HC Deb 20 April 1971 vol 815 cc935-6
26. Mr. Spearing

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food what investigations he intends to make into the effects of different cropping and cultivation practices on the micro-biology of soils.

Mr. Anthony Stodart

I have nothing to add to the Written Answer I gave the hon. Member to a similar Question on 22nd March.—[Vol. 814, c. 68.]

Mr. Spearing

Does not the hon. Gentleman realise that in the important recent report "Modern Farming and The Soil", published by the Agricultural Advisory Council, this aspect of soil science was not present and that the reply to which the hon. Gentleman has referred gave no indication that any research is being done on this subject? Does he not think that he should initiate it?

Mr. Stodart

Long-term research is being done into such things as the root diseases of cereals in different soils and under varying conditions. Studies are being made of eel-worm in potatoes. The soil report concluded that more basic knowledge was needed about the optimum conditions for root development. That is mainly a matter for the Agricultural Research Council. I will draw the attention of the Council to what the hon. Gentleman has said, but the Council is an independent body.