HC Deb 27 June 1893 vol 14 cc131-2
SIR R. PAGET (Somerset, Wells)

I beg to ask the President of the Board of Agriculture whether, in view of the unprecedented disaster with which many districts of the country are now threatened, by reason of the complete failure of both grass and hay crops, he will cause immediate inquiries to be made, and information published, as to the best practical means of coping with the extraordinary difficulties of the situation, and of preventing the otherwise inevitable sufferings of cattle from scarcity of food during the coming winter?


It is, I trust, unnecessary for me to say that I have had under continuous inquiry and consideration the serious difficulties in which agriculturists in very many parts of the country have been placed in consequence of the abnormally low rainfall of the present year—difficulties, undoubtedly, of a very grave character, the existence of which we must all deeply deplore. With regard to the issue of information as to the best means of coping with those difficulties, it must be borne in mind that the means necessarily vary according to the different conditions of soil and the particular circumstances of each locality, and my present conclusion is that we could not advantageously make any specific recommendations with regard to expedients with which farmers are not already acquainted, and to which they will not naturally resort where the conditions are favourable. I have arranged, however, to issue in the course of a few days some general information as to what may be done, in view of the anticipated early harvest, to provide green food for the winter and spring by means of autumn cultivation and the sowing of catch crops, where such operations are feasible; and if upon further inquiry I find that there is any other direction in which my Department can afford information or assistance in the present unfortunate position, we shall gladly do so.