In England, DEFRA have launched the Annual Health and Welfare Review as part of the Sustainable Farming Incentive (SFI). This funding is paid directly to the farmer on the presentation of a report by the vet and testing results. You can apply online via the government website (link below!)

Although part of the visit must include testing for Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) for cattle, the discussion can be on ANY topic that would be beneficial to your business. The outcomes should aim to reduce disease, improve welfare and/or ensure medicines are being used appropriately and effectively. It shouldn’t be used to replace a farm assurance visit but provides an opportunity for you and your vet to “think outside the box” or focus on one particular area. Some farms have used it as an opportunity to get the whole team together and facilitate a discussion for example around improving submission rates. Others have used it to create a parasite control plan or undertake a mastitis investigation.

The new “Calf housing for health and welfare grant” should be launching soon.

These grants will support up to 40% of the funding to build new, refurbish or replace existing calf housing to improve the health and welfare of calves (up to 6 months old) by providing a good environment and facilitating social contact through pair or group housing. The grants can be from £15,000 up to £500,000. To apply, you need to discuss your project with a vet and include a letter of confirmation with your full application. You could use your Animal Health and Welfare review as part of this process.

The grant will be competitive and the RPA will prioritise housing projects that not only have the biggest impact on animal health and welfare but have also considered innovation, productivity and environmental outcomes.

Housing design should incorporate good ventilation, protect calves from draughts and thermal challenges. They should have solid floors with adequate drainage and straw bedding. Calves should be housed in pairs or groups, with enrichment provided and it should meet environmental objectives, such as the installation of solar panels.

For farms in Wales, there is new funding available for Farming Connect registered farms to access technical advice. Again, this can be tailored to your particular farm as we can carry out a series of one-to-one sessions on a topic of your choice. To access this funding, Farming Connect require a 30% contribution from you and the work must be carried out within a 5 month period. Again, this funding can include testing, data analysis and can be used to focus on a particular area or pinch point on the farm, such as calf health or mobility.