PRIOR to the special meeting of heads of state and governments on November 22 and 23, Copa-Cogeca, the umbrella body for Europe's farming unions and co-operatives, highlighted the need for a speedy decision on the European budget for 2014-2020.

Speaking in Brussels this week, Copa President Gerd Sonnleitner said: "The European Commission has come up with an ambitious plan for reforming the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) which will make farmers do a lot more for less money and which could have a huge impact on their production decisions and financial situation.

"Yet EU agriculture ministers and the European Parliament will not be able to decide on which measures to introduce until they know what money and budget they will have available to fund the future CAP.

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"Farmers need to make investment and production decisions well in advance, but with little more than one year before a new CAP will be put in place, no-one can tell farmers what the impact for them will be.

"We therefore call upon heads of state and government to take a positive decision on the future EU budget as soon as possible."

Copa-Cogeca is calling for CAP spending to be at least maintained at current levels until 2020. This has also been called for by member states and MEPs.

The organisation argues that the EU agricultural sector and the 28 million people who work on farms can make a huge contribution to economic stability and prosperity, but they need a strong CAP to make the most of this potential and to meet growing food demand.

Market round-up

United Auctions sold 875 store bullocks at Stirling on Wednesday to a top of 246p per kg and an average of 187.6p (-2.3p on the week), while 717 store heifers peaked at 222p and levelled at 181.8p (+0.4p).

In the rough ring 321 cast cows averaged 113p.

There were also 2475 store lambs forward. Top prices and averages: Suffolks to £56.20 and averaged £51.16 (-£1.62 on the week); Texels £58 and £55.29 (+£3.53); Charollais £61 and £56.07; Blackfaces £53 and £32.86 (-£2.35).

The firm went on to sell 4823 prime lambs at the same venue on Thursday to a top of £94 per head and 209p per kg to average 154.6p (+6.6p).

The Cumberland and Dumfriesshire Farmers Mart sold 4974 prime lambs in Longtown on Thursday to a top of £100 and 238p to average 163p.

There were also 7595 cast sheep that were easier on the week. Heavy ewes sold to £110.50 for Texels and averaged £64.66, while light ewes peaked at £66.50 for Cheviots and levelled at £31.01. Cast rams sold to £118.50 for a Texel and averaged £67.07.

Messrs Craig Wilson Ltd sold 227 store bullocks at Ayr on Thursday to a top of £1140 per head and 222.5p per kg to average £706.78 and 188.1p, while 129 store heifers peaked at £1110 and 216.2p to level at £679.22 and 181.9p.