23 September 1997
UK and France lose most calves in EU schemes

By Amanda Cheesley in Brussels

THE UK and France have borne the brunt of calf production cuts under the EU calf processing and early marketing schemes.

The schemes were set up to get calves out of the production system earlier, to bring beef supply during the BSE crisis more in line with demand.

According to EU Commission figures released in Brussels yesterday, 600,000 calves were taken out of production after December 1, 1996 under the calf processing scheme. Fifty-five per cent of them were in the UK, while French calves accounted for another 35%. Only four EU member states apply the scheme.

The alternative – except for the UK and Ireland – is the early marketing scheme, which offers premiums for calves going to market at around 85% of member-states average slaughter weight. The scheme saw applications for 900,000 calves between December 1996 and July 1997, an increase over earlier months.

The Netherlands accounted for about one-third of these, while France provided another quarter.

The Commission decided the schemes should continue until December 1998, following the increased effectiveness of the early marketing scheme.