Greater clarity and urgency is needed from the Scottish Government in delivering vital Basic Payments to struggling farmers.
The first batch of Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) payments was approved by the Scottish Government and arrived in about 3,500 farmers’ bank accounts from December 31.
But it has only delivered money to about 18 per cent of farm businesses, which is short of the Scottish Government’s previous estimate of 25 per cent, according to NFU Scotland.
The Scottish Government denied making this commitment.
NFUS added, with more than 80 per cent of farmers unpaid, the Scottish Government needed to improve its ’strike rate’ on payment delivery.
NFUS director of policy Jonathan Hall said: "Greater clarity and greater certainty is needed so farmers can plan. We need more money out to more businesses, and farmers need more knowledge of how much money they will get and when they are likely to get that."
Mr Hall said those without payments still had little idea of when funds would arrive, and a proportion also had no estimate of the size of their claim from Government.
"There is a significant amount of farm businesses which have no idea of the value of their payment. Every farm business needs an idea of how much they are likely to get and when they are going to get it."
The Scottish Government, delivering part payments, had agreed to pay a first instalment amounting to 75 per cent of Basic Payments and 90 of greening cash to each farm.
Rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead said the first batch of payments included the most straightforward claims to process.
“It was my aim to pay a first instalment of at least 70 per cent so I am pleased we were able to surpass that," he said.
In England, Defra Secretary Liz Truss was unable to give farmers any clear idea of when they could expect funds at this weeks’ Oxford Farming Conference, despite repeated questioning.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) announced on Monday 44,400 farmers had been paid by the end of December, just under 51 per cent of eligible payments, meeting its target to pay the majority by the end of the year.
But more than 40,000 farmers face ongoing uncertainty over when they will receive payments.