Wednesday, 21 February 1968
Dáil Eireann Debate
 In the case of wheat the prices range from 94/6d per barrel for wheat with a moisture content of 16 per cent and a bushel weight of 64 lb weight to 78/3d per barrel for wheat with a moisture content of 26 per cent and a bushel weight of 56 lb weight.
The floor price for feeding barley is 45/- per barrel for barley delivered to the purchaser's premises at 20 per cent moisture. This price is subject to the usual additions for barley of a lower moisture content than 20 per cent and to the usual reductions if the moisture content is over that figure.
Sir Anthony Esmonde: Would the Minister not agree in view of the fact that rates have gone up considerably, that all overhead charges of farmers have gone up and that wages are going up on 1st April, there is a reasonable case for an increase in the price of feeding barley to growers?
Mr. Blaney: I do not agree with all those things lumped like that together because rates have not just generally flat-footedly gone up everywhere, for the simple reason that on a great deal of the farm land of this country, there are no rates payable at all any more. In addition to that, while there will have been an upward trend in various overhead costs, it is also true that the yield, which is a very important factor in any of these crops, has been showing an encouraging upward trend, particularly during the last harvest.
Sir Anthony Esmonde: Could the Minister give an indication to the House how farmers, if they are getting the same price as they got last year, will recoup the extra costs imposed on them, even assuming they have better yields?
Mr. L'Estrange: In view of the fact that the price of barley is only the same as it was 20 years ago and that overhead expenses and the cost of production  have increased enormously since then so that there has been a reduction of 300,000 acres in the past ten years, surely the Minister should grant an increase in the price of barley?
Mr. Blaney: I think the Deputy has made that case with his tongue in his cheek for the simple reason that the output per ton of barley is better than it was ten years ago. Surely the proof of the pudding is in the eating?
Mr. L'Estrange: Surely the Minister must know that there has been a reduction in the output of barley in the past ten years and surely he also knows that we imported £24 million worth of feeding-stuffs last year that could and should have been grown here and that the Fianna Fáil policy 20 years ago was to stop growing it?
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