Farm News 174

Figures from a national harvest survey show that cereal yields appear to be better than the original predictions in western and northern areas with the south east and East Anglia suffering most from the dry weather.

Farmers in the Welsh uplands, which cover 80% of the country, will lose 20% of their subsidy following a decision by the Welsh Government to abolish a top-up payment. The move has been condemned by farming leaders.

The EU has put forward proposals for reform of the CAP with the main points being

  • Direct support payments capped at €300,000
  • 30% of payments to be aimed at “greener” practices including 7% set-aside with penalties for non-compliance.
  • Increased funding for research & development
  • Financial assistance for new young farmers and small rural businesses
  • Confirmation that sugar quotas will end in 2015.
  • Support payments restricted to “active” farmers

Farming leaders and the Government are unhappy with the proposals and will be lobbying for changes.

The unexpected outbreak of TB in Cumbria, earlier this year, has led to a call for stricter testing of animals before they are moved into the area. Such rigorous testing has resulted in Scotland remaining free of the disease.

Figures from the provisional DEFRA June census show a continuing slight fall in the number of cattle and a small rise in the number of sheep. The UK is the largest sheep producer in the EU and third largest cattle producer.

The market for quality pedigree cattle remains buoyant with £73,500 being paid for a Charolais bull at Stirling. The price is the highest ever paid in Scotland.

With the debate on the proposed badger cull still raging, DEFRA is proposing to tighten up TB testing regulations by introducing fines for overdue tests. Farmers will lose up to 95% of their compensation, on a sliding scale, where tests are more than 60 days overdue. The proposals will bring England in line with Wales.