By FWi staff
LIVESTOCK farmers could be potentially worse off under the new Pound-Euro exchange rate set on the 1 January this year.
With the removal of green rates on 1 January 1999, livestock headage payments will be converted into Sterling using the daily £/Euro market rate published by the European Central Bank.
Payments in 1999 will be converted using the exchange rate on 4 January of 0.71110 £/Euro due to the bank holiday.
This should have knocked about 8% off their value, although Brussels has agreed to compensate producers fully this year.
As a result, 1999 headage payments should be about the same as they were in 1998 if regional ceilings are not exceeded more than they were last year, said economist Gaelle Pineau of the NFU.
It is believed that headage payments and compensation cheques will be paid separately because compensation will be on 1999 claims when the total number will not be known until the end of the year.
However, Over Thirty Month Scheme (OTMS) payments have increased by about 1p/kg to almost 57p for cull cows and to 64p for clean cattle. This will change on the first day of each month, as will the calf processing aid scheme, although this will be fixed a month in advance.
It will therefore remain at £55.85 this month, but will climb £1 in February.