A number of farmers who racked up additional costs due to recent snowy weather are still waiting for their Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) cash, according to the NFU.
The union issued a plea to the Rural Payments Agency (RPA) to make the payments as quickly as possible as it emerged more than 3,000 farmers had still not received their money.
NFU vice president Stuart Roberts said: ““The NFU has repeatedly and consistently raised concerns with the RPA over the progress and delivery of BPS payments, which are key in managing farm businesses.
“Of particular concern are those farmers who have had to endure additional costs caused by some of the worst weather in recent years. We have asked the RPA what more can be done to get affected farmers’ payments out of the door as soon as possible.
“Since the last announcement in January, the number of farmers paid has only risen by 2.5 percentage points. Over the past few years we have seen a fall in the progress of BPS payments after December. This is disappointing to see yet again.”
The warning about late payments came as the window to apply for 2018 BPS opened.
Farmers can complete declarations and submit applications until May 15, with the RPA offering a range of assistance such as local drop-in centres, online guidance and telephone support.
All applicants are being urged to check their online maps for any land changes after a huge number of mapping errors were reported before Christmas.
RPA chief executive Paul Caldwell said: “Now is the time for farmers to log on and submit their applications in good time. The RPA will be on hand with clear guidance and support throughout the application window to ensure the process is as quick and simple as possible.
“Those who applied online in 2017 will receive an email from the RPA on March 13 with all the relevant information. The RPA will also be sending a paper application form to those applied on paper in 2017.”