Scottish Blackface ewes, flock standing in pasture, cattle grazing behind© John Eveson/FLPA / imageBROKER/REX/Shutterstock

Farmers and crofters in Scotland only have until the end of the week to apply for the first run of the Scottish government’s BPS loan scheme.

Rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing announced in September that farmers would be able to secure up to 90% of their anticipated BPS support through the nationally funded loan scheme.

The scheme forms part of a wider “CAP stabilisation plan” in Scotland, which aims to tackle the problem of severe payment delays and poor customer service.

See also: Scots in line for 90% BPS loans

The government has promised to start making loan payments in early November, but only to eligible farmers who get their application in before 20 October.

NFU Scotland said offer letters were initially sent to about 16,000 farm businesses and the union understands about 10,000 farmers have already replied.

Jonnie Hall, director of policy, said the response rate to the loan letter was good, but the union was issuing a “nudge” to those still to opt in that they need to act if they wish to be considered for the first run of loan payments.

“This is proving to be a difficult and challenging autumn for farmers and crofters and the reality is that a long, costly winter lies ahead,” he said.

“This loan scheme gives farmers and crofters the opportunity to opt in for a loan that will go some significant way to easing the cashflow worries that will already be building.”

The Scottish government has said any applications received after 20 October will still be accepted, but it cannot guarantee when the loan payment will be made.

A final closing date for the scheme will be announced in early 2018.

Glastir deadline in Wales

Farmers in Wales also have until midnight on 20 October 2017 to submit an expression of interest for Glastir Advanced 2019.

This scheme is the flagship component of Glastir, offering financial support to farmers to improve the environmental management of their land.

However, the Farmers’ Union of Wales has warned farmers they must be aware they understand what they are signing up to, as even a minor breach in the rules can result in hefty penalties and repayments.