Farmers have just three weeks to get their Single Farm Payment application into the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and just 33% of applications have been received.

The deadline for Single Farm Payment applications is Thursday, May 15 and, according to the Department, some 44,000 applications (33%) have been received to date. Of these, 34,000 applications were made online, while 10,000 postal applications have been received by the Department. Last year, 132,262 Single Farm Payment Applications were received by the Department, and 73,000 (55%) were made online.

Farmers are being encouraged to contact their Teagasc adviser immediately if they need assistance to complete their single farm payment application form. Teagasc has said that anyone looking for an appointment with staff on filling out their forms, must make an appointment immediately, or they may not get an appointment in time.

According to Teagasc the number of queries this year is well up on last year, and queries are more detailed than previous years. Head of Teagasc advisory service Dermot McCarthy said that applications involving leased land are taking longer to complete as these farmers face greater changes under the new CAP rules.

He said anyone with leased land should make an appointment straight away. Consultations between farmers and Teagasc advisers are generally taking longer this year as there are more questions on the incoming changes to individual’s entitlements next year.

Derogations under the nitrates directive are just being finalised by Teagasc advisers for farmers at the moment in advance of the April 30 deadline.