Ewe premium pay-out drops to just £1.94

28 September 2001

Ewe premium pay-out drops to just £1.94

SHEEP producers are to receive just £1.94/ewe for their second advance annual premium payment in October.

That is even less than the dismal £2.42 they got for the first 30% advance in July. The low figure is because Continental prices are still soaring due to the enforced absence of British lamb in the wake of foot-and-mouth.

Market managers meeting in Brussels on Fri, Sept 21 based the calculation on an EU average market price of some k4/kg dw – equivalent to 246p/kg dw. That compares with a recent UK price of 165p/kg dw.

"We are extremely disappointed," said NFU livestock adviser Kevin Pearce. "The sheep sector is already in turmoil and this further aid reduction is devastating."

Market price

Based on the current EU market price, Brussels predicts that the full ewe premium this year will come to k10.80/ewe (£6.65). After applying the 2.5% modulation in the UK, that will come down to just £6.48/ewe. That compares with £10.73 last year, £13.57 in 1999 and £17.45 in 1998.

Speaking at this weeks Congress of European Agriculture in Belfast, EU farm commissioner Franz Fischler said the forthcoming review of the sheep regime would deliver improvements.

The current proposal is for a fixed ewe premium of k21/head (£13), though this is likely to be increased when farm ministers finalise the package later this year.

"This new system will be more stable, predictable and much simpler to calculate," said Dr Fischler. But currency fluctuations remain one uncertainty for UK farmers. &#42

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