14 March 1996

Hoggs suckler top-up paid out

FIRST tranche of the £52m for suckler cow producers promised by farm minister, Douglas Hogg, at last months NFU agm has now gone out.

In England, the £30 a cow top-up to suckler cow premium has been sent to 95% of producers who have already received an advance on their 1996 suckler cow premium. Those who have not received an advance, perhaps because they have quota transactions or national reserve applications pending, will get the top-up with their 1996 balancing payments, due to go out next month.

&#8226 MAFF is planning to tighten up the usage rules for the 1997 suckler cow premium scheme. Last year, applicants had to use at least 70% of their quotas, but this year that is being raised to 90%, warns Simon Partlow of Newbury chartered surveyors, Dreweatt Neate. (Small producers, with seven quota units or fewer, will have to use 90% every other year.) "Usage" can include leasing out, but producers may not lease out for more than three years in a row.