8 November 1996

Steady market for suckler quotas

GB LOWLAND suckler cow quota is leasing for about £30/unit and selling for about £115.

For less favoured area samples, meanwhile, the lease trade is about £25, with sales at £100.

"There is not much fluctuation in the market on a day-to-day or even week-to-week basis, but there are big disparities between areas," says Nigel Astbury of Townsend.

In order to secure the advance premium payment, farmers may be keen to submit their claim as soon as possible, sometimes at the expense of shopping around for the best deal, he says.

Although some people have been forced to sell quota, having leased it out for three years,this has not affected prices, he adds.

Mark Bray of ADAS agrees, suggesting there is more demand for sale quota than in the past.

Undermined confidence

"In the early years of the system, most quota traded was leased, rather than sold, as uncertainty about the future of the regime undermined confidence in buying. But now about one-third or more of transactions seem to be sales."

With the end of the trading period two months away, some commentators say farmers are delaying entering the market, hoping prices will fall.

But the danger of this, warn agents, is of failing to notify MAFF of quota transfers before submitting premium claim forms, the deadline for the latter is Dec 6. Such an oversight could put a claim in jeopardy.