FARMERS IN England are unlikely to be paid their single farm payment before February 2006, according to the Rural Payments Agency.

The RPA has confirmed that the payment window opens on Dec 1, 2005 but Feb 2006 “is the earliest date to which farmers, their financial advisers and banks should plan”.

A statement from the agency said the objective had always been to make as many payments as early as practicable and that remained the case.

But the NFU condemned the news, claiming that the announcement “let down the farming industry”.