Over 20,000 applications to GLAS have been submitted to the the Department of Agriculture dedicated online system.

Minister Coveney’s latest target for GLAS is to accept 25,000 applications in the first tranche. As of the initial May 22 deadline the Minister is now 5,000 off that target.

However, this week the Minister announced that he would extended the deadline for receipt of GLAS applications for the second time to May 26.

Late last week, figures from the Department of Agriculture showed that to date over 34,000 initial applications had been created on the system.

The Minister stressed that there could be no further extension after Tuesday, pointing out that the closing date for the Basic Payment Scheme (May 29) was also looming and he wanted to ensure that advisors had time to process applications for that as well.

The Minister confirmed that, after the closing date, the Department will begin ranking and validating applications.

He said it is anticipated GLAS contracts will commence for those in the first tranche from October 1 with an estimated expenditure of €20m this year.

The Department had initially said it hoped that some 30,000 farmers would be in the scheme within the first year.

Figures from the Department of Agriculture show that Mayo farmers account for the highest number of applications.

However, farmers will have to wait until August to see if their application has been successful or not.