Almost a thousand farmers in Wales will lose part of their subsidy payment because they failed to meet the 15 May deadline for submitting their Single Application Form.
The Welsh government confirmed that 16,739 forms had been submitted ahead of the deadline at midnight on Friday, leaving about 900 outstanding.
From 18 May, when the penalty system kicked in, these farmers will lose 1% of their total subsidy payment daily.
Some 73% of the forms received were submitted online (12,204) while 27% (4,535) were completed on paper.
The reshaping of the Basic Payment System (BPS) in Wales has caused a headache for farmers, with farming unions reporting that the form took at least twice as long to complete compared with previous years.
The main areas of concern surrounded the additional measuring needed to exclude land areas with tree densities greater than 100 trees/hectare – the so-called ineligible features rule – and there were additional mapping requirements associated with greening. Farmers in Glastir also had to cross-check between Pillar 1 and Pillar 2 schemes.
NFU Cymru president Stephen James believed it was inevitable that errors would creep in. “The additional complexity of the form this year, the introduction of a number of new elements and the extreme pressure and long hours that everyone worked under to ensure submission of the form by the 15 May deadline significantly increased the risk of unintentional errors creeping in to this year’s form,’’ he said.
“We would request that the deputy farm minister [Rebbecca Evans] provides reassurance to the industry that her department will take this into account when validating forms and provide opportunity for corrections to be made without penalty.”