HC Deb 03 April 1968 vol 762 cc357-8
26. Sir J. Gilmour

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what estimate he has made of the number of calves from the dairy herd in England and Wales which are likely to be slaughtered at an early age in 1968–69; and what revision of that estimate he has now made following on the publication of the Annual Price Review.

Mr. Hoy

I would certainly hope to see a lower rate of slaughter for young dairy calves in 1968–69, in response to the Annual Review award and to maintain the increase in herd numbers after the losses sustained through foot-and- mouth disease. But the rate of slaughter has in any event dropped since the turn of the year and I would not like to put a figure on the possible difference as compared with 1967–68.

Sir J. Gilmour

Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that, based on the returns of last summer, the total breeding herd is around 4 million, that calves under one year old number about 2,500,000, that the majority of the deficiency must come from the dairy herd and that the difference between the 2,500,000 and the 4 million shows how much more beef could be produced from the dairy herd?

Mr. Hoy

At this stage I shall not seek to confirm or deny the hon. Gentleman's figures. We gave an increase in the guaranteed price this year. We realise that some 70 per cent. of our beef supplies comes from the dairy herds, so that from all points of view we should like to encourage beef production.