Farmers in Wales should start to receive the balance of their single payments from today (Friday, 24 February) and balance payments will start in Scotland and Northern Ireland at the end of March.

Guidance on the timing of the balancing payments became clearer last Thursday (16 February) after confirmation that the national reserve scale-back to be applied to all UK single farm payment entitlements is 4.2%.

Scotland’s rural affairs minister Ross Finnie said establishing the scale-back was an important step forward in the implementation of the Single Payment Scheme.

“I appreciate it has taken time to arrive at the figure, but it was important to get it right. Officials will now be able to calculate the final value of all eligible claims, which will include national reserve awards, with the aim of starting payments around the end of March.”

A spokesman said the settlement of SPS balance payments, and for some producers, payment in full, would be completed in a matter of days once they did start.

Carwyn Jones, the Welsh Assembly’s rural affairs minister, said the national reserve scale-back figure was lower than had been predicted.

“Finalising this figure will enable officials to now prepare for the issue of single farm payment balance payments.

We aim to commence these by the end of this month.”

There are about 1000 farmers in Wales who are still waiting for an advance, but they will now just receive one full payment.