The Ulster Farmers’ Union has welcomed the long awaited announcement that the Manure Efficiency Technology Scheme (METS) will re-open on 31st March 2014.

METS, a capital grant scheme delivered under the Rural Development Programme 2007-2013, provides financial support for specialised slurry spreading equipment. The scheme will provide financial support to farm businesses of up to 40 per cent of the cost of eligible items purchased.

UFU President Harry Sinclair said; “It is very welcome news that the METS is re-opening at the end of this month (March), especially as we have been pushing for this to happen for some time now. The METS is an excellent use of Rural Development funds as it delivers benefits to both farmers and the environment by assisting farmers in meeting environmental regulations, ensuring slurry spreading techniques are modernised, water quality is protected, and it helps farmers to deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The addition of the trailing shoe and trailing hose spreading equipment for use with existing umbilical systems to the eligible items list is also good news.

“The UFU is encouraging members to apply to the scheme and are pleased that DARD will be accepting both individual and collective applications, which should help more farmers benefit from the scheme. Farmers are also encouraged to take advantage of the information workshops to be run by CAFRE so they can find out more about the scheme, eligible items and how to apply.

“With ever increasing pressure from legislation and from retailers to reduce the emissions from the agricultural sector METS provides a vital support for farmers. In the past the EU Commission has looked favourably on METS when reviewing Northern Ireland’s Nitrates Action Programme, so this third Tranche will stand us in good stead as there is a review currently underway.”

The closing date for applications is 25 April 2014 and DARD is awarding extra points to applications made on-line. DARD has also produced a step-by-step guide for applications which can be found at along with information about the CAFRE workshops.