LEADING BANKS are forecasting a 1bn rise in agricultural lending in autumn 2005 as farmers cover what could be a lengthy gap between the last IACS receipt and the first single farm payment cheque.

“The payment window for the first single farm payment cheque is Dec 1, 2005, to June 2006, but it is not yet known exactly when it will arrive,” said Barclays agricultural manager Euryn Jones at the Smithfield Show.

“Assuming IACS payments are received at the same time as last year, there could be a period of up to 18 months when farmers need to ensure they have the facilities in their banks to cope.” And, while arable farmers were used to receiving support payments in a single lump sum, beef producers would have to co-ordinate their businesses to cope with a yearly cheque, he added.