8 August 1997

Selective cull cash shift call

REDISTRIBUTION of compensation for dairy cattle, moving some of the money away from the selective cull to allow higher payments for over-30-month scheme animals, has been called for by Ayrshire farmer Alastair Love.

He told an Ayr Scottish NFU meeting that cull cows going through the OTMS were now worth a maximum of only about £320. "Yet those with cohorts under the selective cull are getting eight times that level of compensation, and more if the animals are pedigreed," he said.

Mr Love knew of a farmer who had 50 heifers ready to come into his herd. He stood to lose 15 cohorts in the selective cull and expected to get enough compensation for them to buy sufficient milk quota to take all 50 heifers into the herd, rather than just 15 to cover the cohort losses.

"The whole thing is ridiculous and it is high time there was some sort of equalisation between the two schemes. The current level of OTMS compensation is derisory but there are people doing very nicely out of the selective cull. I would like the NFU to press for some equalisation between the schemes," he said.

But Ian Kerr, vice convenor of the SNFUs milk committee said there was no connection between the two schemes and it could be dangerous to suggest that compensation for selective cull animals should be reduced.

He said there had been 700 selective cull cohorts slaughtered in Scotland compared with 58,000 cows destroyed under the OTMS.