13 November 1998

Durum contracts for 1999 available

CONTRACTS to grow durum wheat for the 1999 harvest season under the EUs revised support arrangements are still available from an Essex merchant.

After hard lobbying, the EU has agreed to allow 5000ha (12,500 acres) in the UK into the durum wheat scheme.

"Under the new deal UK durum is supported by a special aid payment worth £110/ha on top of the cereal payment of £241.72/ha," says Ian Lowe of Bishops Stortford-based Harlow Agricultural Merchants. "So far we have signed contracts for about three-quarters of the allocation, mostly from previous growers. But contracts for 1200ha are still up for grabs."

The company is looking for growers east of a line between Hull and the Isle of Wight. Durum should be treated like alternative wheat, being drilled between the end of October and March. &#42