Ewe payments due
SHEEP farmers will receive the second advance of the 1999 sheep annual premium, worth £4.81/ewe, in the next few days, says MAFF.
This brings the total paid so far to £9.95/ewe. The final balancing payment will be made in January. Latest lamb price forecasts suggest a final payment of just over £5, taking the total to £15, says the Meat and Livestock Commission.
However, that balance will be calculated on the k:£ exchange rate on the final day of the sheep marketing year, and the MLC has assumed k1 will be worth 66p. Last years final payment was based on k1=71p.
Producers can expect about 48p/ewe based on the 1998 application in transitional agrimoney compensation and the final payment, says Francis Mordaunt of farm business consultants Andersons.
"And there will almost certainly be further compensation on the table from Brussels to offset the effect of very strong currencies which appreciate in value. The £ has done just that, but we will have to wait and see if the agriculture minister applies for it.
"Given the rough time the sheep sector has had, we hope he will. It might be worth 50p/ewe, or £1/ewe if matched by national funding.
"The problem as always, is that because of the budget rebate problem, the UK Treasury ends up footing most of the bill, so the minister may not be able extract it from the Treasury."