongside the close relationships we maintain with leading manufacturers of herd management solutions – companies such as EasyFix – means that Wolfenden can respond rapidly with the infrastructure requirements needed to support any bid into the DEFRA funding scheme – taking one major headache out of the application process.”

If you are a dairy farmer considering a DEFRA application, or a consultant looking to support a bid, get in touch to find out more about our agricultural precast solutions and our SUPA range, including SUPA wide and SUPA deep slurry channels: slurry management products designed specifically for the dairy industry.