Farmers looking to make the most of the plethora of machinery, technology and productivity grants expected to re-open at the end of this year will be able to seek advice from the experts at the Midlands Machinery Show.

On hand to discuss the various grants likely to be available will be property and business consultants Brown & Co. Tom Cheer, agricultural business consultant at the firm, explains that the main grant relevant to the show is the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF) Productivity and Slurry.

“This is very similar to the old Countryside Productivity Small Grants scheme and aims to improve productivity and efficiency on farm,” he says. “Applications are online, selecting items from an eligible list and getting paid a fixed amount of grant no matter how much is spent on the item.”

“Improving Farm Productivity is about bringing robotics on farm like robotic harvesters, sprayers and weeders, aimed at the vegetable industry. But also autonomous tractors and robotic milking and feeding systems – anything with a camera to sense its surroundings and decision-making capabilities.”

FETF has had two rounds so far and is expected to open for a third in December 2023/January 2024. Direct drills, camera guided equipment, liquid fertiliser applicators and small seed drills for cover and/or companion crops, some on display at the Midlands Machinery Show, including from KRM, Grange Machinery, Sands Agricultural Machinery, Househam sprayers and Knight sprayers, have proved popular.

“For a 6.0m direct drill in round two, the amount of grant awarded was £18,720; if it was capable of applying fertiliser simultaneously it was £25,000,” explains Mr Cheer. “For N-Sensors it was £6,675 and for camera-guided inter-row vegetable weeders, a 6.0m machine attracted £22,745.”

The grant accounts for 40% of the equipment cost with 60% match funding from the farmer. The minimum grant available is £35,000 and the maximum, £500,000.

KRM managing director Mike Britton says that the grant helps farmers to access more technical machinery at a lower cost. “KRM machinery’s tine drill SMP model will be on display at the show and has so far been eligible for the FETF grant. The grant has also covered KRM Calibrators – control systems for fertiliser spreading and variable rate application and KRM Patchwork GPS section control. Both are driving efficiency, meaning farmers use less fertiliser on the field, and less fertiliser is wasted through run-off.”

Organised by the Newark and Nottinghamshire Agricultural Society, the Newark showground is the venue and the dates for your diary for the Midlands Machinery Show are November 8 and 9, 2023. There were 230+ exhibitors at last year’s show, which attracted over 6,200 visitors.

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