A £10m grant fund has been launched to help livestock farmers improve the health and welfare of their animals by replacing ageing cattle sheds.

Defra says its Animal Health and Welfare Infrastructure Grant will offer awards ranging from £15,000 to £500,000.

It will prioritise co-funding new and upgraded calf housing in order to "promote better social contact and create a healthier environment for livestock".

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The government also announced that £19m has been awarded to more than 3,000 pig, poultry, sheep and cattle farmers in the first round of the Animal Health and Welfare Equipment and Technology Grant.

These grants, of between £1,000 and £25,000, will pay for equipment including livestock handling equipment to reduce lameness in sheep or cattle, sealed water tanks to reduce diseases in outdoor pigs, and automated monitoring systems to limit environmental stress in poultry housing.

Farming minister Mark Spencer said: "Our animal health and welfare grants are helping farmers improve conditions for their livestock.

"Not only is that good for the animals it’s also a way to improve productivity and help them be more profitable."