Feedingstuffs

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 28th July 1949.

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Photo of Colonel Leonard Ropner Colonel Leonard Ropner , Barkston Ash 12:00 am, 28th July 1949

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he will consider increasing the ration of feedingstuffs allowed to farmers who rear calves but do not sell milk.

The Minister of Agriculture (Mr. Thomas Williams):

I am afraid I cannot see my way to alter the present conditions for the granting of rations for calves under six months old but the rations for calves between six and twelve months old which I announced yesterday will be available for all calves irrespective of whether the owner is selling milk.

Photo of Colonel Leonard Ropner Colonel Leonard Ropner , Barkston Ash

Does the Minister think that that arrangement will be adequate?

Mr. Williams:

I believe so, according to all the advice I can get from the experts.

Photo of Mr Victor Collins Mr Victor Collins , Taunton

asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will enlarge the scope of the extended feedingstuffs rationing scheme to include occupiers of half an acre of agricultural land.

Mr. T. Williams:

No, Sir. There is no room on holdings of this size for the growing of the proportion of feedingstuffs which the occupier has to provide for his stock under the scheme.

Photo of Mr Victor Collins Mr Victor Collins , Taunton

Is my right hon. Friend aware that holders of precisely one acre are debarred from the scheme, and could he not give his feedingstuffs officers some discretion in this matter, because it is quite certain that some of these smallholders can grow sufficient feedingstuffs for a small quantity of poultry?

Mr. Williams:

It so happens that my officers have absolute discretion. Where an occupier can show that he can produce approximately 50 per cent. of the feedingstuffs he requires, he is able to get his ration.

Photo of Mr Victor Collins Mr Victor Collins , Taunton

But is my right hon. Friend aware that his instructions are not always understood, because some of his feedingstuffs officers make it a reason for refusal if the holding is only one acre?

Mr. Williams:

All my instructions are written in such elementary language that they ought to be understood.

Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury

asked the Minister of Agriculture what proportion of this year's wheat crop farmers will be allowed to retain for feeding to poultry and other livestock; and if he will review after harvest the need for retaining any restrictions on the use of home-grown grain required for the expansion of livestock production.

Mr. T. Williams:

Farmers will be permitted to retain up to one-quarter of this year's wheat crop for feeding to stock, including both millable and non-millable wheat and tailings. Wheat is the only grain crop which the farmer is now required to sell, and in view of the urgent need to save dollars I can hold out no hope of further concessions in respect of this year's crop.

Photo of Mr Anthony Hurd Mr Anthony Hurd , Newbury

In view of the fact that the Minister is asking us now to grow 2¾ million acres of wheat, which will be a heavy call on our land, is he aware that he would be more likely to reach that target if he would allow farmers to retain some of the crop for the expansion of livestock.

Mr. Williams:

The question of the hon. Gentleman relates to this year's crop where we are hopelessly behind the target.

Photo of Mr George Drayson Mr George Drayson , Skipton

Can the Minister say whether he has considered the question of allowing farmers a free market in the proportion of the grain which the farmers are allowed to keep for themselves?

Mr. Williams:

Not while a rationing system of feedingstuffs is inevitable.

Photo of Mr George Drayson Mr George Drayson , Skipton

What possible objection could there be to that?

Mr. Williams:

Because there is a rationing scheme in existence and there are many farmers, particularly in the Division of the hon. Gentleman, who can grow practically nothing for themselves in the form of feedingstuffs and so have to be dealt with out of the general rationing pool scheme.