Farmers have been pleasantly surprised to find that partial single farm payments do seem to be arriving in their bank accounts.

The Rural Payments Agency has confirmed that the first lump of interim payments money was released to 1,000 customers on Friday (5 May) and a further 30,000 claims were processed over the weekend.

It means that by close of play on 8 May of 89,662 customers had been paid a total of £1.28 billion – 85% of the £1.5bn owed to the farming industry. The money should either be in farmers’ accounts now or will arrive in the couple of days.

In a statement the RPA said the partial payments represented an estimated 80% of the Single Payment Scheme element of a farmer’s claim.

A final settlement payment and payment statement would follow once validation on their claims is complete.

“RPA is now devoting full resources to making the residual payments as soon as possible to recipients of partial payments, and paying the 31,000 customers who have not yet received any money,” it said.

“Of this 31,000 customers, 26,000 are claimants due to receive less than €1,000 (or £682). The other highest priority is for RPA to focus on the 5,000 claims above that amount, which in some cases require more complex resolution processes.”