HC Deb 22 October 1918 vol 110 cc586-7
70. Mr. LUNDON

asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if he will state the total acreage of what is known as tillage land in England, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland, giving each country separately; and if he will give the number of acres of the total acreage under tillage in each of these countries this year?

The PRESIDENT of the BOARD of AGRICULTURE (Mr. Prothero)

If the first part of the question refers to acreage capable of being tilled, the Department have no complete particulars. In reply to the second part of the question, the area of arable land this year in England is 11,463,679 acres, in Wales 934,961 acres, and in Scotland 3,452,156 acres. I am informed by the authorities for Ireland that the area of ploughed land this year in that country is 3,240,710.


asked the President of the Board of Agriculture if he will state the intentions of the Board with regard to the acreage of tillage to be required of agriculturists during the coming corn seeding season?


The Board desire that, as far as labour is available, the acreage of tillage should be increased, in order to obtain an additional output of corn, including beans and peas, at the harvest of 1919. They look for every effort on the part of the farmers with this essential object in view.


Can farmers look to every effort on the part of the Government to supply them with labour?


Labour, as the right hon. Gentleman very well knows, is the guiding factor in the increase of tillage. Every effort will be made to retain the labour that we now have and, if possible, to increase it.


Is any effort being made by the Board of Agriculture to obtain the release of key men who are now in the Army for the purpose named in the question?


Most certainly. We have tried to get back key men, but the present is a most unlikely time for the release of men serving at the front.


Are we to understand that men now employed in agriculture will be retained?


I cannot give a definite answer to that. Every promise that we have made is subject to military exigencies.