UK Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) claims for 2017 made in sterling will be worth 4.98% more than in 2016, when the value rose by 16.54% after the post-Referendum collapse in the  £:€ exchange rate.

The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has confirmed the exchange rate for 2017 BPS sterling payments at €1 = 0.89470, up from €1 = £0.85228 in 2016 and 2015’s €1 = £0.73129.

BPS payments for England are set in euros and then converted into sterling at the average European Central Bank exchange rates for the month of September. Claimants should start to receive their 2017 entitlements from December 1st.

The NFU calculates that the 2017 exchange rate is the most favourable since 2009, when it topped 90p per euro. It says the total 2017 BPS fund could be £82 million higher this year.

But NFU Scotland director of policy Jonnie Hall warns: “Although the weakening of sterling is good news for support payments and strengthens the competitiveness of UK exports, the downside can be higher priced imported inputs such as animal feed and machinery.

“As recent lending figures showed, farmers are likely to need every pound and euro in what remains a very difficult year for all sectors, with low prices, increased input costs and challenging weather.”