Trade or not? Three weeks to decide

Not everyone will want to buy or sell these new passports to the single farm payment – it depends on cash flow and whether the farm has expanded or contracted since the all-important reference years 2000-02.

There may also be business advantages to trading, but it is worth remembering that without an entitlement, an area of land cannot earn any support this year.

Dairy farmers lumbered with set-aside liabilities for the first time, for example, might be tempted to pay somebody else to take on those entitlements so they can utilise all of their grass for milk production.

But before doing so it would be wise to work out if the extra income will be enough to make up for the lost SFP payments.

And nobody knows what will follow the current scheme. Farmers who have sold their entitlements this time may lose out if son-of-SFP is based upon the number of entitlements held at 2012 or earlier if the pace of CAP reform quickens.

But whatever farmers decide to do, the transfer itself takes up to six weeks for the Rural Payments Agency to process.

This means all requests must be in by midnight on 2 April, or they may be too late for this year’s SFP claim, which closes on 15 May.

So there is little time left to make trading decisions.

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