Sheep cash hit by Continents prices
By Philip Clarke, Europe editor
THE sheep annual premium for 2001 will be equivalent to about 5.60/ewe, in response to sky-high lamb prices on the Continent, claim industry experts.
The forecast was made by Meat and Livestock Commission analysts ahead of a Brussels meeting when the premium will be assessed on Monday (8 May).
At the meeting, European Union officials will recommend a rate for first 30% advance of the sheep premium which will then be ratified on Friday (12 May).
“Sheep prices have been forging ahead in France and Ireland, up 20% and 15%, respectively,” said MLC sheep strategist Jane Connor.
“But due to foot-and-mouth export restrictions, the UK has been left behind. This will really skew the sheep annual premium calculation against us.”
However, it seems that the current system of setting payments, which moves the premium up and down according to market prices, will soon be scrapped.
European Union commissioners are expected to unveil new proposals on Tuesday (9 May) to create a flat-rate sheep premium for subsequent years.
The flat rate premium would be paid in one shot, compared with the current system of two advances and a final balancing payment.
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