8 December 2000
Bonemeal ban to cost 100m

By FWi staff

FARM suppliers forecast that the European ban on meat and bonemeal (MBM) will add 100 million to the annual feed bill for British livestock producers.

MBM – widely blamed for spreading BSE – will be banned from European animal feed for six months from 1 January, in an effort to combat the disease.

Although MBM has been outlawed in Britain since 1996, the extension of the ban to the Continent will have big implications for British livestock producers.

The price of alternative protein sources has soared as European producers scramble to secure feed for over-wintered livestock.

Soyameal prices have climbed to a high of 193/t before easing back slightly to settle at 192, reports KW Agriculture. Rapemeal prices have also risen.

The supply trade body UKASTA forecasts that the knock-on effect of the MBM ban will add 100m a year to UK feed bills.

But UK agriculture minister Nick Brown and National Farmers Union president Ben Gill believe that confidence in beef must be restored.

Mr Brown said the MBM ban was a “powerful public protection measure … designed to protect the public and restore confidence in beef across Europe”.

Mr Gill said it was a “a valuable step forward in the process of re-building consumer confidence in beef on the Continent and in restoring beef sales”.

The fact that fishmeal could still be fed to pigs and poultry would help take the steam out of the soya and rapemeal markets, Mr Gill added.

Arable support payments should be enhanced so farmers would grow more crops such as beans and peas to meet the demand for alternative proteins, he said.

Brussels will examine ways of boosting protein crops and consider further compensation measures to help producers cope with the adverse market situation.

The European farmers body COPA has called on European Union leaders at a summit at Nice this weekend to fund compensation for producers hit by BSE.