BEEF producers in England and Wales could escape any scale-back of beef special premium this year, with claims currently running about 20% down on 1994 levels.
At 439,220 claims to Jun 2, producers had used up 47% of the regional ceiling and, if last years trend is followed, the total should still be within the 940,380 limit.
This would allow the full £85.82 BSP and a £28.61 extensification premium to be paid. Last year, both payments were scaled back 9.3% (and 22.3% in Scotland).
Some have been surprised by the lower claims figure, given that the December census showed a 2.5% increase in the beef herd. But the MLC explains that last years figures were inflated by an extra 100,000 cattle which had been deferred from 1993. More importantly, this years stocking limit is also tighter at 2.5 head a hectare (1/acre) , compared with 3 head a hectare (1.2/acre) in 1994. *