With less than two weeks to go until the deadline, over 10,000 single application forms (SAF) are still to be submitted by NI farmers.
A spokesperson for DAERA confirmed that 13,750 applications for area-based payments had been received by Tuesday evening.
Around 24,500 SAFs are expected to be submitted before the deadline at midnight on Monday 16 May. Applications can still be received up until 9 June, although late penalties apply.
The deadline for transferring Basic Payment Scheme entitlements has already passed and reports suggest there was the usual rush to get last-minute deals completed before midnight on Tuesday (3 May).
Agricultural consultants across NI indicate there have been no major technical issues with completing SAFs so far this year.
With COVID-19 restrictions now eased, farmers can meet form fillers face to face again. However, most consultants say this is still only being done if significant changes need to be made to maps or applications.
A department spokesperson said “no general problems” with applications have been reported and most queries raised with DAERA staff are about specific issues, such as obtaining online login details and checking eligibility requirements for particular schemes.
“Departmental staff are available to assist these customers with any questions they may have by telephone, email or face-to-face at a DAERA Direct Office,” the spokesperson said.
However, the possibility of payments being issued early this year to help with cashflow issues on local farms appears to be off the table, as it would require a change in legislation.
“The date for commencement of farm payments resulting from Single Applications is set in legislation. Payments in 2022 will commence on Monday 17 October,” the DAERA spokesperson confirmed.