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Tillage Area (Reduction)

Volume 531: debated on Thursday 28 October 1954

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42.

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether he is aware of the reduction in the area of tillage of 378,000 acres; and what action he proposes to take to arrest this decline and to increase food production.

I am aware of the reduction in the tillage area this year to which the hon. Member refers. This is mainly due to a reduction in the area under feed crops. The net effect of this will depend on the use made of the increased area of grass. Half of this has gone into the more productive temporary grasses, and it would be premature to assume that there will necessarily be a fall in total food production. All these matters will be taken into account in the statutory review of the economic conditions of the industry, early in 1955.

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that this is a tangible piece of evidence of the failing confidence in this Government on the part of the agricultural community?