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Ploughing-Up Campaign

Volume 390: debated on Thursday 8 July 1943

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asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is now in a position to make a further statement in connection with his instructions to the county war agricultural committees regarding the ploughing-up campaign for this autumn; and what is the Government's policy in connection with this matter?

The Government's primary aim in connection with ploughing up for the 1944 harvest is the maintenance of the 1943 peak tillage area. This implies the ploughing-up of additional grassland to take the place of land which it is necessary to reseed in order to restore fertility. In addition, it is hoped to increase the tillage area in particular districts.

Is it not easier to cultivate land which has already been drained than to plough up the slopes of Plynlimmon and to endeavour to cultivate derelict and waterlogged land? Why not plough up the drained fairways of the golf courses? Can I have an answer?

I have already explained to my hon. Friend why it would not be in the national interest to plough up certain golf courses.

Is it true that there is less land under cultivation now than at the beginning of hostilities?

That fact was published the other day, in some figures issued by my Department, stating that the amount that is lost to aerodromes, munitions factories and battle areas is appreciably in excess of the amount which my Department has been able to reclaim from derelict land.

Can my right hon. Friend say what is the decline in the amount of land under cultivation? Is it 100,000 acres a year?