To Roof or Store, That is the Question?

With grants for both storing slurry and dirty water and for roofing fouled yards available, is it better to roof the yard or increase your slurry storage capacity? 

The Facts - Roofing a yard will cost approx. £30/sq metre after grant (before planning permission). Planning should be reasonably straight forward as is the grant application and claim process if the Catchment officer supports your application.  The building erected can make the working environment more pleasant and keeps out the weather extremes.  You can put solar panels on the roof and use the building after five years for alternative uses including accommodating cattle.

Extending a slurry store will require planning permission and EA approval and if you need to apply for a grant to make it cost effective you will have to apply for six months storage and put a cover over it?

Let’s say you build a new store by digging a lined lagoon without grant but with planning and EA approval.  This will cost a minimum £35/cubic metre with no cover.

500mm of rain falling on open fouled yard 1000 sq metres in dimension over a five month winter period is equivalent to 500 cubic metres that either needs to be stored and spread or roofed over.

Cost of Roofing = £30 x 1000 sq m = £30k after grant.

Cost of Storing and spreading annually for the next 25 years will be;

500 cubic metres x £35 = £17.5k Plus £2.50/cubic metre (+ inflation) to spread x 500 cubic m x 25 years (£31k) = £48.5k Total No Grant.

Conclusion. The upfront cost is less for storing slurry but it will cost considerably more in the long term.  Five months storage may not be sufficient in future, the store will need a cover of some sort and getting regulatory permission is a lot harder for a store vs a roof.  If you go for a more permanent slurry storage structure more capital is required and grant approval success is another obstacle to cope with.

A roof is more versatile and adds value to a farm whether it’s in agriculture or not.  I would roof every time subject to the practicalities.  You have to do both but roofing more will mean storing and costing less in the longer term.  To assess your slurry storage requirements and design an overall system which is cost effective and practical, contact Gerard at or Tel: 07976 426420.