DEFRA HAS published more details of a plan to improve the way livestock compensation payments are made in the future.

Officials are hoping it will iron out the wide differences in the way that breeding and progeny pigs were valued for compensation during the 2001 Foot-and-mouth outbreak.

At the height of the epidemic, a series of “standard values” were introduced to try and speed up the valuation process.

They valued breeding sows at £130, breeding gilts at £190, cull sows at £80 and young piglets to finishers in the £18-55 range.

In most cases, producers went to independent valuers because the standard values fell below market prices, especially for pedigree and high health herds.

DEFRA‘s latest plan is to base compensation payments on a regularly updated table of set values for each category of animal.

These compensation payments will apply to all notifiable diseases including Classical Swine Fever and foot-and-mouth.

Pig producers with high value breeding stock could seek “pre-valuation” figures which would form the basis of compensation payments instead of the standard values.

Another major change involves the appointment of valuers, who would no longer be nominated by the farmer.

Under the new proposals all valuers will be directly appointed by DEFRA, reporting back to a panel of four Monitor Valuers.

Further proposals are likely to include some form of national insurance cover to contribute towards compulsory slaughter and associated costs.

The cost of this insurance could be met by a new levy on hard-pressed producers who are already facing point of slaughter deductions of up to £2.50 per pig.