1 October 1999

Advance ewe premium now £4.81 a head

SHEEPMEAT market managers in Brussels have set the second advance for ewe premium at £4.81 a head, money that should be on its way to producers early next month.

The rate is equivalent to 30% of the predicted total SAPS payment for 1999, which Brussels currently estimates at £16.03 a ewe. With a first advance of £5.14 already paid out in July that would leave a final payment of just over £6 to go out next April.

But the actual amount is likely to be less than that, as the final cheque will depend on the value of the £ against the k on Jan 1, 2000, and will have to take into account any improvement in sheep prices in the final quarter of 1999.

There should, however, be some top-up available, as part of the agri-money compensation agreed for countries staying outside the k.

But the NFU is still seeking a review of procedures for calculating ewe premium which, it says, disadvantages UK sheep producers. &#42