§ Mr. Kilfedder
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many acres of sugar beet were grown in the Province last year; what plans he has for encouraging an interest in the growing of this crop; and what estimate he has made of the average which could be grown given a stable market and an adequate return.
§ Mr. Merlyn Rees
No sugar beet was grown in Northern Ireland last year. Between 1963 and 1966 extensive commercial trials were carried out with the co-operation of the Ulster Farmers' Union and individual growers. The yields obtained were little more than half of those gained in East Anglia and it was concluded that the growing of sugar beet was not a viable economic proposition in the soil and climate of Northern Ireland. In the light of these results, I have no plans to encourage an interest in sugar beet in Northern Ireland.