Written Answers. - Potato Growers' Losses.

Tuesday, 1 August 1933

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 49 No. 9

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Mr. Lynch:  asked the Minister for Agriculture (a) whether his Department has received any complaints that a peculiar potato disease has attacked the district of Maharees, Castlegregory; (b) whether any investigation has been made by the Department as to the nature of this disease and to what it is attributed; (c) whether any remedy has been found for it; (d) whether any steps have been taken to recoup the growers in this district for their very serious losses, and (e) whether anything has been done to prevent the spread of the disease in the district.

Dr. Ryan:  (a) The reply is in the affirmative.

(b) Investigations have been made by the Department, and it is believed that the disease is due not to a single cause, but to several causes, and mainly to the presence in the soil of parasites the [903] development of which has been fostered by continual growing of potatoes in the same soil year after year over a great number of years.

(c) Experiments have been conducted in the district with the object of controlling the disease, but up to date it has not been found possible to discover a specific remedy. Investigations are, however, being continued.

(d) The Department have supplied fresh seed (potatoes) at specially reduced rates, and have introduced barley into the district with a view to encouraging farmers to adopt a proper system of rotation of crops. The Department have also appointed to the district a special officer whose duty it is to provide advice and assistance to farmers in the cultivation of the potato crop.

(e) As the disease is soil borne, its spread is unlikely.

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