At the date of closing, May 16, the number of SAF applications made by Scottish farmers this year was 19,270, down marginally from 2021 when 19,515 were submitted.

Late applications will still be received by the Scottish Government until midnight on June 10, although they will be subject to late penalties. So far 61 businesses have submitted their SAF late.

The SAF allows for claims to be made for Basic Payment Scheme (including Greening and Young Farmer payments); Scottish Suckler Beef Support Scheme (Mainland and Islands); Scottish Upland Sheep Support Scheme; Less Favoured Area Support Scheme; Agri-Environment Climate Scheme; Forestry Grant Scheme and Rural Development Contracts.

Claimants of support are classed under productive agriculture or alternative production. Whilst the majority of claimants will undertake production activities such as growing crops or keeping livestock, others can claim through ‘Alternative Production’ which for payment region 1 means controlling injurious weeds and maintaining access to those areas for livestock and / or farm machinery.

Land described as permanent grassland needs to maintain existing stock-proof boundaries and water sources for livestock. Those areas classed as arable must not see an encroachment of scrub. Upland and hill payment regions 2 and 3, claimants must carry out an environmental assessment consisting of six elements: Habitats Survey, Breeding Birds Survey, Mammal Survey, Butterfly Survey, Vegetation Monitoring and Plant Health Survey.