HC Deb 22 October 1987 vol 120 cc889-90W
30. Mr. Robert G. Hughes

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what assessment he has made of the implications of the 1987 harvest for the profitability of surburban dairy farmers; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Donald Thompson

New crop supplies of feed grains should exceed domestic demand again this season, despite the effects of the wet harvest. Support prices are lower than last season and currently ex-farm prices are below the level of a year ago. However, it is too early to say how feed grain price movements over the season as a whole will affect the profitability of dairy farmers, and I am not aware of any data that refer specifically to those farming in the suburbs.

Mr. Latham

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make a statement on the current problems of milk producers.

Mr. MacGregor

Although operating under the quota regime has posed serious problems for some producers, the dairy industry as a whole can look forward with more confidence following the measures agreed by the Council last December which should bring about a much better relationship between supply and demand. Average dairy farm income in England and Wales increased significantly in real terms in each of the last two years and is expected to increase further during the current year.

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