Farmers and growers in England can apply for up to £500,000 in funding from today to invest in new technology to boost productivity.
Government grants ranging from £35,000 up to £500,000 are available to invest in new equipment, such as automated milking systems and automated tractors.
The new scheme, worth £25m in total, is the latest instalment of the Farming Investment Fund – an umbrella fund which opened in November.
The application window for the Improving Farm Productivity theme of the Farming Investment Fund has now opened, Defra said on Wednesday.
Farmers are being urged by the department to apply for grants to buy new equipment and infrastructure to improve efficiency.
Defra explained that further themed grants would open later this year.
Farming minister Victoria Prentis said: “We know how important it is for farmers to identify opportunities that maximise productivity and yields.
"These grants are aimed at contributing towards the purchase of new and green equipment that can bring a positive change to the day to day operation of a farm, as well as the wider environment.
“This specific fund has a two-month application window, and I encourage everyone in the sector to take a look at eligibility and fund details.”
The application window for the Improve Farm Productivity fund is open from today (19 January) to 16 March.
Grants are paid in arrears, Defra explained, and at least 60% of the project costs need to be paid for through private sources like savings or a bank loan.
Rural Payments Agency (RPA) chief executive, Paul Caldwell encouraged farmers to apply for a grant.
“If you are a farm owner and are planning to invest in your business to increase productivity in an environmentally sustainable way, this fund may be suited to your needs.
“There is a wide variety of equipment and systems farmers can apply for though the Farming Investment Fund."