21 July 1995

Sheep premium fears

FEARS over the sheep variable premiums influence on financial results were expressed by Yorks sheep farmer Henry Fell at last weeks Great Yorkshire Show.

"Anyone looking at their sheep account must be aware of their vulnerability with the premium at £17 to £19 a ewe," he said. "But for that money profitability would look very different."

But Mick Sloyan, the MLCs policy manager, forecast that the ewe premium would survive, although a ceiling could be applied on the amount payed out. He suggested the premium, just under £17 a ewe last year, could be as high as £21 a ewe this year. It was part of EU policy and had political and social benefits.

His one concern was the eligibility criteria being applied. "When payment is made on non-productive sheep, people react to the premium and not the market-place," he said, referring to those producers who run dry ewes. &#42