Farmers are being offered additional time to complete their Countryside Stewardship 2024 applications, as long as they were commenced by 15 September.
For farmers who have started their application, Defra said today that the Rural Payments Agency would "support them to ensure they have sufficient time to complete these".
The application window for 2024 CS Mid Tier agreements was extended last month, by four weeks to 15 September.
Last month, Defra said there had been 'some technical issues' experienced by a small number of farmers when submitting their applications.
Since the deadline was extended, over 600 further applications have been received, bringing the total number of CS 2024 applications to 6,000, according to Defra.
This builds on the 33,000 CS agreements successfully in place across England for 2023 - a 94% increase in since 2020.
Defra Secretary Thérèse Coffey said: “I want as many farmers as possible to be able to sign up to our successful CS scheme.
“This is why I extended the initial deadline and I am making sure that anyone who started their application by the deadline will be given the time and support to complete this.”
Recent changes to the CS scheme include increasing payment rates on both revenue and capital items, as well as simplifying and improving options.
Further improvements to the system are also coming up, Defra confirmed, including greater flexibility over when farmers can apply and how they manage their agreements.
There will also be improved access for tenant farmers and increased access to Higher Tier options and agreements.
On Wednesday, Defra confirmed that farmers who have a live Sustainable Farming Incentive 2023 (SFI) agreement before the end of the year will receive an accelerated payment.
This will be worth 25% of the annual value of their agreement, and will be made in the first month of their agreement.