The decision to increase Northern Ireland’s rate of advance payments for 2018 from 50% to 70% of claim value has been widely welcomed by industry bodies.

The Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA) confirmed this week it had received European approval to pay 70% of CAP payments for 2018 in advance.

It follows a series of adverse weather events – namely a combination of persistently wet weather and stormy conditions earlier in the year, followed by exceptionally high temperatures with little or no rain causing drought conditions.

Cash flow

The Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU) was among those welcoming the news, saying it will help many farms cope with bills during winter.

UFU president, Ivor Ferguson said: “This will help with cash flow pressures on farms as we head into the winter months when input costs on farms rise.”

The comments were made following DAERA’s confirmation of the advanced payment rate and marks the third consecutive year the department has been able to make advanced payments in October.

Ferguson said: “We’ve had a mixed year weather-wise, which has come after a number of wet years.

“It started out wet but in many areas, a dry spell during the summer months helped give a boost to many farm businesses. While in other areas, the hot, dry weather posed many challenges.

“The advanced payments in October will help ease some of the cash flow pressure for many farm businesses.”

Advance payments timeline

Advance payments will commence on October 16, 2018, and will be made to all eligible farm businesses in Northern Ireland which have fully verified claims.

Balance payments, or full payments for those not eligible for an advance payment, will commence from December 1, 2018.