HC Deb 19 July 1912 vol 41 cc668-9

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether his expert advisers share the view, publicly expressed, after continuous experiments and tests, by the nutriment department of the Institute for Zymo-technical Industry at Berlin, that potato-tops are edible by farm stock and have a food value equal to that of good meadow hay; and, if so, whether, in view of the fact that at least 2,000,000 tons are annually thrown away as worthless in the United Kingdom, the Board will make known to potato growers, by leaflet or otherwise, what method of treatment is necessary to enable them to utilise or obtain value for such produce?

Mr. GULLAND (Lord of the Treasury)

It is well known that green potato tops are edible, and in seasons of scarcity are occasionally fed to stock. But, with the exception of a few early kinds, the harvesting of the tops at a stage when stock would eat them would injure the crop of tubers. My right hon. Friend is advised that the haulms of potatoes would be quite unfit for stock-feeding if allowed to ripen in accordance with the ordinary practice. The full report of the work to which the hon. Member refers does not appear to have been published, and, as at present advised, the Board are not prepared to express an opinion as to the conclusions arrived at by those conducting the experiments.


Will the hon. Gentleman inquire whether the Board of Agriculture has studied the report of this institute at Berlin, which shows that after mechanical treatment there is very high feeding value in potato tops?


The Board will be glad to consider anything which may utilise stock.