The number of SPS entitlements offered for sale has been outstripping demand in the run-up to the 2 April deadline for the 2014 claim.

Supply is likely to remain strong after April, as those holding entitlements for less than 5ha will not be able to claim under the new Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) in 2015.

Prices for English non-SDA entitlements rose to about £300 when DEFRA announced in the autumn that existing SFP entitlements would be rolled over into the BPS, but have come down since.

In England, non-SDA entitlements have been trading for between £180 and £220, and in Scotland an entitlement with a value of €278 is offered for £270.

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Following the 2 April deadline, holders will be able to transfer entitlements between 3 April and 19 October to make sure they are in the right place before the RPA converts existing SFP entitlements to the BPS.

Trading will be suspended between 20 October and mid-January to let the RPA make the changes.

Carys Williams from Rostons said there had been many entitlements available, but the holders of smaller lots had largely held on to claim for a final year.

“I think the 5ha lots will come on, as now we know we will be able to trade after April. They might as well put a claim in now as they will get a return from them.”
Carys-Williams, Rostons

“We thought there would be a lot of less-than-5ha claimants, but actually there have been many big blocks of entitlements,” she said.

“It just happens to be this year there have been lots of entitlements available and not as many buyers.

“I think the 5ha lots will come on, as now we know we will be able to trade after April. They might as well put a claim in now as they will get a return from them.”

Hugh Townsend of Townsend Chartered Surveyors expected a busier market ahead of the October-to-January freeze.

“We have a window of opportunity until October for people to sort themselves out,” he said.

“Watch out for the deadline because if you are buying and selling farms or reorganising land you have got to think that one through.

“But, until the detail on CAP comes out, we do not know. It may split the market, with one market up to October and a different one from January.

Mr Townsend also said the SDA entitlement market had been thin over the year, actually trading for a higher rate than non-SDA, while trade in moorland entitlements had been as strong as ever.