SET-ASIDE would be between 5% and 8% for the next two seasons, predicted Francis Mordaunt of consultants Andersons at a special CAP seminar at this weeks Cereals 96 event.
With the north European wheat crop recovering from dry conditions, the coming weeks would be a key factor in determining the exact rate, he said.
Malting barley, with its attractive gross margin, will be a popular choice for the extra land, helping to spread the peak harvest workload. "This is important because, for some farmers with labour and machinery already at full stretch, the increased area of combineable crops could lead to harvesting difficulties in a wet year."
Looking further ahead, he predicted a set-aside rate of 10-12% for 1999 and 2000.