Aberdeen and Northern Marts’ fourth auction of single farm payment entitlements saw greater demand for set-aside and lower value lots, the firm reported.

Just over 4000ha-worth of standard entitlements reached £1110/ha for 15.3ha units, while set-aside lots of 6.3ha units topped at £390, 2.5 and 1.6 times their annual gross payment rate respectively.

Meanwhile, broker Webb Paton reported England lowland normal entitlements were trading at 1.9 times their gross value, with fruit, vegetable and potato authorisations at a multiple of 2.2.

Normal entitlements in Wales were trading at 2.2 times gross value.

Northern Irish farmers are still waiting to trade their entitlements as the Department of Agriculture there struggles to set up the system.

To date, it has not managed to confirm the value of farmers’ entitlements – the vital first step on the way to trading.

Officials have promised to tell farmers the value of their entitlements ahead of the 2 April deadline which guarantees transfers will be processed in time to claim the 2006 single farm payment.

But broker George Paton said he would not expect the market to be busy, even if trading was up and running, because of the predominance of livestock farms.

“Vendors seem to want too much for their entitlements – more than they are worth,” he said.