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Dairy Cows (Rations)

Volume 437: debated on Monday 12 May 1947

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51.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that many farmers are dissatisfied with the allocation of rations for dairy cows during the present month; that in many areas, where pasture is not of first rate quality, the ration is insufficient to keep up milk production; and whether he will take steps to increase the ration during this and coming months.

I am not aware of any general dissatisfaction with the present scale of rations for dairy cows or that it is normally insufficient to keep up milk production. The reserves of feedingstuffs placed at the disposal of W.A.E.Cs. for issue at their discretion are primarily intended to provide supplementary rations for individual farmers whose milk output is affected by poor growth of grass, and applications by such farmers for supplementary rations for this purpose are accorded a high degree of priority.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that an increasing number of farmers are having milk returned to them because of alleged deficiency in butter-fat content? To avoid wastage in this matter, which is largely attributable to shortage and deficiency of feedingstuffs for milking cows, can he make some temporary adjustment of the regulations governing the broad question of the quality of milk?

I can assure my hon. Friend that no complaints of the kind have been brought to my notice. Should any such complaints be brought to our notice, and we have supplies of feedingstuffs available, we shall readily do our best to meet the needs.

May I ask the Minister what steps are being taken to increase rations for dairy cows by purchases of feedingstuffs from abroad?

I think my hon. Friend is aware that we are buying as much feedingstuffs from abroad as is possible, and that on 1st May rations for all kinds of animals were increased.