The Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs.

Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Find Defra funded R&D projects at http://randd.defra.gov.uk/

 

Grants for Farming

In 2023, more than £168m of funding will be available through a variety of grants. 

Visit the gov.uk web page for more information.

Related Organisations

Connected Content

In 2015, the UK pledged to be Net Zero by 2050, with the NFU striving for the more ambitious target of 2040. Net Zero is achieved when the amount of greenhouse gases (GHG) emitted is balanced with those removed from the atmosphere. This helps to combat climate change and reduce global warming.

In our first workshop of the season and as part of the Countryside COP programme we met to introduce YEN Zero and discuss productivity and land use as it relates to crops and GHG emissions, addressing the questions: What is the role of productivity in reaching net zero agriculture? How do we balance meeting food demand while protecting our environment? Should we be ‘sparing’ land for nature or ‘sharing’ our agricultural land with nature?

Farm-PEP aims to bring together all the sources of useful knowledge for Agriculture, whether from academic science, applied research projects, industry trials, farmers own trials or simple on-farm experience. Listed below are useful websites, organisations and websites that we know of.  Add any we've missed in the comments box or by adding as new content, or better still, as a new Group.  

YEN Zero is a recently established network in the ADAS YEN Family, with the overarching aim of creating a net-zero community. It aims to bring key players from across the agricultural industry together to meet the industry’s target of achieving net zero emissions by 2040.

The government’s adviser for the natural environment in England. We help to protect and restore our natural world.  

Catchment Sensitive Farming is a free farm advice programme funded by the UK government. It works with farmers, communities, and organisations across England to improve the quality of water, air, and sustainable water management.

IPM NET is a new initiative which aims to improve the practical understanding and application of integrated pest management (for pests, weeds and diseases) for farmers,  and inform policy design promoting IPM strategies. 

Tell us how you are improving your soils. Share useful resources, organisations and initiatives.

Share your views on how we can improve Farmpep.net

The Farming Innovation Programme is part of Defra’s investment in innovation, research and development. Defra is partnering with UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) on the programme. 

DEFRA funding in partnership with Innovate UK, which is looking to support farmers, growers, and foresters who have a bold, ambitious idea. 

The development of a forage network which will recommend a pathway to gaining optimum benefits from forages through realistic actions​. This project, which runs from September 2023 for 6 months, will: Bring together a network of stakeholders to understand the best approach for improving forage systems, considering potential opportunities and barriers to uptake​ Create a roadmap, which can be used to achieve benefits for livestock sectors through changes in forage systems​

Funding available for research and knowledge exchange in the UK comes from a mix of public, industry and charitable sources

The ideas behind Farm-PEP came together in ~2018, drawing from the developments of Agronomics, the YENs, AHDB's Monitor Farm programme and the idea of a 'What Works' Centre for Agriculture. 

We create diverse connections to drive positive change.

In 2021 Defra commissioned an ADAS led consortium to look at the environmental and productivity benefits of mob grazing systems in the UK. 

Henry Dimbleby's National Food Strategy, reported in July 2021

Roger Sylvester-Bradley      Tuesday 31st January 2023   It’s news across the world – the biggest wheat crop ever grown, yielding 18 tonnes of grain per hectare! This is fantastic, and laudable in all respects, but it’s no accident.    

Join us to kick-off the IPM Network pilot year, share your experiences with other attendees, tap into the expertise of our speakers and demonstrate the value of networks for knowledge exchange.  

A transdisciplinary hub looking to provide to bridge the gap between science and policy to achieve Net Zero

Projects funded in the first rounds of the Defra Farming Innovation Pathway have been announced b

Independent Review for Defra led by Prof Simon Pearson: Executi

George Eustice has announced that there willl be £12.5M made available for research and developme

Agricultural research is conducted by a range of organisations, from individual farmers, through advisors, distributors, manufacturers, charities, societies, supply chain companies, levy bodies, universities and research institutes.  This page aims to connect across these often disparate sources.

A new Defra forum which will bring together stakeholders to identify and improve collaborative working on shared issues facing the agricultural sector.

This topic refers to the whole food supply chain, from farm fork, and all the products and services that contribute to food production.

Policy plays a critical role in shaping the agriculture industry in the UK and Europe. Government policies can have a major impact on the way that farmers operate, the crops they grow, and the prices they receive for their products. Policy has a major effect on how land is managed and environmental outcomes.

George Eustice presented the response to Henry Dimbleby's National Food Strategy on 13 June 2022. Read the full text at the link below, or the Executive summary

With support from Defra we are exploring nitrogen metrics of the YEN dataset of crop performance, soils and inputs over 9 years. We've invited YEN sponsors to help guide how we analyse the data and what questions we ask.

TALISMAN and SCARAB were long-term projects developed to follow on from issues raised in the Boxworth project. TALISMAN focused on the economic issues of reducing pesticide and fertiliser use, whilst SCARAB examined the ecological side-effects of pesticides.

Agri-tech businesses, farmers, growers and researchers can now apply for a share of £12.5m for developing cutting-edge innovation in automation and robotics.

Uptake of plant biostimulants is predicted to increase because of high fertiliser prices, increased demand for sustainably produced products and the UK Governments climate and environmental goals.   The aim of the Defra biostimulants project, which started in Autumn 2023, is to determine the most appropriate methods to enable the effective and safe use of biostimulants products in the UK, to maximise productivity and explore the environmental impacts of their use.  

This project aims to bring some clarity on the extent to which commonly used tools diverge in their estimates of carbon footprint for a range of well-defined reference systems.

What is ELMs? The three-tier Environmental Land Management (ELM

For a chance to win a free ticket to Groundswell 2023, please fill out the full survey here: 

Defra produces useful statistics annually on the structure of the industry, which you can find at

ADAS and Defra are inviting dairy, beef, laying hens, sheep, and pig farmers to take part in a De

Article by Dr Julian

Help us collate the knowledge sources, organisations and initiatives out there that are seeking to improve the farmed environment

In February 2018, ADAS, AHDB and Defra launched the Grass and herbal leys farm network. The network is a partnership between farmers, researchers and industry and provides a platform to investigate the long term impacts of leys in rotations, such as: Quantifying changes in soil organic matter and soil health from introducing temporary grass/herbal leys across a range of soil types and rainfall areas. Quantifying subsequent changes to soil organic matter and soil health following the destruction of the temporary grass/herbal leys and return to arable production. Investigating the effectiveness of grass/herbal leys in controlling blackgrass in ‘problem’ fields.

Payments for environmental goods and services

How do you conduct and manage robust research and development at scale on your farm? What are the best methods for data collection and analysis? What are the best approaches to collaborative projects with researchers? Join us on April 28th as we explore the scientific approaches to on-farm trials and how to work more effectively with researchers.

PLANET and MANNER-NPK are nutrient management software tools that are freely available for use by farmers and their advisers.  

Get involved in the co-design of new policies and keep up to date with Defra's Future Farming & Countryside programme.

Interesting discussions on policy, farming and environment with Defra's Future Farming & Countryside Programme Director Janet Hughes

An ADAS report to DEFRA in 1998 highlighting key trends and research priorities for the sunflower industry in the UK Sunflowers (Helianthus annuus var. macrocarpus) are in high demand due to the culinary, confectionary, bird-seed and industrial uses of their seeds (and thus oils), in addition to the popularity of the flowers in horticulture. At the time of this report in 1998, the UK imported ~350,000 tonnes of seed annually.  Whilst sunflower can be grown in the UK, there are a number of challenges including limited drilling dates to comply with soil temperature requirements, and careful monitoring of a range pests and diseases that sunflower is susceptible to. Further risks such as a late harvest time and the possibility of sunflower itself becoming a weed in following crops meant many farmers were not considering growing sunflowers on their farms. Based on a survey of UK farmers (including both sunflower growers and non-growers), the key factors reported that would encourage more UK farmers to adopt sunflower crops were… To convince farmers of profitability Guaranteed establishment of the crop Earlier harvests Good disease and weed control More information on growing the crops This project provided a comprehensive review of growing sunflower as an arable crop in the UK.  You can find the entire report linked at the bottom of this article (including historical and market information on sunflowers) but some of the key sections are highlighted here. Note all information is accurate for the time of this report (1998).

The Future Farming Resilience Fund (FFRF) is a scheme set up by Defra to provide free business support to farmers and land managers during the early years of the agricultural transition. The third phase of the fund is now open for registration.

In July 2022 the Science and Technology Committee of the House of Commons took evidence on how to unlock the potential of agricultural science and technology.

A 1998 study commissioned by the Pesticides Safety Directorate to assess the non-target impacts of pesticides on non-target terrestrial plants (NTTP's).  'To conserve and enhance biological diversity within the UK' was a stated aim of of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (1994). Over 25 years later this is still a vital issue and the UK has stated its commitment to secure a post-2020 Biodiversity Framework as well as developing a 10 point plan for financing biodiversity (UK Government, 2022). However, a threat to plant biodiversity is non-target effects of pesticides - this is when pesticide materials reach areas beyond the target application area and affect the species there. Effects of pesticides on non-target plants can range from lethal (death of the plant) all the way to enhanced growth of these plants. Such varied effects depend on a range of things including the type of pesticide used, the concentration of its active ingredient and the sensitivity and spatial range of affected plants. Importantly, plants are part of complex food and pollination webs and so pesticide effects on plants can have cascading effects on the fauna that rely on them, and vice versa.

The Defra Pest and Disease survey has been running for approximately 50 years and monitors endemic pests and diseases in winter wheat and winter oilseed rape, along with accompanying information about agronomic practice and pesticide inputs to the crop.

In 2023, more than £168m of funding will be available through a variety of grants. This page links to a roundup of all the grants on offer in 2023.

Agroforestry has the power to improve biodiversity and soil health, cut carbon emissions and produce healthy nutritious food and sustainable timber. Do you want to create resilient and productive farm and food systems? ​Then this show is for you. The Agroforestry Show is the first of its kind aimed at bringing together farmers, foresters, tree surgeons, growers, graziers, advisors, funders, food businesses and agroforesters!

Sarah Clarke      Friday 3rd January 2023   Excellent grain quality as well as high yields were celebrated at the YEN 10th Anniversary Conference, with the Milling Quality Awards sponsored by UK Flour Millers. All UK Group 1 milling wheat entries were eligible for this competition, a total of 20 for 2022.

Wild-oats are a highly competitive grass-weed in the UK of which there are two important species: common wild-oats (Avena fatua) and winter wild-oats (Avena sterilis ssp. ludoviciana). Failure to control wild oats in arable fields can lead to high penalties to yield, seed crop contamination, income loss for farmers and reduced competitiveness of UK agriculture. Whilst herbicide resistance selection has been slower in wild-oats compared to other grass weeds such as Black-grass (Alopecurus myosuroides), it is still a growing problem and since this report was published in 2001, resistance has been reported across hundreds of farms across many UK counties.  Continuing development of herbicide resistance in wild-oats will limit pesticide choice and possibly lead to a higher dependence on environmentally 'risky' herbicides that are more likely to reach water. The objective of this project was to conduct and collate research on the characterisation of herbicide resistance in wild-oats with the aim of informing strategies for the prevention, containment and control of herbicide resistant populations. Links to the full project are provided at the bottom of the page.

YEN      Friday 3rd January 2023   Russ McKenzie awarded YEN's Innovator of the Year in 2022 at the 10th Anniversary YEN Conference.

Warwick Crop Centre is a national centre of excellence for research on fresh produce. We provide post-graduate training and specialise in research projects promoting sustainable agriculture, horticulture and food security.

Crop modelling is a useful tool in agriculture to improve our understanding how a crop grows in interaction with all external factors, including environmental interactions and the crop management practices in place. The idea is that by modelling cropping system factors as a mathematical representation, and incorporating real past data to 'calibrate' the model,  you can then simulate various scenarios and predict the impacts of certain changes on crop growth. One example of this would be a simulation of predicted environmental conditions under various climate scenarios to predict the impacts of climate change on crop growth and yields. Whilst models are oversimplifications of reality and can never capture all the complexity of agricultural systems, modelling has been a vital tool underpinning key agricultural developments and models are constantly being developed to be more dynamic, complex and sensitive. One particular application of modelling is in weed control. This page highlights the application of modelling in weed management and introduces a case study of a weed model from a DEFRA report.       

This strategy sets out DEFRA's 10 year plan to help pollinating insects survive and thrive. Published in 2014.

Advice and guidance on protecting animal welfare on farms, in transport, at markets and at slaughter.

We need more woodland for people to enjoy, for nature, to sustain our timber security and to help reduce the impact of climate change.

Create IPM plans for your farm

Analysis of Farm Business Survey

On Wednesday 6 September, we held a webinar for farmers to learn more about the funding available in England.  

The TB Advisory Service is proud to be hosting the second national TB conference. This is a unique opportunity to bring together all those involved in TB control ensuring a collaborative approach.

On Friday 26 January, we’re holding a webinar for farmers. During the session, we'll go through the actions and payments available through our environmental land management schemes in 2024. 

This guidance documents provides advice on IPM measures for pulses insect pests and diseases.

Help us to understand attitudes towards SFI schemes and IPM uptake by completing this survey. Anyone completing the survey is entitled to claim a £10 voucher.

Join us for an insightful day at the Oxford FAI Farm where we will be showcasing the groundbreaking progress of 'bigger steps for smaller footprints towards climate-positive beef', funded by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs’ Farming Innovation Programme Feasibility Round 1 Competition.

The phrase “Non-Inversion Tillage” (NI) as used in this review first requires definition. Any system which does not seek to substantially invert the soil profile is regarded as NI.

A simple guide to implementing a water management plan

Book edited by Roger Sylvester-Bradley and Julian Wiseman exploring the  potential for yield

Farming Futures R&D Fund – Theme 1 (Expression of Interest) This

Defra's policy document from 2018

Project report from FERA (James Rainford, Glyn Jones, Roy Macarthur & David Garthwaite) for D