Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Grain Prices.

Wednesday, 21 February 1968

Dáil Eireann Debate
Vol. 232 No. 10

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9.

Sir Anthony Esmonde: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles Esmonde  asked the Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries (a) the guaranteed price of wheat for next season, and (b) the guaranteed price of feeding barley for next season.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  I announced on 13th February that the guaranteed prices for wheat and feeding barley of the 1968 crops will be the same as in 1967.

[1511] 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: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles 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: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. 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: Information on Anthony Charles Esmonde  Zoom on Anthony Charles 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?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  That seems to be a different question.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  If the yield is the same, the total price per acre will be the same and they would be capable of liquidating those extra costs.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald 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 [1512] 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: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. 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: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald 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?

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  The Deputy may not make a speech on agricultural policy.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  Fianna Fáil have been pressing during the past 40 years that we should grow to the greatest degree possible and they have even converted Fine Gael to the point——

(Interruptions.)

An Ceann Comhairle: Information on Cormac Breslin  Zoom on Cormac Breslin  Question No. 10.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  We have converted Fine Gael to the policy of growing wheat and grain in this country.

Mr. Sweetman: Information on Gerard Sweetman  Zoom on Gerard Sweetman  You wanted to shoot everybody who wanted to grow grass at one time.

Mr. L'Estrange: Information on Gerald L'Estrange  Zoom on Gerald L'Estrange  You said that even if every ship was sent to the bottom of the sea we would do without Britain. Deputy Aiken said that.

Mr. Blaney: Information on Neil T.C. Blaney  Zoom on Neil T.C. Blaney  We are still growing grain successfully, in spite of Fine Gael's effort to sabotage it.


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