By Debbie James

Capital investment in equipment and machinery that address the impact of on-farm pollution dominates a new round of grant funding in Wales.

The Sustainable Production Grant expression of interest window has now opened with a funding pot of £6m.

As pressure grows on the farming industry to tackle pollution, the Welsh Government has put this issue firmly at the centre of this new round of SPG grant aid.

Roofed or covered slurry stores are on the list of eligible items along with silage clamps, systems for dirty water management and slurry tankers.

Fuel tanks and chemical stores are also on the list as is precision farming technology – GPS systems qualify for support.

A criticism of the last round of SPG funding was that it was beyond the reach of many farmers – at that time a farmer had to spend a minimum of £40,000; at that level the grant was £16,000.

The threshold has been reduced slightly this time around – grants of £12,000-£50,000 can be claimed – 40 per cent of a maximum spend of £125,000.

The government makes clear that to qualify, any investment must demonstrate “clear and quantifiable benefits’’ to the applicant’s farm enterprise and the wider environment.

The grant will only support covered storage which achieves a minimum storage capacity of 160-190 days for pigs and poultry – regardless of any existing on-farm storage.

Uncovered slurry storage facilities will only get support if the roofs and yards associated with rain water entering the proposed storage facility or any existing storage are made good first.

Eligible capital items include:

• Below-ground tanks/slurry stores and reception pits

• Above-ground circular stores

• Covers for slurry tanks and lagoons

• Mats for silage pits

• Trailing shoe and band slurry spreaders

• Slurry injectors

• Slurry separators

• Variable rate controllers for sprayers and fertiliser spreaders

To qualify farmers must:

• Have been trading for two years

• Be able to provide estimates for the cost of the items

• To not have been awarded a SPG in previous windows

• To have attended a Farming Connect Sustainable Farming roadshow

Farmers have until October 16 to apply.