SCOTTISH MILK producers stood to lose £2m if they did not up production to quota levels over the following four months, this week 25 years ago.

Speaking this week in 1984, Scottish Milk Marketing Board chairman, Andrew Howie, said Scottish producers were still 1.1% below the cumulative quota level at the end of November and producers could afford to be 2.3% over quota for the remaining four months of the milk year.

“Unfortunately, in early December we are still about 1% below quota so there is still quite a job to do yet,” Mr Howie said.

He said that dairy farmers had reacted sensibly and responsibly to the imposition of the quota scheme. Dairy cow numbers had been cut back by 3% while milk yields had been allowed to decline by a significant cut-back in purchased concentrates with reduced input costs.

“The summer drought also magnified the planned reduction in milk output in July and August with the result that despite an autumn recovery production still fell short,” pointed out Mr Howie.

And he stressed that producers should go all out to make up the shortfall and reap the maximum payments which were possible within the quota scheme.

Mr Howie said that the manufacturing said of the industry had borne the brunt of the cut-back in milk supplies with a decline of fully 10% already in 1984 and an expected rise to 13% for 1984/85.

25 years ago

n A Christmas bonus of just over £209 was awarded to small-scale milk producers by the EEC. As part of the community’s scheme to aid the incomes of small producers, the lump sum payment was to be made to those who delivered less than 200,000 litres of milk in the 1983 calendar and were still delivering in August or September of the then current year.

n Animal rights campaigners were to stage non-violent demonstrations against factory farms, vivi-section laboratories, circuses, zoos and pet shops, to mark ‘the cruelty of Christmas’. National organisers of Animal Aid, Mark Gold, said the demonstrations would take place outside churches as well to try to persuade clergy to speak out in defence of the ‘voiceless victims of the Christmas period’.

n The UK fertiliser industry was finding it difficult to absorb the pressure of the high value dollar and increasing raw material costs and the average price of fertiliser was set to rise by about 5% early in 1985, after remaining fairly stable throughout 1984.

n The average rent of agricultural land in England rose between October, 1983, and October, 1984, from £79.57 to £85.78 per ha.

50 years ago

n The Aberdeen-Angus breed wound up a successful year when it added the supreme championship at Smithfield Fatstock Show to the Edinburgh and Birmingham top awards. At Smithfield, the breed carried everything before it as it had done at Edinburgh the week before and won every inter-breed trophy bar one. The supreme and triple crown for the three principal fatstock shows, a feat not accomplished since 1954, went to a 23-month-old A-A steer bred and exhibited by Wych Cross Estates, Old Place Farm, Angmering, Sussex, a herd that was founded about five years previously, on high priced females bought at the memorable Spittal-Balfron dispersal sale in the autumn of 1955.

n The year’s Scottish Dairy Show in the Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, in February, was revealed to have left a surplus of more than £905, compared with £301 the previous year. This was shown in the annual report. However, there was a loss of over £134 on the year’s National Stallion Show, which was £30 less than the deficit on the 1958 event. For the year, the scale of entry fees for the dairy show were substantially increased and income from this source rose from £1599 to £3050.

n John Hare, Minister of Agriculture, said that the government was to authorise the immediate importation of up to 25,000 tonnes of frozen pork from North America. Mr Hare said: “The recent difficulties have been caused by the decline in pig numbers which has affected all sections of the industry. Bacon curers are still getting a reasonable share of the pigs available, but they have been unable to maintain their output of bacon.”