ARABLE AREA payments for 2004 are set to fall by £11-14/ha (£4.50-5.60/acre) compared with last year.

The subsidy is set in Euros and converted into Pounds using the average exchange rate during June.

The Euro remained stuck in a tight range against the Pound over the month, averaging 66.68p, about 5% below last year‘s level.

Gross payments for cereals, oilseeds, set-aside and linseed crops in England will fall to about by £247/ha (£100/acre); slightly less in other regions which use lower yield bases to calculate aid.

A further 3.5% must be deducted for modulation to help fund a range of environmental schemes.

English and Scottish growers are also likely to suffer a small overplanting penalty (we assume 1% and 3% respectively – actual levels will not be known until the autumn).

That produces a provisional figure of just over £236/ha (£96/acre) for English growers, and £223/ha (£90/acre) for lowland growers in Scotland.

Their counterparts on Wales and Northern Ireland will get approximately £210/ha (£85/acre) and £212/ha (£86/acre) respectively.

Protein crops continue to attract a €56/ha supplement, which adds about £35/ha (£14/acre) to the cereal payment for all regions.

Richard King of farm business consultant Andersons said: “Although not welcome, for farmers who watch exchange rates the fall won‘t come as a massive surprise.”

  • Full provisional 2004 payment details will appear in Friday‘s issue of Farmers Weekly.