Farmers in Scotland who are waiting for their single farm payment from the national reserve may not receive their money until late April or May.

NFU Scotland has expressed alarm that the Scottish Executive has said it would not start national reserve payments until the middle of April at the earliest.

It had been thought that the national reserve payments would go out at the same time as the balance payments.

NFUS president John Kinnaird said:

“National reserve applicants in Scotland need to know where they stand.

All they have been told is that the aim was to start payments by the end of March.

We now learn that payments will be delayed until well into April at best.

“For others that applied under more than one category of the national reserve, it appears there is no chance they will see payments until May.”

Mr Kinnaird said the executive also had to get ready to make final payments for cross-border producers.

Although these farms have received an advance payment based on their land in Scotland, they will not receive a balance payment until problems in England are sorted out.

A Scottish Executive spokesman said:

“To date, we have paid 92% of producers a total of £334.5m while the national reserve, in terms of new money to be issued to producers, is about £22m.

“We recognise that there will be some additional delay in making national reserve settlements, but expect the majority of these to be paid by the end of April.”