By Olivia Cooper

PRODUCER processors avoided paying a milk super-levy by leasing in a “massive” 70m litres of quota last year.

The Intervention Board has released provisional figures for 2000/01, confirming that both direct sellers and wholesale producers were below quota for the milk year.

It is the first time since 1989/90 that no super-levy at all has been charged. Low milk production was caused by wet weather, poor fodder quality and foot-and-mouth, says Jonathan Smith of BK National Quota Exchange.

Temporary transfers of quota resulted in a net gain of 70m for direct sale quota, and the sector ended 20m litres below profile. Wholesale production finished 263m litres below quota.

This years butterfat-adjusted output is also running well below target, 112m litres below the Charles Holt Consultancy profile published at the end of July.

And the re-introduction of the over-30-months scheme is likely to remove surplus cows towards the end of the year.

Quota can be bought for 16ppl for a 4% butterfat, while leasing prices have eased to 1ppl.