§ Mr. Kenyon
asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he is aware that, owing to the high price of beef, an increasing number of in-calf cattle is being slaughtered, many being dairy cattle, and that this will create a shortage of milk; and what steps he is taking to check this slaughter.
§ Mr. Soames
I am aware that some breeding stock have been slaughtered. On the other hand, there is evidence to show that the number of dairy herd replacements is increasing and this should counteract the effects of culling older animals.
There is no question of a shortage of liquid milk for human consumption. Taking last year as a whole, output has been exceeding the requirements of the liquid milk market by over 40 per cent. and this provides an ample margin. Milk sold for manufacture fetches low prices in competition with imports and reduces the average price to the dairy farmer for his milk. We do not aim at large-scale production for manufacture; our aim is that, over the years, production should keep in line with the rising liquid consumption. The recent increase in the guaranteed price of milk will give confidence to the dairy industry for the future.