§ 45. Mr. Nicholas Edwards
asked the Secretary of State for Wales what proposals he has to protect the financial position of Welsh store cattle producers and prevent cattle dying on the Welsh hills this winter from starvation.
§ Mr. John Morris
The successful conclusion of negotiations in Brussels last week by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture means that beef producers in the United Kingdom are now assured of firm returns. I would expect this to be reflected in prices in the store cattle market where there is now evidence of an upward turn. Additionally, the hon. Member will be aware that the qualifying dates for the hill and beef cow subsidies have been advanced to 1st January so that livestock farmers will obtain their payments of these subsidies very much earlier than was previously possible. I am hopeful that the improved cash flow resulting from these measures will help those hill farmers who have to buy feed during the winter to maintain an adequate level of nutrition for their animals. My right hon. Friend's advisory services are directing their reports to advising farmers on the most efficient use of available fodder. The Ministry's veterinary officers are alert to the problems that could arise from poor nutrition in some areas and they have been asked to collaborate with their colleagues in private veterinary practice to help to prevent and control any such problems.