By FW Staff
BEEF producers seeking to improve cashflow can use 1998 Beef Special Premium Scheme (BSPS) forms to claim on animals which will not be eligible until early next year.
Claims can be lodged up to two months before cattle reach eligible age. Forms submitted before the New Year will attract payment from the 1998 budget.
But producers must be careful not to break the 90-head claim limit, or exceed extensification stocking rates, warns the ministry.
More stringent rules will apply to BSPS-related field inspections from 1 January, 1999.
All male cattle on the holding will be counted and the total checked against farm records. All cattle subject to BSPS claims, along with some which are not, will be checked for correct eartags and documents, and that ear numbers are recorded.
The previous 12 months records will be checked to ensure compliance with retention periods.
A cross-check between other documents (for example, sales or purchase invoices and slaughter certificates) and cattle records will also be made.
Other changes to the 1999 scheme include new rules on treatment of errors, and removal of the automatic entitlement to 15 livestock units for holdings with less than 7.5ha of forage area. For animals born after 28 September, 1998, new, chequebook-style passports will replace old red, green or blue CIDs.
lBSPS claim form and guidance notes have been sent to producers who claimed this year. Claims are being accepted now, though retention periods cannot start until 2 January.
Rates will depend on the agricultural conversion rate on 1 January. The ministry predicts £84.32 a head for first and second premium, and £104.73 for bulls.
Extensification premium is put at £27.93; super-extensification at £40.34 a head.