Calf housing grant

Following the closure of the FETF, the government is launching a new grant that can be used to purchase new calf housing or upgrade/replace existing calf housing buildings. The new Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant has a budget of £10 million and is aimed to to improve calf health and welfare, enhance environmental sustainability and introduce innovation. If your project meets these priorities, it is more likely to be accepted.

The calf housing should provide a good ambient environment and facilitate social contact through pair or group housing. The exact eligibility criteria will be specified later in this article.

Basic eligibility criteria

If you are a cattle farmer in England, rearing calves and managing 11 or more cattle, you are eligible to apply for the grant. The funds received from the grant can be used for constructing or improving calf housing buildings, provided that these structures are situated within England.

To be eligible, you must either be the owner of the land where the construction or improvement is taking place, or you must have a tenancy agreement for the land that extends at least 5 years beyond the completion of the project, in case your existing agreement ends before that time.

calf housing grant contribution

The grant amount available for application ranges from a minimum of £15,000, which represents 40% of £37,500, up to a maximum of £500,000 for each applicant business. It’s important to note that the minimum grant does not cover expenses related to rooftop solar PV panels, as per Defra’s guidelines.

For eligible projects, the grant can cover up to 40% of the project’s total costs. However, if your project involves rooftop solar PV panels, the RPA will only fund the purchase and installation of these panels up to 25% of the eligible project costs.

As is customary with other Defra grants of a similar nature, you are required to finance the project costs upfront before any grant funds are disbursed. Throughout the course of the project, you can make a maximum of three claims against eligible expenditures to receive the grant funds.

Vet Consultation

Unlike other significant Defra grants, for this particular grant, it is necessary to consult with a veterinarian about your project before submitting the application. Additionally, if your initial application is successful, you must include a letter of confirmation from the vet in your full application. This step is required during the application process for this specific grant.

calf housing specifications

It is clearly specified what the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant can pay for. The grant can cover capital costs associated with the construction of new calf housing buildings or the upgrade of existing ones. The following calf housing buildings are described:

  • A-frame buildings with 4 walls
  • mono-pitch buildings with 3 walls and one open side
  • permanent open-sided structures with igloos or hutches
  • other types of building that do not fit the above categories

This is nothing special. The key takeaway is that the grant only applies for non-movable buildings, that are securely attached to a foundation and are intended for use for a minimum of 5 years.

Naturally, the projects must meet legal requirements for calf housing. However, it is important to keep in mind that the grant is intented to fund farmers that solely meet the minimum requirements, but deliver higher standards for calf health and welfare. 

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detailed specifications


Calf housing must:

  • have a minimum floor area of 3 square metres (m2) per calf for calves under 100 kilograms (kg), 4m2 per calf for calves between 100kg and 150kg, and 5m2 per calf for calves heavier than 150kg – the floor area includes the bedded laying area, standing area and feeding and drinking areas
  • have solid, concrete flooring
  • include sloped flooring with a 1 in 20 (5%) gradient in bedded areas, which slopes towards a drain or drainage channel
  • have cereal straw bedding
  • have permanent external calf height walls or barriers to protect from draughts – these must measure at least 1.2 metres (m) high but may be higher depending on the size of calves and depth of bedding
  • include at least one enrichment item for every pair or group of calves to provide for the physical and psychological wellbeing of the calf, such as hanging balls or brushes
  • include temperature and humidity sensor data loggers capable of autonomously recording data over a defined period and storing data so it can be viewed after it has been recorded
  • have fitted, artificial lighting at a minimum of 50 lumen for each square metre (lux)
  • include at least 2 waterproof IP66 electrical sockets, 1 located at each end of the building

Please be aware that if you plan to expand your cattle herd as part of your project, the funding you can receive will be determined on a pro rata basis, taking into account your calf numbers from the previous year. The RPA will provide funding for 40% of the eligible costs that accommodate calf numbers consistent with the previous year.

eligible topcalf calf housing solutions

The newly introduced Topcalf Group Hutch is eligible for the Calf Housing for Health and Welfare grant. These very spacious fixed group hutches have a total floor area of 16,25 m², offering your calves maximum moving space. In addition to meeting all the requirements mentioned above, these group hutches are also standardly equipped with ventilation sliders.    

Topcalf group hutch
Topcalf group hutch

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    How to apply?

    Follow this detailed step-by-step guide to apply for the grant:

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