HC Deb 15 March 1926 vol 193 cc20-3

asked the Minister of Agriculture the amount of wheat and wheat, flour imported into this country during 1925 and the countries from which it was exported, together with the average price of wheat per quarter of 4½ cwts., and flour per sack of 280 lbs. received from each country?


As the reply is in the form of a statistical statement, I propose, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the statement:

The quantities and average declared values of wheat and wheat flour imported into Great Britain and Northern Ireland during 1925, distinguishing the countries of origin, were as follows:

1. Wheat.
From Imports. Average declared value per 504 lbs
Cwts. Quarters of 504 lbs.
s. d.
United States 27,205,333 6,045,630 63 7
Argentina 11,960,128 2,657,806 64 7
British India 7,324,150 1,627,589 64 9
Australia 16,305,958 3,623,546 64 5
Canada 29,818,689 6,626,375 61 11
Other Countries 5,119,087 1,137,575 56 4
Total 97,733,345 21,718,521 63 0

2. Wheat Meal and Flour.
From Imports. Average declared value per 280 lbs.
Cwts. Sacks of 280 lbs.
s. d.
France 58,580 23,432 41 1
United States 2,759,740 1,103,896 47 2
Argentina 409,758 163,903 29 11
Australia 1,487,474 594,990 45 5
Canada 4,220,134 1,688,054 46 1
Other Countries 186,178 74,471 34 2
Total 9,121,864 3,648,746 45 4
55. Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

asked the Minister of Agriculture if, in placing contracts for flour, bread, or biscuits, he will insert a Clause to ensure a proportion of British grain being used; and if he will consult with his colleagues with a view of a similar Clause being inserted in all Government contracts?


No such contracts are made by my Department. I will consider the suggestion made by my hon. and gallant Friend, but I see considerable practical difficulties in the proposal.


asked the Minister of Agriculture the total amount of wheat grown in the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland during 1925; the average market price obtained; and the amount used for milling, seeding, feeding, and malting, respectively?


As the reply is rather long and contains a number of figures, I propose, with my hon. and gallant Friend's permission, to circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Following is the reply:

The production of wheat in 1925 in England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland was a follows:

England and Wales 1,360,000
Scotland 54,000
Northern Ireland 3,000
United Kingdom 1,417,000

The average price of British wheat in England and Wales as ascertained under the Corn Returns Act, 1882, and the Corn Sales Act, 1921, during the present season (September, 1925, to February, 1926, both inclusive) was 11s. 6d. per cwt. or 51s. 9d. per quarter of 504 lbs.

As far as England and Wales are concerned, it is estimated that about two-thirds of the home crop is milled, while about 10 per cent. is used for seed and 15 per cent. for poultry food and other purposes, the remainder being tail corn and screenings. I am not aware whether any wheat is used for malting, but in any case the amount so used must be very small.

53. Lieut.-Colonel HENEAGE

asked the Minister of Agriculture if experiments have been carried out to diminish the water content in British wheat; and if research is being carried out with a view of growing British wheat which has the advantages claimed for foreign wheat by the bakers?


My hon. and gallant Friend, no doubt, refers to the research work upon the breeding of improved wheats which has been conducted for many years, with very successful results, at the University of Cambridge under the direction of Sir Rowland Biffen. This work covers the two points mentioned in the question. A full account of the wheat breeding investigations at the Cambridge Plant Breeding Institute will be published by the Ministry in the course of a few weeks, and I shall be happy to send my hon. and gallant Friend a copy of the publication as soon as it is ready.

Colonel APPLIN

May I ask if British wheat has not a better food value than any other foreign wheat?


As my hon. and gallant Friend is probably aware, the difficulty is that certain British wheat contains a great deal more moisture, and does not give a loaf of the same cubic capacity for the same weight of flour, but the new Yeoman II wheat gives as good a loaf as Manitoba Hard.

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