Mounting fears that full single farm payment receipts in England may be delayed beyond February could mean that entitlement transfers will not be completed before the 15 May cut-off date.

And discrepancies on the forms coming back from the Rural Payments Agency would lead to further delays, said broker Jonathan Smith of Bruton Knowles.

“If the timescale slips, the window will get smaller and smaller.”

With six weeks needed for the RPA to process transfer forms, the last date on which they can be submitted to make a claim in 2006 is 3 April.

Problems

The problem is even worse for authorised entitlements, where two sales may be necessary to transfer them back to the landlord, then on to the new tenant.

“It looks as if that’s going to be impossible this year, forcing the landlord to be the farmer,” said Francis Mordaunt of Andersons.