MOST ARABLE farmers will get more EU aid through the single farm payment system than they do through area aid, until at least 2009 – if they claim the 30/ha entry level environmental scheme payments.

“Claw back that income and growers will be looking at £104/acre total aid in 2005, compared with £95 this year and £101 last year,” Grant Thornton partner Gary Markham told last week’s FWAG conference in Dorking, Surrey.

honeymoon period

“It will actually be an aid rate honeymoon period until 2009, with total payments higher than now, provided ELS cash is claimed.”

But if aid payments were removed from crop budgets, as intended, many producers would find gross margins inadequate to cover machinery and labour, he predicted. Gross margins of £114/acre for average producers would be outweighed by typical machinery and labour costs of £126/acre.