3 July 1998

OSR outlook bleak

OILSEED rape production faces a bleak future in the UK unless support limitation arrangements stemming from the Blair House agreement are scrapped under Agenda 2000 proposals, Martin Farrow of United Oilseeds told a Highland Show press conference.

The agreement reduces aid to oilseeds when plantings exceed the maximum guaranteed area and when the reference price is exceeded. A scale-back of at least 20% is expected for most of Britain this year and it could be as much as 30% in Scottish LFAs.

That would pull current payments back to £383/ha (£155/acre) for most of Scotland.

However, if the Agenda 2000 common rate for cereals and oilseeds is introduced, the effect will be much more marked, since payments start at just £253/ha (£102/acre).

"We will get wall-to-wall wheat," said Mr Farrow.