Farmers are borrowing from family members or dipping into their personal savings in a desperate bid to tide them over until they get their single farm payment.

A survey by the NFU has showed that many farmers have been left in a dire position because of the SFP debacle. The union said it demonstrated the human cost of the delays.

A number of farmers reported that they were funding the payment gap by extending their borrowings, with average rates ranging from 1.5% to 4% over the base rate (4.5%).

But a minority of the 1200 producers who responded to the union’s hardship survey said they were living on credit cards because they “daren’t borrow more from the bank”.

Many others stated that they were resorting to private finance arrangements or family loans.

The NFU said hardship forms continued to flood into its offices, which showed the scale of the problems the industry was facing.

Single Farm Payment Scheme special report from FWi