No penalties for growers
OILSEED growers are likely to escape any penalties on both their food and non-food crops for the second year running.
Latest figures from European grain merchants body COCERAL point to a 9% fall in the EU area for the coming harvest to just 5.5m ha. After deducting industrial and small-producer plantings, this will leave main scheme growers comfortably within the 4.9m ha maximum guaranteed area under the Blair House agreement.
As such, area aid will be paid in full, forecast at £298/ha for English growers, (though the exact rate will depend on the value of sterling during June and the effect of any UK arable base area overshoot).
According to COCERAL assistant, Bernd Gruner, the area of non-food crops has also shrunk, in the case of France and Germany by even more than their food crops.
This is significant because last year production was close to the Blair House limit for industrial crops, of 1m tonnes of by-products.
The EU commission recently published a regulation to scale back contracts between growers and processors should this limit be exceeded. But the latest plantings estimates suggest this will not be necessary for the 2000 harvest. *