The third tranche of the Tier 1 capital grant scheme in Northern Ireland recently closed, with a total of over 3,800 applications.

The scheme provides up to 40% grant funding for equipment and machinery costing between £5,000 and £30,000. With only £7.5m of funding available, the scheme has been well over-subscribed.

The average grant in the first two tranches of the scheme was in the region of £4,800. If this was to be repeated, it would mean just over 1,500 farmers would receive letters of offer.

Points system

Once over-subscribed, as it was in the previous two tranches, submissions will be ranked on a points-based score, which is given to each application.

It’s understood there was particular interest in low-emission slurry spreading technology in the third tranche. As these items are being prioritised by DAERA and are generally more expensive than other Tier 1 equipment, it means the available budget will be used up quicker and a lower success rate is to be expected, particularly for items outside of band one.

Letters of offer

Letters of offer will begin to be issued in the coming weeks. If a successful applicant receives a letter of offer for a Tier 1 grant, they have 28 days to accept, and four months from the date on the letter to make a purchase and submit a claim for a grant. However, manufacturers both north and south are reporting a six-month plus backlog on low-emission slurry spreading equipment.

With pressure on supply chains, that four-month time frame may need to be extended by DAERA.