28 November 1997

Extra cow premiums to compensate for cuts?

DAIRY cow premiums could be used to compensate farmers for the 10% reduction in milk prices planned as part of the EU Commissions Agenda 2000 proposals to reform the CAP.

The premium could be set using a base figure of £100.88 (145 ecu) and the average European milk yield of 5400kg/cow, according to a commission spokesman. Speaking at a Eurofarm meeting of leading European farming journals, the spokesman said compensation levels in individual member countries would also take into account national average milk yields. And a top-up figure to compensate for the lower value of beef calves might also be available to a value of £49 (70 ecu).

Based on those assumptions, the UK rate would amount to about £103/cow. But a final figure would depend on the actual base year used, said the spokesman.

He expected the suggestion to meet with strong opposition from some member states, such as the Netherlands and Denmark, where yields were very high. But if the idea won the approval of EU farm ministers, the package could be phased in from 2000 onwards.

To qualify for the cow premium, farmers might have to comply with environmental measures such as limitations on stocking rate and improved manure disposal.

New support measures will be independent of the present quota system which is likely to remain in place until at least 2006, said EU farm commissioner, Franz Fischler. "That does not mean we will definitely quit quotas after that time. If we abolish the system there is a danger more small farmers will end milk production." &#42

How dairy cow premiums might be calculated for UKproducers


Base figure£100.88 (145ecu)

Av EU milk yield5400kg

= 1.87p/kg

1.87p x UK av yield (5500kg)

= £102.85/cow