More than 1,800 UK farmers have applied for the EU’s dairy aid scheme, which will pay producers to cut production over the next three months.
The Rural Payments Agency (RPA) has published details of the number of farmers who have applied for the first tranche of the voluntary scheme, which will run from 1 October to 31 December.
The scheme will pay farmers the equivalent of 12.2p/litre and aims to reduce milk supply across Europe in order to restore balance back to the market and stabilise prices.
According to the RPA, a total of 1,849 UK farmers have applied, with the breakdown as follows:
|Number of applicants||Volume (kg)|
Over the next week, the EU Commission has to verify figures from all member states and work out if there is enough money in its €150m (£127m) funding pot to cover all applications.
If the scheme is oversubscribed the volume of milk eligible for payment will be reduced and future tranches of the scheme will be cancelled.
Sian Davies, chief dairy adviser for the NFU, said preliminary figures from the rest of the EU suggested the UK was one of the biggest applicants by volume for the scheme.
This was partly because many UK farmers had already scaled back production and so were eligible for the scheme without reducing output further.
Germany is the country understood to have applied for the biggest reduction in production – thought to equate to 285,000t or 285m litres.
The German government is topping up the basic payment, which has made it even more attractive to its farmers, Ms Davies said.
About 13,000 farmers in France are also thought to have applied for the scheme.
The RPA said UK farmers who have applied to the scheme should hear within seven working days of the application deadline if their application has been accepted or rejected.
If has been accepted, the agency will confirm the amount of the reduction they can apply for payment on.