HC Deb 19 June 1907 vol 176 cc485-7

I beg to ask the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether the attention of the Department has been called to the unpromising condition of the crops in Ireland, especially the potato, owing to the long continuance of wet ungenial weather; and what steps the Department is taking towards making more general the use of the spraying process, more especially in the poorer parts of the country.


The Department are well aware of the present condition of the potato crop in Ireland and the influences of the wet and uncongenial weather on this crop. The steps taken towards the more general use of spraying are as follows:—1. One hundred and fifty thousand copies of a leaflet giving full instructions for the preparation and use of spraying mixtures are being distributed throughout the country. 2. A large placard to remind farmers of the necessity for spraying and giving details of the method has been posted at every police barracks. Copies of this placard have also been sent to the national schools. Altogether over 10,500 of these posters have been issued; 3. It having come to the knowledge of the Department that there are on the market in Ireland samples of useless and even harmful spraying mixtures, a special placard is being issued warning farmers against the use of such materials. All farmers may have a sample of sulphate of copper or washing soda reported on as to purity by the Department for a nominal sum. 4. The Instructors in Agriculture, one of whom is now attached to every county in Ireland, have been asked to give special attention to this subject during this season. 5. In the better off counties where horse tillage is common the Department are issuing loans for the purchase of horse spraying machines to persons selected by the county committees and who are prepared to spray their neighbours' potatoes at charges fixed by the county committee. 6. In many of the western districts the Department have for some time employed overseers, twenty-two in all, among whoso duties are the following:—(a) to repair spraying machines which are out of order; (b) to sell spraying machines at cost price, viz., 27s. 6d., to farmers the valuation of whose land is between £5 and, £10, and whoso house valuation does not exceed £3; to sell the same machines for 24s. to persons the valuation of whose land is under £5 and house under £3; (c) to sell to the same persons spraying materials at cost price; and (d) generally to give demonstrations in spraying as well as instruction and advice on the subject to persons requiring such in their district so far as time will permit.


Is there any use whatever in posting these notices at the police stations, seeing that the people never go near them?


I am not so sure as to that. It is the usual place for posting all official notices, but in this case they have also been sent to the national schools. We have done our best, and our instructors are at work in the country.