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The application window for the Single Farm Payment Scheme has opened in Scotland.

The Single Application Form (SAF) window opened on Monday (16 March) for both paper and online applications.

Scottish farmers have until 15 May 2015 to submit their annual SAF without being hit by financial penalties.

See also: Scots farmers print paper subsidy forms as RPA backup plan

Farmers, crofters and land managers must register on the Scottish government’s new Rural Payments and Services system, which replaces Rural Payments Online.

A Scottish government spokeswoman said: “All farmers need to register on the online system regardless of how they plan to submit their forms – whether it’s with the paper form or online.

“We are expecting just shy of 22,000 SAF applications this year. Roughly 8,000 of these will be submitted by paper form.”

As of Monday 9 March 2015 about 11,000 registrations have been successfully submitted with nearly 10,000 approved.

Register online at Rural Payments and Services.

Meanwhile, Scottish rural affairs secretary Richard Lochhead has confirmed 10,000 payments from the Scottish government’s £65.5 Less Favoured Area Support Scheme (LFASS) 2014 will start to arrive in bank accounts by Friday (13 March 2015).

NFU Scotland welcomed the announcement, saying LFASS payments offered “critical financial support” for hill and upland livestock farmers and crofters, farming some of Scotland’s most challenging terrain.

Farmers and crofters can apply for LFASS 2015 funding, alongside basic and greening payments, in their Single Application Form (SAF).

Active farmers who did not previously qualify for LFASS may be eligible for support under the 2015 scheme, which is still subject to European approval.