Milk quotas and intervention purchasing have a limited shelf-life and are likely to be phased out, post-2013.

Addressing the Oxford Farming Conference, EU agriculture commissioner Mariann Fischer Boel said the commission had already decided not to renew the milk quota regime when it expires in March 2015.

“My view is that quotas are limiting the production possibilities of farmers. We should not give farmers the false impression that we will again extend the regime.”

Speaking to journalists she added that she would give clearer indications about the way in which they might be phased out once the commission had published its report on the dairy sector at the end of 2007.

Mrs Fischer Boel added that, within the 2008 “health check” of the CAP and 2009 review of the financial budget, the EU Commission would take a close look at the functioning of the single farm payment.

This would include a move to get rid of partial decoupling “not later than 2013”. If there were specific problems with things like the suckler cow herd, then this could be dealt with through the Rural Development Programme.

She also hoped to see greater harmonisation of payment methods of SFP within and between member states.

On voluntary modulation, the commissioner was adamant that it would be approved by EU farm ministers in the spring. Her hope was that a single rate would apply to the whole of the UK and funds would have to be spread across all three axes of rural development.

Her personal preference was for an increased rate of compulsory modulation, and this would form part of the 2008 health check.

Other stories from the Oxford Farming Conference