DEFRA has opened a new initiative that could offer farmers some funding towards new equipment.
Applications are now open that could offer grants to producers who wish to invest in new kit that improves the health and welfare of poultry under their care.
See also: Water monitoring may prove important for avian influenza surveillance
The Farm Equipment and Technology Fund (FEFT 2023) offer is competitive, meaning not every application is successful.
It has two ‘themes’ productivity and slurry, and Animal Health and Welfare – the latter is more relevant to poultry producers and grants issued will be for a minimum of £1,000 and a maximum of £25,000.
The full list, specification and grant contribution of poultry-related equipment is below, and more guidance can be found for would-be applicants on Defra’s website.
Applications opened on 23 March, and close on 15 June 2023.
|FETF number||Item name||Specification||Expected average total costs of item (£)||Grant amount (£) (based on a quantity of 1)||Item score|
|*FETF258A||Automatic curtain system for poultry housing||Automatic curtain system for controlling ventilation and/or lighting levels in poultry housing. Curtain made from rolling / folding material or sliding polycarbonate panels. Only top-down curtain systems are eligible. Control unit must be purchased alongside the item. Must be possible to integrate control unit into a new or existing climate/housing management system. Cost is per square metre.||75||38||55|
|*FETF259A||Auto-monitoring system for main unit for poultry housing||Central computerised unit capable of the integration of house management data in real-time as well as automated control of linked parameter management systems eg ventilation or heating. System must be able to integrate both climate and production data as well as process data for improved livestock management. As a minimum, system must be able to integrate inputs from sensors monitoring ammonia, temperature, humidity and feed bin weight. Systems that can integrate data from other inputs in excess of these three (eg CO2 sensors, lighting sensors, dust sensors, acoustic sensors, automatic behaviour recognition, automatic weigh scales) are eligible for funding. Units must be capable of automating associated house management processes such as the control of ventilation systems. Units that can only collect and store data from sensors are not eligible for funding. Where sensors / inputs are not associated with a house management process eg water monitor, the system must be able to trigger an alarm system (eg sound, light, text message) to alert the user to potential issues. Required software must be integrated into the unit as part of the purchase or available as an online platform (5 year minimum subscription). Annual or monthly subscription software costs or apps are not eligible for this item. Funding for sensors is not available via this item. See item FETF277A Temperature and humidity sensor. Computerised units that are purchased as part of an item of climate / production management equipment eg a fan control, are not eligible for this item.||2,133||853||75|
|*FETF260A||Automatic weigh scale for poultry||Scale which automatically weighs poultry without human intervention to enable improved flock management and feeding. Can be a hanging weigh scale or floor / aviary level platform/perch. Must be compatible with poultry management systems and software.||820||328||80|
|*FETF261A||Feed bin weighing equipment for poultry||A feed inventory system for monitoring the amount of feed being stored in a silo and consumed by poultry. Weigh system should fit one feed bin/silo. Must be possible to integrate system into new or existing housing/production management system. Feed bins/silos are not eligible.||450||225||84|
|*FETF262A||Poultry perches (mushroom)||Mushroom shaped perch for use in poultry units. The perch must have a flattened bevelled top mushroom profile to aid stability while perching. Perches may be freestanding, hanging, or fixed to aviary systems. Item may be constructed from plastic or metal. To aid cleaning and bio security, wooden perches are not eligible for funding. Painted perches are not eligible. Cost of unit length of 3m.||19||12||52|
|*FETF263A||Broiler perch||Low level perches for use in broiler houses. Perching point must be a maximum of 150mm off the ground. Perches with a flattened bevelled top mushroom shaped profile to aid bird stability. Item must be constructed from plastic or metal. To aid cleaning and bio security, wooden perches are not eligible for funding. Painted perches are not eligible. Perches must be either dismantlable or easily raised to aid cleaning and disinfecting. Cost per unit length of 3m.||30||18||44|
|*FETF264A||Automatic enrichment feeder for poultry||A swinging plate feeder with coarse coating to encourage natural beak wear/blunting. Item must be suspended below a feed pipe connected to an overhead silo feeding system. Cannot be home-made from materials sourced from supplier(s) or items already owned.||269||108||76|
|*FETF265A||Freestanding platforms and ramps||Freestanding metal and/or polypropylene platforms and ramps for poultry to provide an elevated rest area and enrichment. The item must include at least 1 platform with 2 ramps attached. Platforms and ramps must have slat holes or mesh for grip and ease of cleaning. Item must be winchable or collapsible for cleaning. Platforms and ramps made of wood are not eligible for this item.||250||150||96|
|*FETF266A||Nipple drinker system||On demand water delivery system that releases water only when nipple dispenser is touched. Must have automatic cut off valve. Drinker should automatically refill from mains or a transparent header tank so water level can be easily monitored. To reduce contamination the water should be enclosed in the delivery container / drinker line. The item must be height adjustable to accommodate growth. Drinker lines to contain a minimum of 1 nipple per 10 chickens. Drinking points must include drip cups to prevent wet litter. System to include as a minimum: drinker lines, nipples and drip cups, and suspension system with automatic or manual winch. Only new systems are eligible for this item. The upgrading of existing systems by adding nipple drinkers to existing drinker lines are not eligible for funding. Cost is per metre.||40||16||56|
|*FETF267A||Housing platforms and ramps||Metal platforms and ramps for poultry housing systems. Item may be used either within or immediately adjacent to the system to aid movement into and around aviary housing. Platforms and ramps must have slat holes or mesh for grip and ease of cleaning. Item must include all fixtures and fittings to attach to the housing system. Platforms and ramps made of wood are not eligible under this item.||100||60||92|
|*FETF268A||Spin feeder||Spin feeder for poultry that scatters feed pellets across the litter to encourage natural behaviour. Feeder must be either standing on legs or suspended. For suspended spin feeders, both fixed and monorail systems are eligible for funding. Mini ceiling-suspended spin feeders, gamebird spin feeders, or outdoor spin feeders are not eligible under this item. Hopper must have a minimum feed capacity of 200kg. Must be made of hygienic, easily cleanable material such as plastic or metal. Spin feeder must only be used with pellets of a suitable hardness and size to ensure bird nutrition or to provide enrichment.||1,780||890||64|
|*FETF269A||Poultry feed system for split feeding||Additional feed system to allow for the provision of different morning and evening feeds within poultry houses.
System to include:
1. Additional silo – 18 tonnes minimum.
2. Flexible augur 15m minimum and connections from silo to poultry shed.
3. Connection to existing feed system with timed switching mechanism and weighing vessel.
Feed delivery / track system inside the house is not eligible for funding.
|*FETF270A||3D weighing camera system for poultry||3D camera system specifically designed to calculate poultry weights automatically and provide average bird weight data for flock management. Each system must include a built-in or associated control unit and networking capability. Serial number required – to be submitted with your claim for payment.||2,250||1,125||60|
|*FETF271A||Ultrasonic water meter||A fixed ultrasonic flow meter assembly capable of accurately measuring water consumption. Assembly to include clamp on sensors and main unit. Must be capable of transmitting flow data and integrating with a water management / alarm system. Only clamp on devices are eligible. Portable and in-pipe devices are not eligible under this item. Serial number required – to be submitted with your claim for payment.||843||506||72|