Single farm payment entitlements met strong demand when they went under the hammer at Scotland’s latest sale, with auctioneers reporting overwhelming interest in the trade.

The number of forward deals in England is also building as farmers try to beat the tight deadline for this year’s trade.

Aberdeen and Northern Marts reported that its livestock rings fell silent when the bidding on entitlements began, with standard lots – the normal entitlements that most farmers hold – realising prices about 2.5 times their annual value.

Scottish entitlements    
 Unit size  SFP valuer/ha* Entitlement price  Multiplier 
 1ha  €2200   £3800   2.5 
 30.23ha  €873.66  £1490  2.5
 7.06ha  €569.50  £1000  2.6
 7.65ha  €913.33  £1520  2.4

“We’re very happy with trading levels, but it is a very short trading window this year,” said ANM chief executive Brian Pack. “I would expect the trade to be exhausted by the beginning of March.”

ANM’s 3 February sale saw 2780ha (6865 acres) of standard entitlements gross more than £695,000, with the strongest competition from investors for the high-paying entitlements that unlock bigger payments from high historical subsidy receipts.

“A few buyers are swapping set-aside for standard entitlements, but most are folk who are putting entitlements on bare land as a farm investment.

“Some are trading up from lower-value to high-value entitlements and there are some investors who see it as an opportunity.”

The next auction is to be held at ANM’s Thainstone Centre on Friday, 17 February.