One of the main farm organisations has complained that the number of questions farmers must answer to avoid cuts in their EU payments now amounts to a 'mastermind' quiz.

The deputy leader of the ICMSA, John O'Leary, says a further 80 questions have to be answered by farmers under new cross compliance measures.

Mr O'Leary criticised the level of detail that farmers must meet. A whole range of financial penalties apply, which could lead to a total loss of income for a farmer, he said. 

Mr O'Leary added that the Freedom to Farm concept promoted by the department is 'a joke' given the amount of red tape that a farmer must comply with in order to secure his or her Single Farm Payment.