HC Deb 02 November 1916 vol 86 cc1831-2

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether his attention has been called to the alleged advantages of substituting the mechanical milking of cows for hand-milking; if so, whether the Board have considered the practicability of the proposal; and whether he is aware of the effect of the adoption of mechanical milking in removing many difficulties with which railway companies have to contend and in facilitating the carriage of milk by earlier morning trains?


The Board have for years given close attention to this subject, and are well aware of the advantages to be-derived through the use of milking machines under suitable conditions. Farmers generally are also pretty well aware of the advantages and disadvantages of the machine compared to hand-milking, though there is a good deal of difference of opinion as to what is the best machine. Trials of different machines have been conducted under the Board's auspices at farms attached to agricultural colleges, and wide inquiry has been made as to the results of the use of machines in practice. Many farmers having large and medium sized herds are finding it an advantage to install machines at the present time, but generally there is not much saving of time effected by their use, and therefore the point as to catching earlier trains which the hon. Member raises does not arise.


Would the right hon. Gentleman consider the advisability of issuing a circular, such as the Board of Agriculture sometimes do, with regard to the relative advantages and disadvantages of milking machines, rather than hand-milking?


We have issued a circular regarding the relative advantages and disadvantages of different types of machines.


Is it not a fact that where machines are used the completion of taking all the milk has to be done by hand, or else it results in the drying up of the cow?


That is generally so, and that is one of the reasons why you do not save much time.