The number of farmers applying for Temporary Use of Land to Keep Livestock permits has surged as pig producers look to accommodate animals awaiting slaughter.
The backlog of pigs remains in the tens of thousands as Brexit and Covid-19 issues continue to affect markets and cause shortages of staff at abattoirs.
With pressure on housing, farmers are looking to take on extra land by applying for a Temporary Land Association (TLA) permit, according to the National Pig Association (NPA).
But the Animal and Plant Health Agency (Apha) has warned the extra numbers are putting the application system under pressure.
With the grazing season looming, the pressure from all livestock sectors could get worse, and applications might be delayed in the coming weeks, Apha said.
Posting on an NPA forum, an agency official urged farmers to make applications in good time.
“High work volumes and Covid-19 restrictions are affecting our delivery times and it is highly likely it will take the full 10 working days to process a request,” the official said.
“With that in mind, please submit applications in advance to avoid delays and to ensure we can approve your application by the date you require.”
She also advised farmers to send applications by email to the firstname.lastname@example.org mailbox.
This she said was because access to hard copy post has been limited or disrupted by Covid-19 measures and the fax system was not operating.