§ Mr. GINNELL
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?
§ Mr. BIRRELL
The Department are not in a position to state the total area under 1985W 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 Hay:— 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. The1986W
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.