By FWi staff

THE full final rate for the 1999 Sheep Annual Premium Scheme has been announced by MAFF totalling 13.58 per ewe.

Producers have already received payments totalling 9.95 per ewe, and will now receive the final balance of 3.62 by the end of the month.

Two factors have affected the formula used to calculate the payment rate, resulting in a premium that is slightly lower than the 1998 premium of 16.

The low Sterling prices in the UK market for lamb for much of 1999 were more than offset by the strong Pound/Euro exchange rate, along with the high lamb price in Southern Europe

While the premium is greatly reduced, a top-up payment classed as agrimonetary compensation will total about 1/head.

Paid later this summer, this is a total 22 million of additional money to the sheep industry.

Reduced premiums, combined with the losses that producers may have sustained in the harsh weather last week, mean that producers will be looking to the agrimonetary payments as a much-needed form of support this year, said Amanda Downton, quota trader for Dreweatt Neate.

“It is essential that producers have the quota to support their flock as the UK market has failed to provide a stable return for sheep meat in the UK”.