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Innovation grant helps develop new animal slurry spreader for Cumbrian farmers

A grant from Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership (CLEP) is helping a Tirril-based agricultural machinery manufacturer to develop a better animal slurry spreading product for farmers to use.

Ian Cleasby, from Ian Cleasby Agricultural Ltd, is using an innovation grant of £20,000 to make a prototype of an improved dribble bar. The bar is attached to a tanker to spread slurry.

The CLEP grant covers half of the total cost of this phase of Ian’s project.

Ian said: “Farmers use dribble bars to get nutrients from slurry into the soil whilst avoiding spreading it onto the foliage.

“Current products are expensive, complicated to manufacture and maintain and don’t target nutrients where they are needed. I know this from listening to farmers and from working on my family’s mixed dairy farm.

“The ‘Dribble Boom’ prototype we are developing is much more cost effective, reliable and accurate. With grants to help farmers to buy equipment that distributes animal slurry with better environmental benefits, I am confident there will be demand for this new product.

“Also, by 2027, there will be a ban on farmers using a ‘Splash Plate’, an alternative to a dribble bar, to spread slurry.

“With CLEP support I have been able to purchase a slurry tanker, carry out field tests on a first prototype and develop a second prototype. This will be manufactured and tested this winter and after a few more stages it should be ready to market in 2025.

“Inventing a new product is a highly collaborative process. It has involved working with engineers, tech companies and universities. I cannot thank them enough for helping me to achieve my dreams.

“It is giving our company a huge opportunity to develop and export a high selling product designed, developed and manufactured in Cumbria.”

Ian’s previous innovation successes include the ‘Scrapenser,’ a combined sawdust dispenser and slurry scraper – now being sold in the UK and Ireland through Rickerby’s dealer network.

Jo Lappin, chief executive of the Cumbria LEP, said: “It’s great to see businesses like Ian’s using grant funding from the Innovating for Success programme to support their ambitions.

“The LEP launched it to help encourage small and medium sized businesses across Cumbria to invest in innovation or decarbonisation projects. We wish Ian well with the next stage of the development process and the growth of his business.”

The LEP’s Innovating for Success grant, launched in September 2022 has resulted in dozens of businesses being awarded a share of a £1 million grant to either support innovation or cut carbon emissions.

Grants are split into two areas:

  • Innovation: Maximum grants of up to £50,000 to part fund initiatives that turn new ideas into commercially viable and deliverable propositions.
  • Carbon reduction: Maximum grants of up to £20,000 to part fund practical projects that will help businesses reduce energy usage or increase renewable energy production.

Independent economic assessment by the LEP has confirmed that over a 10 year period, the Innovating for Success investments will deliver an additional £37million of economic growth, create an additional 97 full time equivalent jobs and save over 4,160 tonnes of CO2.

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