Collecting suggestions for items that improve dairy cattle health and welfare

Closed 31 Mar 2022

Opened 23 Feb 2022


As part of our future farming reforms we will be offering a range of capital grants to co-fund farmer investment in items that support improvements to productivity, animal health and welfare, and reduce environmental impacts. More details on these can be found in our Agriculture Transition Plan. Defra recently launched the Farm Investment Fund which provides grants to improve the productivity of farms in a sustainable way.  

Now we are seeking your input on the grants offered as part of the Animal Health and Welfare Pathway - an all-encompassing approach to improving the health and welfare of farmed animals in England. We have recently published an update which sets out each part of the Pathway. Through co-design with industry bodies, farmers, vets, welfare organisations and academics, we have determined an initial set of priorities for each livestock sector that reflect some of the very best opportunities for improving animal health and welfare. We reached collective agreement on most priorities; some represent compromises between differing stakeholder views. Focusing on these health and welfare priorities will allow us to deliver gradual continual improvement across the six main sectors: meat chickens, laying hens, pigs, sheep, dairy cattle and beef cattle. These also include the priority endemic diseases announced in November 2020 in the Agricultural Transition Plan. 

Supporting better stockmanship will be an overarching priority for all the species types as it is a general enabler for good health and welfare.   

For dairy cattle, the priorities are set out below:  



Reducing lameness   

Reducing lameness to improve the health and welfare of cattle, increase productivity and decrease the environmental impacts of farming.  

Upgrading housing  

We will encourage improvements in ventilation, cow comfort, loafing areas, and enrichments such as scratching brushes. 

Improving the welfare of cattle at pasture

Improvements in shelter, drainage, gateways and tracks that support the normal behaviours associated with grazing and being outdoors.

Tackling Bovine Viral Diarrhoea (BVD) 

BVD costs the industry between £14-36 million per annum and raises greenhouse gas emissions from cattle.   


We are looking to offer the following grants for capital items that support farmers in working towards these priorities:

  1. Grants covering lower-cost equipment and technology items (valued roughly between £50 to around £10,000 each) such as crushes, automatic footbaths and automotive mobility scoring technology.  

  1. Grants for larger-value bespoke infrastructure investments (likely valued over £10,000) such as new buildings, improvements to existing buildings and farm tracks. 

We are now looking to collect suggestions of items (such as the examples shared above) that would be most effective in helping our farmers to work towards these welfare priorities. Your suggestions will then be considered for inclusion in our grants schemes, with a finalised list decided following engagement with key industry stakeholders. We want to ensure we offer grants suitable for all types of farmers and covering the latest innovations, so we hope you will take the time to contribute your suggestions. It will take around 30 minutes to complete.    

To complete this questionnaire, it would be useful to have the following information to hand: 

  • Approximate cost of the item

  • Link to the item if available online  

  • Manufacturer, make and model of the item

  • Example suppliers/ stockist

  • Details on how the item improves animal health and welfare in line with our welfare priorities   


The survey is completely voluntary; you are under no obligation to take part. However, co-design with industry is an important component of the Pathway and your participation is therefore welcomed. If you choose to take part in the survey, then your personal data will be collected on the basis that you consent for Defra to do so by answering the questions.

For information on how Defra processes your personal data please see the privacy notice below in related documents.


  • Farmers


  • Animal diseases
  • Animal welfare