§ Captain Plugge
asked the Minister of Agriculture how many Australian Shearer Prince ploughs were bought some two years ago at approximately £75 each; how many are still left; why he is trying to compel farmers to use these heavy unadjustable ploughs, with steep bigger bottoms, on unsuitable land; and whether, with a view to remedying this, he will consider having Cockshutt bottoms fitted in place of the bigger bottoms and sell them at a price of £40 each in order to get rid of them.
Arrangements to purchase 2,000 Australian ploughs from Messrs. J. Shearer were made in 1942, but the ploughs did not begin to arrive in this country until September, 1943. To date about 1,000 of these ploughs have been sold to farmers or allocated to County War Agricultural Executive Committees for use in their machinery operations, leaving about 1,000 still in hand. The1646W price of £72, which has since been reduced to £70, was necessary to cover actual costs of purchase, freight and similar charges; any further reduction in price would involve a financial loss and would require very careful consideration. The ploughs were made to a specification approved by the Ministry, and I am advised that on land which is not too heavy very good results have been obtained; it would not, therefore, appear to be justifiable to incur still further expenditure in fitting another bottom to the ploughs still in stock. No farmer is being compelled to buy a Shearer plough, but in view of the excess of demand over supply for other makes of plough, applicants unable to obtain ploughs of their choice have been told that Shearer ploughs are immediately available and that they might be well advised to purchase one of these rather than wait some considerable time for another plough.