The online application system for the Young Farmer Scheme and Phase 2 of the National Reserve was unavailable over the weekend due to a technical issue.

All online application systems are now available again, according to the Department of Agriculture.

The closing date for receipt of applications under the Young Farmer Scheme and the Old Young Farmer category of the National Reserve is 29th May 2015.

Thousands of young farmers have already applied for the Young Farmer Scheme to take advantage of a 25% top up of their Basic Payment Scheme.

According to recent figures provided by the Department of Agriculture to Agriland there has been 5,500 Young Farmers Scheme applications received to date.

The Young Farmers Scheme will include a mandatory top-up on direct payments in the first years of farming.

In the CAP agreement in June 2013 a provision for up to 2% of funds in pillar 1 for provided for a mandatory 25% top up on Single Farm Payment for new entrant young farmers under 40 years for their first five years of installation.

The measure is designed for young farmers to assist them in establishing their farm business and to address the age profile in the sector.

Latest figures from the Department of Agriculture also show over 82,000 applications have already been received by Department under the 2015 Basic Payment Scheme of which 57,000 have been submitted using the online system