HC Deb 21 July 1949 vol 467 cc1548-9
49. Mr. Hurd

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he is aware that county agricultural executive committees are asking farmers to increase the wheat acreage by 50 per cent. in the next two years; and if he is satisfied that this can be done with due regard to the rules of good husbandry.

Mr. T. Williams

The target wheat acreage for England and Wales in 1951 is 12½ per cent. higher than for this year. The percentage increase for many individual counties is greater than that, but for no English county is it as high as 50 per cent. County agricultural executive committees decide what increase can reasonably be asked of any individual farmer, and naturally do so with due regard to the rules of good husbandry.

Mr. Hurd

May I show the Minister the letter that I and other farmers have received from the Chairman of my County Agricultural Executive Committee? Further, is he satisfied that the extra three-quarters of a million acres of wheat which he has asked the farmers to grow, in addition to barley and other coarse grains, can be done without outraging the fertility of our soil?

Mr. Williams

The advice of all the technicians on the subject is that the acreage both for wheat and coarse grains can be obtained without vitiating the rules of good husbandry.

Viscount Hinchingbrooke

In view of the increasing supplies of grain throughout the whole world and the prospects of large importations of grain into this country from many places not only in the dollar area, ought not immediate consideration to be given to a revision of the agricultural programme in order that we can concentrate more on the production of milk products and livestock?

Mr. Williams

No, Sir, because there is no guarantee that this country can import from one source or another the amount of feedingstuffs that will be necessary once our livestock have increased to the numbers we desire. Indeed, the only certainty there is about feedingstuffs is the certainty of those that we grow ourselves, while importing as much feeding-stuffs as we can afford from any source where they happen to be available.

Mr. York

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether he can get this extra acreage of wheat without the use of marginal or difficult land?

Mr. Williams

We believe so.

Back to