What’s next for Harvest Weed Seed Control?

What’s next?

Now that the Harvest Weed Seed Control project has come to a close, see what’s next for The Seed Circle below.

What’s next for the Seed Circle?

The GRASP project is currently on hold until the end of 2024, however the aim of the project is to. build on R&D from NIAB, Rotthamsted Research and BGRI​. The project will be farmer led with support from commercial partners to take control of monitoring techniques and strategies​ relating to control of grass weed.

The aim of the project will be to test and develop non-chemical forms of weed control, including:​ Mechanical (hoeing, HWSC, weed-surfing, etc)​, Autonomous or real-time green-on-green detection​, Laser/light/electric weed control​, RNA disruption and/or biological/genetic control​, Spot/precision-application​. 

Join the Seed Circle to receive updates about this project:

Farming Equipment and Technology Fund 2024

BOFIN, hosted a webinar to provide guidance on how farmers can secure funding for cutting edge equipment such as the Redekop Seed Control Unit (SCU).

“Over the past two years, the Harvest Weed Seed Control (HWSC) project has been working with scientists at NIAB, UK farmers and Seed Scouts to compile grassweed data for analysis in the UK’s first ever farmer-led survey of grassweeds left standing at harvest,” says Tom Allen-Stevens, BOFIN Founder.

Analysis has now taken place and some interesting trends have been identified.

“From the results obtained by our Seed Scouts and four UK farmers completing on-farm trials with the Redekop SCU, we have been able to identify the potential value of the SCU in helping farmers tackle grassweeds,” Mr Allen-Stevens adds.

“We are therefore very excited that the Redekop SCU has been included as part of the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund 2024.”

Securing a grant for the Redekop SCU through the FETF would provide farmers with as much as 60% of the total cost, saving them around £35,000. Carter Jonas Partner James Bradley, who has prepared and submitted many applications on behalf of farmers and landowners, talks attendees through the FETF and was on hand to answer any questions attendees had about the funding application. Joining him was Trevor Thiessen, co-owner and president at Redekop Manufacturing, who provided further insight into the SCU. Keith Challen, farm manager at Belvoir Farming Company, discussed his direct involvement within the HWSC project and experience using the Redekop SCU. John Cussans, weed biology and management specialist at NIAB, presented the final results from the HWSC project.

SCU Interest Survey:


What is the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund (FETF)?

The FETF provides grants for farming equipment and technology that will support improvements in productivity, slurry management and animal health and welfare. Farmers can apply for one grant from each of the three themes. Minimum grant is £1000 so effectively the minimum item price is £1,667. Those who are successful can be granted a maximum of £50,000 towards productivity and slurry items and a maximum of £25,000 towards animal health items.

How is the grant amount worked out?

Each business will need to be ‘registered’ with RPA. They must have an SBI number. Most farmers will have this already but some contractors may not. Following addition of 24 new items in 2024 there are now 85 different items of productivity equipment, and you can apply for a grant towards the cost of any of these items. The list specifically includes a combine mounted weed seed reduction system which must pulverise the seed to make it non-viable. The Redekop Seed Control Unit is an example of equipment that is eligible.

When is the window open?

Grants for all three themes are available now; the deadline to apply for productivity or slurry items is midday 17 April 2024. Grants for animal health and welfare items will close to applications on 1 May 2024.

How do you apply?

Check the specification of the item(s) you want to apply for this year and that either the manufacturer or dealer is able to supply it. Do not buy anything at this point, unless you are paying with a refundable deposit. An application may then be submitted for each grant that a business wishes to apply for. The service is all undertaken through the RPA portal within the Farming and Investment Fund Service.

What information do you need to apply?

You will need to answer questions about you and your business; these details must match those in the Rural Payments service. Make sure that the person named on the application has sufficient privileges and that the bank account details for repayment match. Communication will be via email, the accounts used must be recognised by RPA. Grants in excess of £25,000 will require additional support in the form of financial accounts and tax returns. Applicants will need to provide information to show that their businesses are viable, usually accountant’s advice, and information on the source of funds.

How is the funding allocated – is it on first come first served basis?

Funding is competitive. Applications will be scored and offers of grant made to those with the highest scores first. Funding will be allocated, descending the list, until the funds are all used. Applicants may not receive any, or all, of the funding they apply for. If your application is successful, the RPA will send you a Grant Funding Agreement (GFA). If you’re unsuccessful, the RPA will write to you and tell you why. Typically, applicants are notified four-to-six weeks after the application window closes. Use the Farming Investment Fund service to accept your GFA by the deadline, which will be communicated by email. If you have applied for more than one grant, you’ll need to select each grant to accept each GFA.

When do you place the order for the kit?

Following receipt and acceptance of the grant offer, equipment may ordered for delivery. There is ordinarily a window within which the equipment must be delivered and claimed – typically around six months. Make sure that upon order confirmation that the supplier will be able to deliver within the stated time frame and that full payment can be made. There are now more rounds so it is likely that a time frame will be stated from offer. All equipment delivered will have to be paid for in full before a claim may be submitted, this does mean that no form of finance directly relating to the equipment is acceptable.

What happens if you don’t complete the order before the end of the window?

You will need to withdraw your claim, which can be done at any time. If you want to withdraw your claim, email FETFClaims@rpa.gov.uk as soon as possible and explain why.

Is there another window coming up this year?

Defra plans to open two more productivity and slurry application windows later this year. The item specifications and their costs are the same in each application window. The total overall budget for each grant is split evenly across the application windows. If your application falls below the scoring threshold and is unsuccessful, the RPA will reject it. You will be able to apply again in a different window. If you’ve accepted a grant funding agreement (GFA) to buy items from a grant, you cannot apply again for the same grant in 2024.

How can you get more information?

BOFIN is hosting a webinar to provide advice on how to apply for an SCU through the FETF on 11 April at 17:00. Carter Jonas’ James Bradley will talk through what’s involved. John Cussans from NIAB will reveal results of three years of UK trials. Trevor Thiessen, president and owner of Redekop Manufacturing, will join to discuss lead times and provide background on the technology. Lincs farmer Keith Challen is running an SCU on his Fendt Ideal combine and will share his experiences.