Farmers are being encouraged to apply for a share of £25m in government grants to invest in productivity-boosting new equipment.

The third and final round of the Countryside Productivity Small Grants (CPSG) scheme is now open, offering grants of between £3,000 and £12,000 to buy innovative equipment which could improve the efficiency of farm businesses, such as livestock monitoring cameras and precision farming technology.

Last year, new items were added to the list of the equipment available to help farmers to benefit the environment, including machines designed to help minimise soil compaction in fields, monitor ammonia levels in farm buildings, and increase precision when applying slurry to fields.

Farming minister Victoria Prentis said: “Helping our farmers to boost their productivity is absolutely essential. Coming from a farming family, I have experienced first-hand the benefits that having innovative equipment can bring, including saving businesses time and money while improving yields and minimising the impact we have on the environment around us.”

READ MORE: ‘We had 20pc of our annual rainfall in five days’ - farmers’ concerns amid autumn delugesHenry Harrison, an agricultural business consultant at the Norwich office of Brown and Co, said “This scheme is open for farmers wanting to invest in key pieces of equipment for their livestock, arable and horticultural enterprises.

“Translated into practical terms this means that there is the opportunity to buy key pieces of equipment for 40pc less than you would have done outside the grant scheme. The key equipment includes livestock equipment, precision farming equipment and resource management equipment. There is a shopping list of products from which you can pick, where the government have allocated each item a standard cost.

“If you are looking to improve your cattle, sheep or pig handling system, you want to invest in technology for your dairy, you need a precision farming tool for your tractor, or you wish to buy some new slurry handling facilities; then you should look at the list of eligible items.”

Defra says farmers who have successfully secured grants in previous rounds of the scheme will also be able to apply for different pieces of equipment within this final funding round, up to the limit of £12,000 per farmer.

Farmers will have until midday on November 4 to make an application to the Rural Payments Agency.

Rural Payments Agency chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “Having access to game-changing innovative technology can make a real difference to farmers and help boost the productivity of the whole farming sector in England.

“I would encourage all our customers to consider how this offer may benefit their business or help them to prepare for their future farming and apply for a small grant.”

Although this is the final round of the small grants scheme, Defra says powers have been included in the Agriculture Bill to provide specific financial assistance to help farmers invest in equipment, technology and infrastructure that will boost their productivity, and also deliver environmental and other public benefits. Further detail on the support available from 2021 is due to be released later this year.