12 May 2000
Brussels votes to end weight limit
By Philip Clarke
BEEF market managers have voted unanimously in favour of lifting the 560kg weight limit for all animals entering the over-thirty-month scheme.
The move has been welcomed by UK meat and farming representatives, who see it as an essential way of getting some much needed cash into livestock producers pockets.
“How pleasant!” said National Beef Association secretary, Robert Forster.
“It is a long-term positive measure that means every one who has heavy cows will now get full compensation.
“No longer will we have a situation where a man with 700kg animals will be giving one in every five away free.”
The change, which was accepted unanimously by the beef management committee in Brussels on Friday (12 May), will bring in close to 20 million annually to the livestock sector.
At current rates, OTMS compensation is worth 46.35p/kg liveweight for cows and 52.15p/kg for steers and bulls.
At the 560kg limit, this equates to maximum payments of 260 and 292 a cow respectively.
Without the limit, a 650kg cow will get 41.71 more.
“The commission proposal makes it clear that all the additional funding will have to come from the UK government,” said a commission spokesman. Currently, Brussels funds 70% of the scheme.
It will still be some time before the paperwork is complete, both in Brussels and London. But the Meat and Livestock Commission reckons that the revised scheme should be up and running from 5 June.