Thousands of farmers who applied for a national reserve allocation on their single farm payment form have not yet returned an SP5e form, despite the deadline being 4 November.

The Rural Payments Agency has confirmed that although it sent out 17,000 SP5e forms to farmers in England during the first two weeks of October, only 4225 had been returned by 24 October.

Johnston McNeill, RPA chief executive, said: “We want to ensure that all NR applicants are given the opportunity to present their case in full, including relevant supporting information.

However, we need to urgently process applications and farmers can help us make payments as early as possible within the payment window by sending in the necessary information before 4 November.”

The SP5e asks farmers to provide additional evidence to support their NR application.

The RPA has said after 4 November it will only assess applications on the evidence it has available.

“Where there is insufficient evidence to support any individual category applied for, RPA will assume that the application to that category of the NR is not being pursued.”