HC Deb 24 November 1955 vol 546 cc1630-1
14. Mr. John Hall

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food how far Proctor barley has proved satisfactory for malting purposes; and how the yield per acre compares with the Archer-and Kenia-type barleys.

Mr. Amory

Proctor barley first became available in commercial quantities in 1955. The Brewers' Society has told me that small-scale malting trials with Proctor barley harvested in 1953 and 1954 and commercial maltings made so far this season have been satisfactory.

Proctor barley has out-yielded the older Kenia and Archer types of barley in trials by 12 per cent. to 15 per cent. There is some evidence that these results are being borne out in farm practice.

Mr. Hall

Will my right hon. Friend do his best to persuade growers to extend the use of this barley for malting purposes, because if they do so it will make available much larger acreages for the production of ordinary feeding stuffs barley?

Mr. Amory

I doubt whether there is much that I can do directly in this case, but I have no doubt that the producers and the maltsters together, who are in close touch, will deal with the matter.

16. Mr. Dye

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food the average market price for barley for the lower qualities unsuitable for malting, on which deficiency payments were made, in September and October, 1954; and the market price for similar barley in the same months in 1955.

Mr. Amory

The average market price of the lower priced barleys, not all of which are unsuitable for malting, as calculated for deficiency payment purposes relates to the whole crop year. For 1954–55 it was 20s. 11.92d. per cwt., at farm. No comparable price can yet be given for 1955–56. If the average market price had been calculated for the months of September and October the figures for 1954 and 1955 would have been 20s. 4.3d. per cwt. and 20s. 0.3d. per cwt. respectively.

Mr. Dye

Does the right hon. Gentleman remember that the lower price last year was said to be due to the bad harvesting conditions? Is he aware that this year harvesting conditions have been excellent and that there is a far better quality, which now results in a lower price? Does not that indicate that there is something wrong with the system of deficiency payments?

Mr. Amory

I do not think so. We have to remember that the higher yield, due to better weather, has produced more barley, and that must be related to the demand.