§ Mr. SHEEHAN
asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) whether the area under tillage in Ireland during the year 1911 showed an increase over the previous year; if so, amongst what particular crops was this increase distributed; to what special causes, if any, does he attribute this increase; can he state approximately the proportion of tillage in the country to the actual arable area; and whether he is aware that the smallholders are, as a rule, the most extensive cultivators of the soil.
§ Mr. T. W. RUSSELL
The total area under tillage, including first year's hay, in Ireland in 1911, as compared with 1910, shows an increase of 2,900 acres, but while that was the net increase there was a decrease1324W of 33,500 acres in oats, 9,800 acres in barley and bere, 2,500 acres in wheat, 4,500 acres in turnips, 1,700 acres in potatoes, together with other small decreases. The only large increases were in the case of flax, 20,600 acres, and first year's hay, 25,000 acres. The probable cause of the increased acreage under flax was the good prices obtained for the crop in 1910. The area tilled in Ireland in 1911 is estimated to be approximately one-fifth of the total extent of arable land in the country. According to information collected for the year 1907, which is the latest that has been obtained, it would appear that the proportion of the area tilled to the total area is greater in the smaller holdings.