After much anticipation and discussion, the UK government finally opened applications for the new slurry infrastructure grant at the end of 2022. If you haven’t heard about the grant or aren’t sure if you qualify, we’ve taken a closer look at the details.
For many British farmers, storing and transporting slurry can be a huge frustration. Poorly managed slurry can be dangerous for the environment. However, adequately stored and managed, slurry can be an excellent fertiliser.
To help support farmers producing and storing slurry, the UK government has introduced a slurry infrastructure grant of up to £250,000. The funding can be used to restore or build slurry storage.
Here’s what you need to know.
What Is Slurry?
The first step to determining if you are eligible for government support for slurry is to understand what is officially recognised as slurry by the UK government.
Officially, the Water Resources (Control of Pollution) (Silage, Slurry and Agricultural Fuel Oil) (England) Regulations 2010 (SSAFO) define slurry as:
“liquid or semi-liquid matter composed of excreta produced by livestock while in a yard or building (including that held in wood chip corrals); or a mixture wholly or mainly consisting of livestock excreta, livestock bedding, rainwater and washings from a building or yard used by livestock, of a consistency that allows it to be pumped or discharged by gravity at any stage in the handling process.”
Although slurry isn’t always agricultural waste, for this government grant, the slurry must be made from manure and water. It can be stored to be used as a natural fertiliser.
Often, the slurry is stored in large tanks or lagoons before being disposed of or used as fertiliser. However, not all farmers have storage capabilities; this is where the slurry infrastructure grant comes in to help.
What Is the Slurry Infrastructure Grant?
The slurry infrastructure grant is a scheme launched by the UK government to support farmers so they can store slurry for six months at a time. The funding allows farmers to invest in slurry storage solutions, including tanks, lagoons, permanent bags, and accessories – to increase their storage capacity.
The grant has a minimum award value of £25,000 with a maximum award of £250,000. The size of specific contributions is determined by how much slurry a farm produces and how much storage they need to be able to store the slurry safely for six months.
For example, a farm producing large amounts of slurry with small existing stores will require a significant investment. In contrast, a farm producing only small amounts of slurry that is currently able to store the slurry for almost six months will only need a small grant.
The government has strict restrictions on the standard and quality of items bought using the grant to ensure it is designed to last over 20 years. The specifications for each item are listed in full on the government website.
What can you use the grant for?
So, if you qualify, what can you use the slurry infrastructure grant for? The good news is that the grant is relatively flexible and can be used for a wide range of work and accessorises associated with slurry storage.
The grant can be used for the following:
- Fixed and floating flexible covers
- Above-ground stores
- Large-volume slurry bags
- Earth bank lagoons with or without liners
- Stores made using precast panels
- Precast concrete stores
- Slurry pumps
- Reception pits
- Transfer channels
- Safety fencing
- Certain related pipework
- And more
It’s important to note that all new or expanded stores must have an impermeable cover. This will minimise the amount of rain entering the slurry and reduce ammonia emissions.
Current estimations suggest the grant amounts will cover around 50% of current market costs and depend on the type of work. For instance, the funding for above-ground steel slurry stores is £31.50 per m3.
Other funding amounts include:
- £26.17 per m3 for precast circular concrete slurry store
- £10.08 per m3 for earth bank lagoons (without synthetic liner)
- £18.22 per m3 for earth bank lagoons (with synthetic liner)
- £72.74 per m3 for precast rectangular concrete panels
- £32.17 per m2 for fixed flexible covers
- £7.99 per m2 for floating flexible covers
- £154.81 per m3 for Precast concrete reception pit
- £154.81 per m3 for Glass reinforced plastic (GRP) reception pit
As well as restrictions on specifications, some work and items are not covered in the grant. Using the grant money to pay for these things will disqualify the farm.
What The Grant Doesn’t Cover
While the grant can be used for a wide variety of slurry storage-related work and items, there are some significant restrictions on the grant.
For example, the grant cannot be used for planning permission, slurry acidification systems, power generation, temporary slurry storage solutions such as small bags, or demolishing old slurry storage stores.
Other related work, such as concreting livestock yards, reroofing buildings, and labour costs, are also not included. The government provides a complete list of things the grant does not cover.
If you are struggling to find funding to cover work not included in the scope of the grant, you can contact our farm finance brokers who will speak to our lenders to offer loans to support the adjacent work.
Who Can Apply for A Slurry Grant?
Many British farmers have a lot to gain from the slurry infrastructure grant. Depending on your current slurry storage and production, this grant could dramatically increase your storage capabilities.
The grant is available to any farmer, or tenant farmer, producing agricultural slurry for activities related to pigs, beef, and dairy. Tenant farmers will have to speak to their landlord to gain permission and will need to have plans to continue to farm the land for at least five years after the final grant payment.
Finally, you can only apply if your slurry storage is built on land you own and farm, or you farm as a tenant.
Who Is Not Eligible?
Unfortunately, only some farmers can qualify for this specific government loan. If you meet any of the following criteria, you will not qualify for this grant, but you may be eligible for other government grants to help support your agricultural operations.
Firstly, if you already have enough slurry storage to last six months or your farm does not produce any slurry, you cannot apply for the slurry infrastructure grant. In addition, you cannot use the money to build or restore storage to store anything other than slurry.
Farms that only provide contractor services, horticultural growers, and any public organisation farms or local government agricultural organisations will not qualify for the grant. Poultry, sheep, and arable farms are also not included.
Additionally, the slurry infrastructure grant is only applicable for slurry stores in England, so any stores or farms outside of England, automatically do not qualify for this support.
How To Apply For the Slurry Infrastructure Grant
To apply for the slurry infrastructure grant, there is a simple 2-step process to follow.
If you think you might be eligible for the grant, the first step is to use the official online checker tool. Named the “Slurry Wizard”, this online resource will calculate your eligibility and, if you are eligible, how much financial support you may receive based on your specific needs.
Before using the slurry wizard, you will need to have some basic information to hand, such as:
- Herd size and livestock numbers
- Barn size
- Yard size
- Any roof or gutters that capture rainfall
- Your current storage capacity
- Approximate grazing and housing periods
The tool will then automatically calculate the amount of slurry produced on the farm and how long it will take to fill the existing storage.
It can also make predictions related to changes to draining and the potential impact of installing a new roof and gutter, the possibility of changes to herd size, grazing and housing periods, and more.
The slurry wizard will also help to provide a cost analysis for the farm and the potential benefit and cost of increasing slurry storage. If the result suggests that you may be eligible for support, you will be invited to take the second step.
The second step is to complete the full application form. Only people who qualify will be able to do this.
The government has already prioritised farms in specific target areas, including Cumbria, North Yorkshire, Wiltshire, Dorset, Somerset, and Norfolk, where water and air pollution is higher.
Slurry Infrastructure Grant Application Deadline
The deadline for submitting full applications for the slurry infrastructure grant is Friday, 28th June 2024. Full details are available here on gov.uk.
The government suggests that farmers from non-priority areas continue to apply as demand from priority areas is unknown.
After this initial round of funding has been assigned, there may be plans for a new grant for slurry stores. If you are unsuccessful this time, it’s worth keeping your eyes peeled in the future because support could still come your way.
If you think you might be eligible for the slurry infrastructure grant but you aren’t sure where to start, the first step is to use the Slurry Wizard.
Furthermore, if you aren’t eligible, the Government offer other grants for farmers here which may be applicable.
As the UK government rolls out more schemes to support British farming, you need to be ready to take advantage of the available grants.
Get in touch today to discuss alternative finance options with one of our agricultural finance specialists.