The application of slurry using a splash plate seeks to be banned from 2025 by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) could lead to a halt in grants for slurry application equipment.

Slurry specialist from Vogelsang, Andy Hayhurst suggested that the options available for farmers for “short term fixes” would not offer “long-term” cost savings.

The slurry specialist insisted that investing in a dribble bar system could be a “false economy” as the dribble bar might be banned in the UK, as it is not “truly sustainable”.

Hayhurst continued that tankers with smaller, lower cost applicators is “not as efficient” as it requires longer hours to cover the ground, which in the long run, uses more fuel and compacts the ground more.

“Using a trailing shoe will ensure the crop is parted to enable the slurry to be applied to the soil and not tarnish the crop. This will also make it easier for the soil to absorb,” Hayhurst added.

Further legislation in 2027 will require all slurry to be covered which will impact the efficiency of machinery.

Hayhurst said that if slurry does not receive rainwater, it will thicken and pose a challenge for application, however, a macerator can help with this.

Hayhurst continued:

“Securing a grant now could reduce the investment cost of a longer term option such as a trailing shoe before it is too late.

“It is apparent that there are soil and crop health benefits, along with operational savings, that farmers who take advantage of the grants and invest now will save money.”

Grants for slurry equipment

The Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) is offering £7,613 towards a separator, based on a purchase price of £19,033, to help reduce storage requirements by 30%.

Dribble bar applicators, with a working width of at least 6 metres and an expected purchase price of £10,500, will be met with £4,200 of grant funding, according to Hayhurst.

Larger dribble bars, with a working width of at least 10 metres and an estimated cost of 13,500, will qualify for £5,400 of a grant.

Trailing shoe and injection systems qualify for a 50% grant with the government estimating that a 6-metre injection system will cost £17,968 and the same sized trailing shoe £14,750.

There is a further grant for larger trailing shoe systems with working widths of more than 8 metres.

Hayhurst said that more grants will be available this year, however, following years of the FETF and the Slurry Infrastructure Grant, the end of these grants looks to be coming soon.