HC Deb 26 July 1965 vol 717 cc33-4W
77. Sir W. Anstruther-Gray

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food whether he will make an estimate of the quantity of straw wasted annually for which no agricultural or industrial use can be found; and whether his Department will conduct research into the possibilities of putting this straw to profitable use.

Mr. John Mackie

No returns on the utilisation of straw are available and there is no rational basis for estimating the quantity of this commodity which might be put to more rewarding uses than it is. It is thought that out of a total annual supply of 6–6½ million tons, 250,000 tons may be used off farms in paper making and in packing. The remainder is largely used on farms for feeding and bedding animals, for covering clamps and for composting or ploughing in.

The Department has conducted experiments to compare the value of different treatments of straw on the land. Work is also being done by official and commercial bodies on methods of improving the utilisation of straw for cattle feeding. The Agricultural Advisory Council, whose terms of reference include advice on problems in agriculture which should be brought within Government Research programmes, is already considering alternative uses of straw.