HC Deb 03 December 1953 vol 521 c147W
2. Mr. Glover

asked the Minister of Agriculture how many acres are affected by potato eelworm; which counties are most severely affected; what is the estimated loss, in tons, caused by this disease; and what steps his Department is taking to discover a cure.

Sir T. Dugdale

I am advised that about half a million acres of arable land in England and Wales are infested with potato root eelworm, one-third seriously. The areas most severely affected are S.W. Lancashire, S.E. Yorkshire, the Holland and Kesteven Divisions of Lincolnshire, the Soke of Peterborough and parts of Cambridgeshire, the Isle of Ely, Huntingdonshire and Bedfordshire. The annual loss caused by this pest is estimated at about 200,000 tons. Research to discover a cure is being undertaken, but the most effective method of controlling the pest is by good husbandry and a system of rotation under which potatoes are not grown more frequently than one year in four. Farmers have responded well to education and advice on these lines by the National Agricultural Advisory Service and there has been an improvement in the position in recent years.