The new minimum wage requirement for farmworkers takes effect from on Friday, the labour department said.
Spokesman Page Boikanyo urged farmers to comply with the new wage of R105 a day, up from R69 a day.
“We believe most farmers will comply, but we emphasise that those who are unable to pay should apply for relief.
“Government has this mechanism in place to provide support for those who really can't afford it,” he said.
Boikanyo said the department's focus was to process the applications it received from farmers, but said it was unclear how long this process would take.
He could not immediately say how many applications for assistance the department had received.
Farmers seeking relief would need to submit their books to the department to prove their financial distress.
Earlier this month, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant announced the new minimum wages for farmworkers.
At the time, the Transvaal Agricultural Union (TAU SA) said farmers had no choice but to retrench workers and cut costs to survive.
The farmers' union said at least 2 000 farmworkers had been notified of their impending retrenchment, mostly in Limpopo.
General manager Bennie van Zyl said most of the retrenchments were due to farmers mechanising their operations.
He warned that the effect of the minimum wage increase would have on consumers and the country's food security were “unimaginable”.
Farmworkers went on strike last year, demanding that the minimum daily wage be increased from R69 to R150, and that a cohesive land reform programme be implemented.
The strike, which was accompanied by violence and damage to property in some areas of the Western Cape, was briefly suspended in December and resolved in January.
At the time, the Congress of SA Trade Unions warned it could co-ordinate “the mother of all strikes against bad farmers” later in the year. - Sapa