The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced £10 million in grants for cattle farmers in England to help them introduce modern facilities to their farms to replace their aging cattle buildings.

The announcement came today (Wednesday, July 26), as the Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant (AHWIG) will allocate funding to farmers ranging from £15,000 to £500,000.

A statement from Defra said the money will go towards “prioritising new and upgraded calf housing” to improve conditions for livestock and boost farmers’ productivity and profitability.

Minister of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food, Mark Spencer said: “Our animal health and welfare grants are helping farmers improve conditions for their livestock.

“Not only is that good for the animals, it’s also a way to improve productivity and help them be more profitable.”

Grants for calf housing mean farmers can receive funding to develop a variety of building types, including the construction of A-frame buildings to house dairy calves from birth to weaning, or a mono-pitch building on a beef unit to house calves from 3-6 months.

The AHWIG can also provide funding for roof-top solar panels on calf housing buildings, enabling farmers to improve the thermal insulation of the building and provide low cost energy for calf housing.

According to Defra, this new funding expands the range of grants already on offer through the Farming Transformation Fund, which currently includes support for improvements to slurry, water management and productivity.

Defra has announced that it will be extending this infrastructure grant to other livestock sectors, with funding set to be available for pig and poultry farmers.

Further grants

Further announcements came from Defra today, as it declared that over £19 million has been awarded to over 3,000 farmers eligible for the Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant.

Pig, poultry, sheep and cattle farmers who successfully applied to the first round of the grant can now receive grants of between £1,000 and £25,000.

The money is aimed at helping farmers with items ranging from:

  • Livestock handling equipment to reduce lameness in sheep or cattle;
  • Sealed water tanks to reduce disease transmission in outdoor pigs;
  • Automated monitoring system and sensors which free up farmers’ time and limit environmental stress in poultry housing. 

All of the available items were selected through a collaborative co-design process involving industry professionals, veterinarians, and academics, as the items all contribute significantly to welfare, productivity, and biosecurity.

“It’s great to see such enthusiasm for these grants, with over 3,000 farmers receiving money through the equipment and technology grant from today, and many more set to benefit with our investment in new and upgraded calf housing through our brand new infrastructure grant,” Spencer continued.

The Rural Payment Agency is currently writing to all successful applicants so they can start the process of purchasing their new equipment.