HC Deb 22 March 1951 vol 485 cc2580-1
54. Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

asked the Minister of Agriculture, in view of the rainfall in recent months, and its effect on agriculture, what action has been taken by His Majesty's Government to obviate shortfalls in the estimated crops for 1951 so as to ensure no further hardship on the citizens of this country, or reductions of feedingstuffs to the farmer.

Mr. G. Brown

The rainfall of recent months has caused, and is causing, great difficulties to farmers in their spring sowings and cultivations, but it is much too early to forecast the final results of the harvest. There is likely to be a marked deficiency in the wheat acreage, which may be offset by increased sowings of barley, but I could not at this stage forecast yields per acre, nor the acreages of crops other than cereals. I cannot, therefore, at present accept the implications of this Question.

Colonel Crosthwaite-Eyre

Is it not true that there are certain types of seed that can be sown much later than others, and will the hon. Gentleman see that they are distributed, through the county agricultural executive committees, and so on, to farmers, so that they may have the opportunity of overcoming the effects of the wet weather by using those special types of seed?

Mr. Brown

I do not think that there is any doubt about that. The executive committees, the National Agricultural Advisory Committee, the National Farmers' Union and everybody else has been co-operating not only in these past weeks but for months, indeed years, in this matter.