asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware that any announcement of new farm prices at this stage is likely to be too late in many cases to enable farmers to revise their cropping programmes and that in consequence, the object of the price review cannot be fully achieved; and whether he will consider putting forward the date of the review in future.
The hon. and gallant Member is under a misapprehension. The crop prices fixed after an annual (February) review relate to the crops to be harvested in the following calendar year. Farmers therefore have between seven and 14 months' notice of any change in cropping emphasis which may be introduced, depending on whether it related to autumn or spring sown crops. It happens, however, that the annual review this year was accompanied by a special review, and that in consequence of the latter the prices of crops for harvesting in 1949 have also been adjusted. This adjustment has not, however, introduced any change in emphasis, and no change in farmers' cropping programmes for this year is expected or intended.