Despite an expectation that the value of direct payment entitlements introduced in 2015 would transition to an average of €333/ha over the seven years to 2021, it looks increasingly likely that entitlements could now be frozen at 2019 rates (step five of seven). With the UK government’s commitment to retain the current support budget to the end of the current parliament, the 2019 entitlement value on a NI farm would then roll into 2020 and 2021. It might even be applicable beyond that, depending on how quickly a new domestic agricultural support system gets off the ground.

A consultation document released last week by DAERA explores the two options up for debate – whether to freeze at 2019 values, or continue the progress to a flatrate payment in 2021.