31 March 2000

Suckler quota hurdles await

PRODUCERS looking to acquire extra suckler quota could face more competition when trading starts in June after EU-wide cuts in units held by individual member states effectively wiped out the UKs 2000 national reserve.

Under Agenda 2000 reforms, the reduction in the UKs suckler quota has been steered to ensure as little disruption to producers existing holding as possible. To achieve this, MAFF has scaled back the surplus national quota reserve, units siphoned from transfers or which failed to meet minimum usage rules, and the 4% flat-rate cut to all producers holdings.

Amanda Downton of Dreweatt Neate says producers looking to acquire quota are now reliant on the open market during the June-December trading period. Compet-ition could be higher than last year – when sales of GB lowland reached £250 to buy and £70 to lease – as farms compensate for the 4% cut.

The cuts taken by MAFF, after consultation with farming representatives, will leave those producers looking to acquire suckler quota from the national reserve to apply for next years supply which is already expected to be limited. &#42