By Farmers Weekly staff

MAFFS recently released June census figures have raised fears that England has overshot its arable base area by more than usual.

In 1998 and 1999, over-planting reached 1.4% and 0.94% respectively.

This year, it is thought to be at least 1.5%, and perhaps as high as 2%, says Francis Mordaunt of farm business consultant Andersons.

“Its not a straightforward calculation, since the MAFF area includes some non-eligible land. And MAFF figures are provisional. But it seems that the scalebacks could be more than we were expecting.”

A 2% penalty would cut wheat payments by 4.34 to 212.92/ha, though this seasons agrimoney compensation, worth 11/ha, would be unaffected.

Scotland has already announced its new combined overshoot of 2.9%, and Wales and Northern Ireland will, as usual, escape penalty.