Agricultural advisers are warning that farmers could miss out on scheme places and payments as a major bottleneck for applications builds.

Three key schemes are closing within days of each other. Non-productive investments in tranche one of ACRES, the Organic Farming Scheme and the second tranche of ACRES close on 6, 8 and 13 December, respectively.

Tens of thousands of farmers are applying to these schemes, and Agricultural Consultants Association president Noel Feeney said advisers are “working around the clock” to get as many applications submitted as possible. However, he warned that not all applications will be completed due to the high demand for limited places and a tight timeframe for ACRES applications.

With only 4,000 places and upwards of 10,000 applications expected, some farmers are slow to spend hundreds of euro on planning costs if they are not going to be approved.