HC Deb 26 July 1915 vol 73 cc1984-6W

asked the Vice-President of the Department of Agriculture (Ireland) if he will state the total area and the percentage of the increase of tillage in Ireland since the War began; whether the increase is confined to crops cultivated by machine labour as distinguished from manual labour; whether there is a decrease in the latter; whether the obstacles to increased food production are the failure to distribute the grass lands as Parliament intended, the non-completion of land purchase, and the dearth of rural labourers; what steps the Irish Committee on Food Production is taking with reference to each of these obstacles; and when that Committee is likely to report?


The Department are not in a position to state the total area under tillage in Ireland this year, as the compilation of the Annual Returns has not yet been completed. The following pre-

Crops. Acreage on 1st June Increase (+) or Decrease (—).
1914. 1915. Acreage. Percentage.
Wheat 36,913 87,116 +50,203 +136.0
Oats 1,028,758 1,078,297 +49,539 +4.8
Barley 1712,289 142,544 -29,745 -17.3
Potatoes 583,069 594,801 +11,732 +2.0
Turnips 276,872 264,983 +11,909 -4.3
Mangels 81,570 84,128 +2,558 +3.1
Flax 49,253 53,233 +3,980 +8.1
First Year 632,486 526,502 -5,984 -1.1
Second and Third Years 407,255 385,160 -22,096 -5.4
Permanent Meadow 1,547,772 1,609,848 +61,876 +4.0

The Agricultural Statistical Returns furnished to the Department do not specifically show whether the crops have been cultivated by machine or by manual labour. With regard to the obstacles to an increase in tillage, it would appear that many farmers prefer to continue the raising and feeding of live stock. The

liminary statement, giving the information for certain crops, is all that the Department have been able so far to prepare:—

Irish Committee on Food Production are at present engaged in considering the numerous factors affecting the maintenance and possible extension of the present production of food in this country, and it is hoped that they will present a Report at the earliest possible date.