Impacts of greening measures and flat rate regional payments of the Common Agricultural Policy on Scottish beef and sheep farms

B Vosough Ahmadi, S Shrestha, SG Thomson, AP Barnes, AW Stott

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23 Citations (Scopus)
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The latest Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reforms could bring substantial changes to Scottish farming communities. Two major components of this reform package, an introduction of environmental measures into the Pillar 1 payments and a move away from historical farm payments towards regionalized area payments, would have a significant effect on altering existing support structures for Scottish farmers, as it would for similar farm types elsewhere in Europe where historic payments are used. An optimizing farm-level model was developed to explore how Scottish beef and sheep farms might be affected by the greening and flat rate payments under the current CAP reforms. Nine different types of beef and sheep farms were identified and detailed biophysical and financial farm-level data for these farm types were used to parameterize the model. Results showed that the greening measures of the CAP did not have much impact on net margins of most of the beef and sheep farm businesses, except for ‘Beef Finisher’ farm types where the net margins decreased by 3%. However, all farm types were better off adopting the greening measures than not qualifying for the greening payments through non-compliance with the measures. The move to regionalized farm payments increased the negative financial impact of greening on most of the farms but it was still substantially lower than the financial sacrifice of not adopting greening measures. Results of maximizing farm net margin, under a hypothetical assumption of excluding farm payments, showed that in most of the mixed (sheep and cattle) and beef suckler cattle farms the optimum stock numbers predicted by the model were lower than actual figures on farm. When the regionalized support payments were allocated to each farm, the proportion of the mixed farms that would increase their stock numbers increased whereas this proportion decreased for beef suckler farms and no impact was predicted in sheep farms. Also under the regionalized support payments, improvements in profitability were found in mixed farms and sheep farms. Some of the specialized beef suckler farms also returned a profit when CAP support was added.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)676 - 688
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Agricultural Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPrint publication - 2015

Bibliographical note



  • Agricultural economics
  • CAP
  • Common Agricultural Policy
  • Greening measures


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