Be fair with compensation

THE NFU is calling upon farmers to come forward and sue the government if they have significant shortfalls between compensation paid for cattle slaughtered due to TB and their market value

Although the NFU has been advised against an overall challenge to the standard valuations table, which came in on 1 February, it hopes that an individual test case will bring about the necessary changes to compensation levels.

“We want to collect information on specific cases,” said TB adviser Alex Dinsdale.

Stags auctioneer Terry Hamlin said the biggest problem was with pedigree cattle and calved dairy cows.

The table lumps all calved cows, regardless of breed and age, together, at £632 a head for dairy cows and £495 for beef cows.

“That is ludicrous – this table makes a 15-year-old barren Jersey cow worth the same as a prime black-and-white second calver.”

For pedigree cattle the shortfall is even more dramatic.

“The top pedigree breeders are going to be very out of pocket,” said independent auctioneer Gwilym Richards.

“These figures are unrealistically low and we have got to have more categories in the table.

We also need some form of additional payment for the cost of closing down a herd due to TB.

We have got to have a fairer system.”

One farmer from the south west of England told Farmers Weekly that he was furious the government did not recognise organic cattle in its compensation tables.

“They won’t pay any extra for organic beef.

That steer was worth £1500 in my farm shop, or £800 on the open market – a 25% premium to conventional beef – but the government will only pay a conventional compensation sum of £655.”