HC Deb 13 March 1918 vol 104 cc300-1

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if he is aware that many farmers are experiencing difficulty not only in completing the ploughing, but also in preparing the broken-up land for sowing; and, in view of the short time now available, will he take steps to ensure that all possible assistance shall be given with the greatest possible promptitude?


The reports received by the Department indicate that, owing to the favourable weather, all farm work is exceptionally well forward, but the hon. Member can rest assured that all possible assistance will be promptly given to those farmers who require help.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture whether the reapers and binders owned by the Government will be distributed about the country and hired to farmers who need them in order to harvest their grain crops; and, if so, what the terms for hiring will be?


The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. Reapers and binders will be distributed to the county agricultural executive committees, who will arrange for their working by the Department's horses and tractors. The charge for hiring will cover the cost of service, and will be in accordance with the rates to be determined by agricultural executive committees with the Board's approval.


May I ask whether it is, therefore, unnecessary for farmers who have broken up land, and who have not got reapers and binders, to pay the present exorbitant rates for reapers and binders, feeling assured that they will be able to obtain reapers and binders from the agricultural committees?


It is rather dangerous for farmers to assume that for this reason, that if it is a harvest which requires to be promptly gathered in, those farmers would have to wait their turn in a certain rotation, and it would be to their advantage to own their own binders and reapers.