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Volume 889: debated on Monday 7 April 1975

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asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what was the gross margin for a breeding ewe in an hill farming area in Northern Ireland and in a lowland area in 1973–74, and in 1974–75; what it is in 1975–76; and what is the net profit in each case.

The average gross margin for hill and upland ewe flocks in the Northern Ireland Farm Management Survey in 1973–74 was £.8·45 per ewe. For other flocks it was £.1340 per ewe.Exact figures for 1974–75 are not yet available. Estimates published in the January issue of "Agriculture in Northern Ireland" indicate that, with the increased rate of the 1974–75 hill sheep subsidy, gross margins for hill and upland flocks in 1974–75 may be similar to those for 1973–74. For lowland flocks average gross margins may be lower than in 1973–74. No estimates are available for 1975–76.It is not possible to allocate fixed costs to derive average net profits from sheep.