The Minister said last night that it was as easy to grow wheat in this country at the present time as it was sixty or seventy years ago. I would like to know if the colleges under his Department have grown wheat recently, and with what success. In Athenry it is well-known that there is as good land for growing wheat as there is in any part of Ireland, and of my own area, Pallaskenry, the same may be said. I would like to know how many acres of wheat the Minister's two colleges in these areas have grown, and what success has attended it. In dealing with these colleges, I would also like to know if a balance-sheet could be produced showing whether they have been a success financially or not. The Minister also referred to our beef being regarded in England as only second or third-rate. I would like if the Minister would enlighten us as to the cause of that. Our beef leaves the land in this country in as good a state as the English or Scotch beef leaves the land there. But on account of the treatment it receives in the fairs in the country, in the loading at the railways and shunting of the wagons, in the loading and unloading at the boats, it is not anything like best class beef when landed at the other side. I have known butchers and exporters who have killed beef, and they have had to tear out four or five pounds from the carcases, they were so battered and bruised. The carcases are disfigured in that way. That is principally the reason why our trade with England is mainly a live-stock trade. If those cattle, after being taken off the boats, were put out on grazing and kept there for three or four weeks, they could be driven into the market and sold as best English or Scotch beef. That is the reason why our beef is classed only as third or fourth rate in England. Until we improve our transit and loading facilities in connection with the fairs and markets, our trade will be mainly a live-stock trade. I think the Minister should send some of his inspectors to see the way cattle are treated in loading. Their report, if accurate, would reveal a scandalous state of affairs. It would be well, too, if the Minister for Justice would send out some of the Gárda Síochána and have prosecutions. A certain amount of force is needed to drive cattle off an open platform into a wagon, and there should be a system of pens established by the railways. I have known cases down in Limerick where cattle were loaded at 10 o'clock in the morning and did not arrive in Dublin until 7 o'clock or 8 o'clock in the evening. I know where a cattle train was kept back two hours in Kildare while five "specials" from the Curragh were passing. The cattle were kept back while the sportsmen were passing.

Another reason why the cattle are so badly bruised is that they very often gore each other. I know the Department are doing their best to encourage people to dishorn their calves, but I know also that the Department has prosecuted people for dishorning cattle. I think it is greater cruelty to leave the horns on than to take them off. I tested that for myself in the case of a milch cow. I polled her on the 1st May. I weighed the milk for two days before I polled her. She was a winter cow, calving somewhere about Christmas. For the two days before she was polled her milk weighed 22½ lbs., and for five days after polling it weighed 20½ lbs. After that it increased. If there is any hardship in polling cattle, it should tell against the milch cow more than any other beast. I think it is a shame to prosecute people for polling cattle. Under the Anæsthetic Act, I am aware, you may poll cattle if you use a local anæsthetic. But farmers are not accustomed to the using of anæsthetics, and, in any case, they could not possibly use it on calves. I would like to see that Act either hung up or repealed.

Deputy Daly spoke about the use of artificial manures. There is no doubt that artificial manures are very good, but I am afraid they have been abused. When slag is put on too often, the land deteriorates to a great extent. Where it was put on this year, there was greater mortality amongst the cattle who got that hay than amongst the cattle fed on hay from land on which slag was not used. Deputy Daly suggested that lime should be used. Lime would be far better. I experimented myself with ground lime and slag, and I found that ground limestone is 30 per cent. better than slag. There was a very good kiln or mill that burnel the lime in my district. That kiln or mill is now closed down for the past two years. There were fifteen or twenty men employed in the mill, but because the Ministry of Finance was demanding income tax amounting to three hundred or four hundred pounds the mill is closed and the men are getting the dole. Instead of demanding income tax, it would be better to give that mill a subsidy to enable it to carry on. Some of the publicans who are able to escape income tax by the way in which they make up their accounts should be made to pay, rather than this industry. The Agricultural Grant is given to the different counties, but in reality that does not go to the benefit of the farmers. The officials of the county council will have the benefit, because farmers have to pay indirectly to a very large extent, and I would suggest that if a portion, at all events, of that were given as a subsidy to lime kilns or lime mills it will be better. The tillage farmer could be given a ton of lime free for a statute acre, and a man who would be willing to put out lime on grass land should pay a small portion, say, 25 per cent. of the cost. That, I think, has been tried in New Zealand with great success. I do not see why the Irish Government should not be as helpful to farmers as the New Zealand Government is. I make that suggestion to the Minister, and I think that that would be better than increased grants.

The sheep-breeding industry was not touched on by the Minister. I do not think we have more than 300 breeding sheep in the County Limerick, and I believe that the number of store sheep in the county is not very much more. The reason the numbers are so small is because the sheep have been worried so much by unlicensed dogs roving through the county at night. I understand that the dog tax law is not in force now, that there are no dog licences. I think I saw it stated in the Press that the Post Office would not issue licences this year, that they were instructed not to do so. I think that this branch of the industry is entitled to some protection. I know of a case in the County Waterford, where eighty-five good sheep of the Roscommon type were killed one night. That was a very serious loss. I think that the tax should be increased to ten shillings in order to do away with some of these mongrels. Deputy Baxter spoke about cinemas. I think that to a certain extent they would be very good, for instance, if a picture were taken of the prize-winners and of the rejected cattle at the Dublin show, and it were to be shown at the local shows, or in the towns by the instructors. It would be very helpful also if you had a chart in schools or in other places to show the difference between good stock and bad, and between good crops and bad.

Deputy Nolan is in error in stating that the dog tax is not collected. It is in force, and the people are paying, in my part of the country, at all events, as usual. Of course, they are paying at a very much higher rate, but I think it is very proper that the Dog Licences Act should be enforced, because there are a large number of curs and useless dogs about the country, dogs that are doing more harm than anything else, and it is well that something should be done to lessen the number.

Will the Deputy say who collects the dog tax?

It is collected through the Post Office.

The question does not properly arise on this Vote at all.

In connection with what Deputy Nolan has said regarding injury to cattle, I think it will be admitted that nearly all the injury is caused by the conditions on the trains and boats. Over and over again, I have seen wagon loads of cattle shunted about at a station, and very often the cattle are thrown off their feet by want of care in attaching the wagons. A gentleman who is very largely interested in the cattle trade and has had a very long experience of it, suggested to me that all cattle should be carried at insured rates. At present the consignor has the option of sending his cattle at insured rates or at owner's risk, but if all had to be carried at the insured rates it would make the railway and the shipping companies more careful, because they could then be made responsible for any injury done. I think that that is a suggestion that might well be considered.

As to the liming of land, there is no doubt that where there is an absence of lime it is very beneficial, but it can be carried too far. There was a saying amongst old farmers that lime made a rich father but a poor son. Certain kinds of artificial manure should not be overlooked altogether in favour of lime. I agree with Deputy Bolger that there is an immense number of curs throughout the country, and I would make a suggestion in that connection. At present, statistics, upon which such reliance is placed, especially by the Minister, are supplied by the individual farmer who receives a form, which he may or may not fill in and send back. Formerly, these statistics were collected by the R.I.C., and I think the work was fairly well done.

That is a matter that does not come within the scope of this Vote at all. Of course, the Minister might make representations to the Minister for Justice on the matter, but it does not come within the Vote.

I think that the Minister might take a hint with regard to that, because the Civic Guard would have an opportunity of coming into contact with the people, and also with unlicensed dogs.

I think that the agricultural situation has been reviewed almost from China to Peru, and that there really is very little more to be said. But I consider that there is one matter that we ought not to leave without some comment. I think that unnecessarily gloomy views have been expressed as to the prospects of agriculture for the present year. One judges of these things, perhaps, from one's own experience of agriculture, and though the year has been frightfully wet and bad, I have been able on my own farm to get the work done fairly well. My oats, potatoes and mangolds are fairly well advanced, in spite of the bad weather, and I think it is right to mention that, because otherwise it might go broadcast over the country that everything is ruined everywhere, and that certainly is not the case in my district. A great many farmers seized every fine and dry hour to get things done, and as far as I, and those close to me, who work their farms and see that things are carried out properly, are concerned, I think that matters are not so gloomy as they have been depicted. Of course, I have not been able to deal with turnips until this week, but even now I do not think that it is too late. There is a chance of avoiding the turnip fly which bothers us in May, and I think even the turnips will come on fairly well.

I entirely approve of the education of young people by means of cinemas. I think that that is a very useful idea, and it would be very useful, too, if the Minister could see his way to establish a certain number, not a very great number, of model farms where advanced agricultural work could be seen. I believe in that most thoroughly. The damage to stock, mentioned by Deputy Conlan, is a very real thing. The want of care and good treatment in the carriage of stock by rail and sea, has caused very great loss to farmers, and I hope that it will be seen to. I think that the gloomy view that has been taken generally is not justified, and I certainly am not one of those that hold it. I think that we ought to take the brightest view of the situation that we can.

I would not like to let this opportunity pass without pointing the moral that may be drawn from this discussion. I think that very considerable progress has been made when we have reached the stage at which representatives in this House of the agricultural community acknowledge that what is really necessary to put agriculture on a proper basis is more education. The Minister told us that we had the best and the cheapest land in Europe, but it is not very much use having the best and the cheapest land if the people do not work it in the most scientific manner. The Minister also said that the State could do nothing for the farmers except educate them. I say that if the State did that it would be doing its duty well and fully, but it has lamentably failed in that duty. Deputy Baxter and other representatives of the farmers have rightly pointed out the great difficulty that there is in getting young farmers to attend lectures on agricultural science and other matters provided for them by the Department. Any Deputy who knows the country well knows that that is the position. What is the reason of that? The reason is that the foundation has not been laid. If these young men attended school at all they did so extremely irregularly, and left probably two, three or four years before they should have left. They never got the habit of learning, of acquiring knowledge. It might be well that Farmer Deputies, and the House generally, should know what exactly the position is, especially with regard to children in rural areas. It has a distinct bearing on this, though I do not wish to anticipate what we may have to say when the Estimate for the Ministry of Education comes before us. But this question of early education of children has a distinct and direct bearing on this matter. The average attendance of children all over the country is about 70 per cent. In the cities of Dublin and Cork, and a few of the larger towns, the attendance is very much larger. It is up to 88 per cent. in Dublin, and even higher in Cork.

If we take out the cities and confine our attention to the rural areas, we will find that at least half the children that should be at school are at home from school every day. The school year only consists of 200 days on an average. That means again that the farmers' children spend 100 days per year at school on an average. They also leave school at about 12 years of age. A child, therefore, who attends school for five years only attends about 500 days altogether. Such a child at 16, 17 or 18 years of age cannot be expected to have any power or desire to acquire a knowledge of his business.

There is, as it were, a tradition of ignorance, if I might put it that way, amongst farmers. I am speaking now as one who was reared on a farm. It has grown into a joke, as we know. In other countries it is quite the opposite. Down the country people will tell you if a young lad shows any love for books that he could not be left on the farm; he must go away; he does not want any education for farm work. That is the tradition: he does not want to know anything. I say that the State has lamentably neglected its duty in that respect. It has not taken the first step that it should take to educate the farmers and their children. That cannot be too often repeated. When we have such statements as those made by Deputy Cole and Deputy Baxter and others yesterday I think that we have made a considerable step forward, because the man who knows not, and knows he knows not, is a wise man.

I do not want to go into details at this stage, but when farmers here say that such-and-such a thing does not pay, I often wonder what exactly they do mean. In the West of Ireland men with 15 acres, 10 acres, and even less, although they do not put by money, manage to rear their families pretty comfortably. In these cases, however, 50 per cent. of the holdings is in tillage—more than 50 per cent. in some cases. When a man with 50 acres or so says that tillage does not pay, I often wonder what exactly he wants us to understand by that.

From my knowledge of three counties, I can say that the prospects for the coming season are better than they have been for a long time. There is no use in always making the poor mouth. That is too prevalent amongst farmers. I am going to take another view of the situation— not a rosy view, because I am aware of the difficulties. I know it is very difficult to get the crops in this year, but they have been got in, and in the Co. Dublin the farmers are well on with their work, and the crops never looked as well in my time as they are looking. A similar state of things prevails in Co. Wicklow and in parts of another county that I have travelled. I cannot understand, therefore, except in the very waterlogged parts of the country, why the crops should be bad this year. This is a statement which I am prepared to stand over.

I do not agree with Deputy O'Connell that the farmers take their children away from school at twelve years of age. On the contrary, farmers' sons are kept at school until they are fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen years of age. After fourteen years of age, as a schoolmaster does not get any fees and does not feel called upon to look after their education, they are neglected. If a man is not able to send his son to a secondary school, the boy is only wasting his time in the primary school after he is fourteen. That is a fact. The Minister for Education ought to be more or less of an authority on this matter. He tells me, as a fact, that the farmer who sends his son to a secondary school is a fool. If a boy goes to a secondary school he is unfitted for farming—he will not go into the work as he would have done had he been put to work earlier.


That is the present secondary school?

If you send a boy to the secondary school he will not go to work on the land. The consequence is that farmers have to try and develop the boy's education on the farm or by means of night schools. I do not agree that farmers are such fools or so uneducated as has been stated. If you do business with a farmer at a fair you will soon find out that he is not a fool. Talk to him on any of the subjects of which he knows anything, and you will find that he is not so very foolish.

I want to reply, briefly, to what I understand was a kind of slighting observation made by the Minister for Agriculture as to a suggestion which I made in connection with winter dairying. The Minister says that the idea of producing milk at 4½d. per gallon in the winter was beyond all comprehension. I never said that. I said that at present farmers in these districts are feeding their cows without any results. They are feeding them on something, but they are getting no return. I suggest that 9d. per day should be spent on half a cwt. of roots, and four pounds of oats and that as a return from that extra food the farmers would reap a profit of 1/1 per day. I challenge the Minister to say that is wrong. I also put this to him: if a farmer fattening cattle fattens them at ? per day and makes a living, and carries that on, year after year, what is wrong with the other man if he cannot do it for the same money? My idea is to develop tillage. The only hope for the country is to have more tillage. I say that in spite of what my colleagues might say. You cannot feed cattle except you have tillage.

Perhaps it would be better to read what the Deputy did say:—

"If we are going to develop this country, we ought to develop this industry. It can be done, as I will show presently. A farmer who farms on that system has, willy-nilly, to give his cows hay. His cows come out in the spring thin. If he would give those cows, in addition to the wisp of hay, 4 lbs. of oats and a half cwt. of roots every day during the winter, at a cost of 9d., one-third of those cows, calving in November, and fed as I have described, would give two gallons of milk per day all through the winter. The cows would be stronger in the spring, and they would give the same amount of milk in the summer. The difference between the 9d. which he would expend on feeding and the 1s. 10d. which he would get for his milk, would represent the profit to him."

That is my statement.


If that means anything it means that you can produce milk on average of about two gallons per cow —that is 9d. Then the cost of production——

It does not mean that.


The Deputy may be able to explain, but he can hardly blame me for reading it that way. All I am suggesting is that that was the obvious meaning of his words: "The difference between the 9d. which he would expend on feeding and the 1s. 10d. which he would get for his milk, would represent the profit to him."

Yes. But I pointed out in the beginning that he is not feeding his cows for nothing now—that he gave them a certain amount of food for which he got no return. I pointed out subsequently that a man fattening cattle must fatten them at a cost of 1s. 6d. per day or else he will not make a profit.


I am talking of milk.

That is a very small debating point. The Minister is merely begging the question.


I do not wish to make a debating point. I will be satisfied if the Deputy agrees with me that you cannot produce milk in winter at 4½d. per gallon.

I agree.


Perhaps the Deputy will also tell us what milk can be produced at—is it 4½d. or 9d. or 10d. or 11d.?

The Minister ought to be able to tell me that instead of asking me. I put this to the Minister. Milk is sold in summer at 6d. per gallon. What is the cost of production? Is there a profit? I am saying, give that man 5d. per gallon more in the winter, and you are giving enough. If he is making a profit in the summer at 6d. per gallon, he would certainly make a profit in the winter at 10d. per gallon. It can be done, and that is the way to develop the industry. It will increase tillage, it will bring about the better feeding of cattle, and in many respects it ought to be advocated by the Minister, instead of referring in the way he did to what is, after all, a genuine statement which can bear analysis.

I am not going to range all over the subject of agriculture. I went over it pretty well the other night. I believe that it is only by developing tillage that we are going to exist. I believe that there is a good prospect before us if we till. I also believe, if we get away from this idea which has occupied people's mind for the last four or five years, of not paying rent and rates and not putting their backs into the work, the farmers can live and have something over. If that advice were taken, we would have a much more prosperous and happy country.

Deputy Wilson, inspeaking in the optimistic way he has, is, no doubt, speaking on behalf of the farmer who can supplement his income from investments, if he can make anything out of the land. It is clear from the able way in which the Deputy is always able to deal with the Minister for Finance, that he speaks on behalf of those farmers who are income taxpayers. If the Deputy studied carefully the returns supplied to the Dáil some time ago by the Minister for Justice, he would have noticed as one indication of the depression that exists at present in the farming industry, the number of decrees that have been executed during the last six or eight months in several of the tillage counties, leaving out Wicklow, which we know is not a tillage county, but a county of large farmers of the grazier type. Taking the figures given in this return as some indication of the prevailing conditions in the tillage counties, I think they go to show that the conditions are not as we should like them to be. I say from knowledge that were it not for the sympathy and consideration of the State solicitors in some counties, the position would be worse than the Minister's statement makes it out to be. I certainly say that the position, as we find it to-day in the area that I represent, is anything but hopeful at the moment at any rate.

I believe that with a little sympathy and encouragement from the Minister's Department, the situation, bad as it appears to be, and as I know it to be, can be righted, but not in the very near future. If you take the number of farms, small and large, that are being advertised for sale in tillage counties at present, it is surely an indication that the people are not willing to work the land because there is nothing to be made out of it. Last night I asked the Minister if he had any figures in support of the statement he made about the damage done amongst members of the farming community, in different counties, by the fluke. Deputy Bulfin, Deputy Egan and myself have had three or four deputations from parishes affected. The fluke had really disastrous results in three or four parishes. Wherever the fluke has appeared it has acted like a plague and it has wiped out milch cows, cattle, foals and practically everything in the nature of stock that middle-class farmers possess. I had one case cited to me of a farmer, with ninety acres of land, who lost £360 of stock, notwithstanding that he made every effort to improve his land. He produced receipts to us to show the money he has spent on basic slag of different kinds and artificial manures during the last three of four years. He spent about £60 or £70. That is the position he now finds himself in, and his case can be cited as a case in point of what has happened in different areas. The very same applies to Sligo, Leitrim, Cavan or wherever fluke has appeared. They have no money to carry on.

That matter will come up on Vote 61, and it would be better if it were not discussed at this stage.

I was merely following the bad example of the other Deputies who went before me when I was referring to this matter. Figures were asked for in this respect, and no figures were given.


I think that is an unfair statement, and the Deputy ought to know it is. I explained fully why I did not give the figures. The Deputy interrupted me and asked me for figures. I stated—and I think every Deputy here heard me—that I could give the figures. I had given them before when there was a debate on this particular question, and I could give them again if the House wished me to. But Deputy Johnson had asked me to deal with agriculture as a whole, and I could hardly be expected to follow all the by-paths and deal in detail with every question of that sort, especially with questions which will come up on other Votes. I offered to give the figures if the House wished me to give them, but the sense of the House was against that course. The Deputy is now suggesting that he pressed for the figures and I had not them to give.

All this matter will come up on Vote 61. Deputy Davin is in order in referring to the matter, but it would be much better if the argument were not developed.


I am not raising any objection. It is a matter for you, sir, and Deputy Davin, as to whether the argument will be developed. Deputy Davin should not, however, charge me with refusing or refraining to give the figures in the circumstances.

Surely the losses caused to the agricultural community in this respect have some bearing on the present position and the position that is likely to arise as a result of the loss of numbers of cattle. They are prospective losses, because their effect will not be felt until next year or perhaps the year following. There was nobody more anxious than I to listen to the Minister's speech but, unfortunately, I was called out. I had asked a question and at the time I had not got the answer. As far as I could, I have read the speech of the Minister following the time I had to leave the House.

I got credit for your interruption.

In the course of his statement the Minister brought into the subject of the debate matters that have a great, and perhaps a more direct, bearing on the Land Commission Vote than on a Vote of this kind. You will recognise, sir, I think, that the debate was more or less intermixed in so far as it concerned the Department of Agriculture, the Land Commission and, perhaps, the Vote that has been referred to and that covers the offer made by the Minister to deal with the matter I have brought forward. The Minister stated there was a decrease in tillage in the Free State. I had an opportunity this morning of reading a previous statement in the House on the 24th April, when he actually denied that. I would like to know from the Minister, if he can let me have the information, where the decrease has taken place and whether it is a decrease in oats, barley or potatoes.


I gave that yesterday.

I read a statement made by the Minister during the Budget debate on the 24th April.


Would you read that statement?

The statement was made in reply to a question—that old hardy annual in regard to barley—by Deputy Conlan. It is on page 299 of the Official Report of the 24th April. The Minister challenged Deputy Conlan and said: "The area under barley has remained constant in spite of the fact that Deputy Conlan, in another rhetorical statement, said it was decreasing." Obviously there has been no decrease in the case of barley, if we are to take the Minister's word for it. Is it in the case of potatoes or oats or some other root crop that the decrease has occurred? I would like to refer to the question raised by Deputy Conlan then, and again last night. I know perfectly well I will be accused of reviving this debate and unnecessarily raising an issue which Deputy Conlan raised previously. I may be charged with bringing it again into the House, as other members were charged when they brought forward other matters, for the purpose of raising a stunt. This is not a stunt. It is a question as regards the price of barley and whether there will be in regard to it a tariff, a subsidy, or a guaranteed minimum price. This matter has been referred to at such length before I do not propose to weary the House or disturb the Minister by going over the ground that was covered in the course of the Budget debate.


I would ask Deputy Davin not to spare me.

I will have to quote against the Minister for the purpose of enabling him to reply to points that have not been replied to. The Minister stated that it is impossible to assist barley-growers either by a tariff, a subsidy or a guaranteed minimum price. He asked, with his hands outstretched —I was looking on at that particular time—if the farmers would support the control of prices. No farmer replied, but no doubt the farmers would know what it would mean to them.


I am leaving that between you.

The Minister has taken responsibility, with his colleagues in the Government, to guarantee a price to the people who will encourage and assist in the sugar-beet business. I do not care whether it is for three months or three years, as the Minister for Finance says, he has committed himself to the principle. If he can do it in the case of sugar-beet, surely he can deal with the circumstances that exist amongst the barley-growers who have to produce barley below the cost of production.


What is the cost of production?

I listened to the interesting wrangle between the Minister and Deputy Conlan last night. They more or less agreed, so I will not disturb the harmony that appears to exist.

We agreed under certain conditions.


Genuinely, I would like to have the Deputy's opinion.

The Minister for Lands and Agriculture sometimes assumes that the Dáil is a Court of Justice, a District Court or a High Court, where he can cross-examine witnesses. I do not accept the position that I am a witness here.


A slippery witness.

One has to be slippery sometimes, and I may say there is no one more slippery than the Minister whenever he wants to get out of a tight corner. The Minister for Finance, replying to queries during the course of the discussion following the introduction of the Budget, said he did not propose, and could not agree, to farmers being given protection, because the Minister for Lands and Agriculture was not agreeable to such a policy when he consulted him on the matter. In the course of the discussion it was stated that the Farmers' Party—and undoubtedly they claim to be representing all the farmers in the country —did not make any representation to the Minister on that matter. I was asked to accompany a deputation, but unfortunately I had to go away. It was a deputation representing Committees of Agriculture, accompanied by members of the Farmers' Party, and they were to meet the Minister for Lands and Agriculture and the President on a certain day last year. I cannot bring the date to memory. They spoke undoubtedly on behalf of the farmers in twelve counties who are so very much concerned with this particular grievance. They represented an area where the acreage amounts to 170,000 per year. Does the Minister question, deny or challenge the representative character of the people who made representations to him and who asked for assistance in either of the three forms I have referred to?


The Deputy is making a mistake. They did not ask for assistance in either of the three forms. The proposal was that the assistance was to take the shape of all three— tariff, subsidy and a fixed price.


But it makes a slight difference.

The Minister will not get me off my perch by interrupting me. There is a still more interesting situation created since the discussion took place in the House before. There is obviously, as we all clearly see and as I am glad to see, a change of outlook on the part of the people sitting on the Farmers' Benches. In addition to the representations made to the Minister, a reply is demanded from him as to why, being an extern Minister particularly, he refuses to meet the practically unanimous demand of the farmers of the country for protection for certain articles.


What are the articles?

On one occasion Deputy Wilson opposed tariffs, and then he sat down, being in the extraordinary position of demanding a tariff on everything that concerned the farmer. I never observed such a somersault being done by any Deputy in the House. I can turn to the Official Records to prove what I say. Deputy Wilson said, "I do not represent a barley constituency, thank God, and have nothing to do with it, but taking it all, whether it is by a subsidy to the production of a certain number of acres of corn, or whether it is by the imposition of a tariff, we demand that you give us the same protection as you are giving the people who live in the cities. That is a fair proposition; it is dragged out of us, and I am explaining it to you as I have been directed to explain it, and I speak with the authority of the Farmers' Union."

These things must have a considerable impression on the Minister for Lands and Agriculture, and, as a new situation is created, I think reasons should be given by the Minister as to why he refuses to accede to this apparently unanimous request. So far as I am concerned, there is no difference between the small farmers, as most of them are, in Leix and Offaly in regard to this matter. They are not all members of the Farmers' Union but they demand with those who are members of it this remedy as the only way of meeting the effects of the two bad seasons, as they have not been able to dispose of a large part of their barley, in addition to the fact that the price is not economic. The Minister talks about controlling prices but there is also the question of controlling profits. It is quite patent to everyone that the firm which pays this uneconomic price for the raw material is making profits in this country, and the lucky shareholders are getting such dividends that, ifthey happen to be farmers, they can live on the land without working it, and, as Deputy Gorey knows, there are farmers who are big shareholders in Guinness's. The Minister must take serious notice of the situation. During this debate the Minister claimed that land used for barley could be used for other purposes. That is denied by practical farmers, in some of the counties at any rate. If you want to educate the farmers you must get them to get away from the practice of producing a certain article, which, in the opinion of the Minister, does not pay, but that must be done by a gradual process. I regret that I have to refer to this matter as I know that the Minister will accuse me of raising this as a stunt and a hardy-annual, but I think that the circumstances have so changed that a new issue is raised and I hope that the Minister will deal with it in his reply. I believe that the present position in the tillage areas is due to the fact that practically no drainage work or tree planting has been done for some years past. I am hopeful that some means will be adopted by the Ministry, with the assistance of the Minister for Finance, to get over the depression that exists as a result, primarily, of two wet seasons. With that assistance, but not without it, there is a great reason to hope that the farmers will recover from the very bad position into which they have got as a result of these bad years.

I have listened with attention to the very interesting contribution made to this debate towards agricultural education, to the confused causes for the depression of present-day farming, to the suggestions made to brighten its future prospects, and to bring about an improvement which was never more needed for the security of this State. When I was a boy in third book at the local national school, Professor Baldwin was the authority on agriculture, and, I must say, that his books taught us what were practical and scientific in agricultural subjects and they were suited to the needs of the time. It was, however, hardly the right time and place to teach people who were too young to have a proper taste for the knowledge which they acquired. As a practical worker and experienced farmer I wish to support Deputy Baxter's proposition to set up an average sized farm in every county council electoral area, some varying between 100 and 50 acres, and others from 50 acres down to 20 acres, as the most intensely direct and practical way of teaching those who want to live ordinary lives on the land to be thrifty, economical and, at the same time, to be prosperous as well. It would also teach them to be cautious as to the fluctuations in the price of agricultural produce, with a keen eye as to the balancing of their incomings as well as their outgoings, not for a year, but for three or five years. That is the best method of bringing home to the people in the district how they could live, and I think the standard should, perhaps, be fixed as to how they ought to live. Can the farmers and labourers go back and accommodate themselves to what they used to live on twenty years ago? I say that the reduction the average farmer got in his rent through the Land Act would hardly support the labourers for six months. What you want is practical, commercial education for training farmers. The education imparted at Glasnevin and similar colleges is too high for the farmer's son as a rule. When he goes home he is often too "toploftical" for the plain surroundings of his father's home and farm to work. He generally comes to grief. I have seen Scotchmen with big ideas as to what they can do on Irish farms coming to this country, but they went out of business very quickly. I have seen landlords, who had land for nothing and who had cheap labour, become smashed because the products they produced were making low prices. I have seen men thirty-five or forty years ago shown in practice what could be done at the time in Sweden and Denmark, and they were dismal failures because they applied those systems to this country. I have known, and still know, some scientific agriculturists in East Cork who never went to an agricultural school or never heard, perhaps, an agricultural instructor lecture, and who could give practical scientific lessons in tillage to the theoretical man. It is more from the want of capital than from the want of knowledge that the Irish farmer is not better fitted to compete in the world's markets. I agree with the Minister that it is possible to improve the cattle of the country, both for milk and beef purposes, both for home and foreign markets, but it will take years for poor people to do it.

As regards oats or barley for finishing cattle they are not as good as Indian meal to make the young animals grow, or as cake to fatten them. If the young cattle were only fed on barley and oats they would not grow up to the standard required by the live stock inspectors. As regards the deterioration of grass lands, it is a fact that some lands did deteriorate in some cases owing to bad or unsuitable artificial manures. The land mostly deteriorated in the period during which farmers were going into the land courts to get their rents fixed and they were afraid that if they improved their holdings the rents would be raised. Some years after the Wyndham Act was passed I travelled over a big district in my county for electioneering purposes and I never saw, in my recollection, the grass lands looking better. That improvement was noticeable, especially from the years, 1911 to 1914, owing, in a large measure, to the good quality of basic slag which could then be got for a reasonable price. If we do not use a good deal of artificial manure for the purpose of increasing tillage the weeds in some instances will stifle the crops. It is a fact that some lands are becoming rank and coarse owing to the artificial manures being ineffective. I believe it is also due to a large extent to the want of lime which is necessary to enable the soil to function properly. I wish to support the other speakers who asked the Government to set the lime kilns working in order to sweeten the grass and improve the yield of good hay for increased milk production. There is a good deal of truth in what Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll said as regards Clonakilty district and the thrifty people on the uneconomic holdings further west, but I would be surprised to hear that those cute and wide-awake people would be caught napping by having their potatoes up and fit for second-earthing in Easter week when they would be burnt by the frost. Perhaps it was that they had the furrows dug for trenching at the end of May, a system that may do well in small patches but which is too costly for the general cultivation of the potato crop. I would suggest to the Minister that the managers of these proposed new Government farms should be got from West Cork. The prospects of a good barley crop in East Cork were never worse for years than they are this year because of the sodden state of the ground, and in some places only about 25 per cent. of the seed remains. It is no use for a man with lofty notions like Professor Webberly teaching the carrying out of dairying on catch crops under climatic conditions like ours.

There is no Deputy who appreciates more than I do the efforts of the Minister for Agriculture to improve the conditions of agriculture. But whilst I do that, I think the Minister will agree with me that there are some branches of the agricultural industry that should receive more assistance and more fostering care. I refer, for instance, to the pig industry, an industry that affects the welfare and fortunes of so many of our people. Never in living memory was the pig population of this country so low as it is at present. I looked up some statistics recently and I found that in the forties, and even later, up to the eighties, we had nearly one and a half million of pigs. During the war I happened to be a member of the Food Control Committee, and I remember that the number of pigs in the country at that time was something short of a million. What has led to the decline of the pig population? That is an important question, and it is one that the Ministry of Agriculture should be able to answer. It is, in my opinion, due to a lot of causes. Number one: we had a Commission on Agriculture, and in their report that Commission told us that only about thirty per cent. of the pigs bred in this country were of the kind required to compete in the markets against our rivals. In my opinion, you want to have some measure on the same line as the Agricultural Produce Act, which dealt with the egg industry, applied to the pig industry. Every unsuitable pig sent out of the country is opening the door to the foreigner, who already is every day knocking our pigs out of the market. Our agricultural instructors, with guidance from the Department, could do a lot for the people by educating them on this subject. I find from experience that it is very difficult to get the farmer to understand that the type of pig that is not wanted is not worth feeding. He may have four pigs, and if you ask him what will he take for three, he will say: "Oh, they were fed together, and I do not like to separate them." It is as if you gave an order for a suit of clothes and did not want an overcoat, but the draper wanted you to buy the overcoat as well as the suit of clothes. That really is the comparison.

The bacon-curing industry is also very badly hit. There was a time when our bacon industry was the foremost in the world. I remember that the City of Dublin had three successful bacon-curing houses—Kehoe's, Donnelly's, and Pakenham. At the time they were floated, Kehoe got £30,000 for his interest; Donnelly £30,000; and Pakenham £20,000. Where are they to-day? Another question of importance is, why has the pig-curing industry declined in Dublin and succeeded in Waterford, Cork, Limerick, and in the northern counties? The same fate awaits the bacon-curing industry, I am afraid, elsewhere, as happened in Dubling if something is not done. Kehoe put in machinery costing thousands of pounds, and had one of the best equipped factories in the City of Dublin. The last time I saw it it was turned into a rag stores. Of course, I know that the bad seasons we have had affected the turf supply, and that has helped to injure those who had to depend on turf in the preparation of food for pigs. On that question it has been proved by the Department, by experiments at Clonakilty and elsewhere, that the raw feeding is as good as boiled for pigs. I have seen it proved. Farmers could be educated on matters like that. I quite agree with the Minister for Agriculture that a good deal depends on the farmers themselves. They will not write to the Department for their leaflets, which give useful information on matters like that. At the same time the county instructors of agriculture could do more to bring it home to the farmers that that experiment as regards raw feeding has been tried, and that it has proved as successful as the cooked feeding.

With regard to the educational aspect of the question, I find that we have 837 acres in Ballyhaise, or had when purchased, and 340 acres in Clonakilty, apart from places like Athenry and Portumna. I asked the Minister some time ago for a return of the number of students in the various colleges under the Department. It struck me from the return he gave that our people are not appreciating the value and importance of such institutions. I quite agree with Deputy Sears in his statement the other day that there is no country in the world as bad for girls as this. The girls are more anxious than the boys to develop industry, especially agricultural industry. Scores of girls have written asking me to see if I could get them into the Munster Institute. It would be a good thing if the boys would show the same anxiety to get into the agricultural colleges. The number of students who attended the Ballyhaise Agricultural College in 1906-7 was 29; in 1907-8, 26; in 1908-9, 35. The number of students who attended the Agricultural College at Clonakilty for the same years was, respectively, 26, 30, and 30. I wonder whether there has been an increase in the number of students in these colleges. There certainly should be an increase under a national Government, because the inclination of the people who take an interest in the development of our principal industry is to train their sons for that industry, and, besides, there are not so many people leaving the country as formerly. I suggest to the Minister that if boys do not take advantage of these schools, he should open more schools for the girls. There are other branches of the industry I wish to speak of, but the opportunity will be better afforded later on for that. So far as the land question is concerned, I am pleased and satisfied at the way the Minister and the Government have set about the division of the land. It is a big problem and will take a good deal of time to settle.

That will come up more properly on Vote 50.

I think our worthy Minister for Agriculture has shown himself to be quite capable of handling the money that we grant to him. The only thing that is stopping the advance of the country, both educationally and otherwise, is want of sufficient money. I am a very small farmer, I used to be a large farmer, and I say there is one thing that cannot be denied, and that is, we are £1 per cwt. under the price of Danish butter. That means, of course, that our butter is not valued as high as the Danish butter, and it is a matter that could be quite easily put right if we once set to work about it. On an average for the whole of Ireland, I should say we are selling our cattle £1 per head less than could be obtained for them were it not for the fact that they are badly driven, and that generally the method employed in marketing is distinctly disadvantageous to the farmers, and is perhaps of slight advantage to the dealers who buy the cattle. We want to see markets properly developed where farmers can know the prices they are going to get for their cattle. We do not want little fairs all over the country with cattle being blocked, and with cattle standing there at these fairs for eight or ten hours and the farmers with a disappointed expression on their faces. If the farmer who has cattle for sale requires the money, he is compelled to sell at a considerably lower price than he would get if he could afford to wait. These things, combined with bad marketing, are causing loss to the agricultural community.

There is then what is called "dealers' butter." The price of "dealers' butter" can be, perhaps, 30/- under the price of Danish butter. The dealers make money out of it but it is out of the pocket of the farmer that it comes. There is no question about that. We come then to the educational question—the most vital of all. Through no fault of the farmer, we are 50 years behind in Ireland as regards agricultural education. We have been told that the farmers will not go to these institutions or send their sons to these institutions. I suggest that the question is: Do they learn when they do go to the present institutions? I challenge the contention that they do. That is why I hope our worthy Minister will get double this grant next year. If those institutions taught really high-class, up-to-date farming, if proper educational systems were formulated by men of expert knowledge, then, I say, you would find the farmers' sons flocking to your institutions. One reason why the farmers' sons do not attend these institutions is that they could not get very much more out of these institutions than they could be taught on their own farms. I have had, for thirty years, something to do with the Munster Institute. At first, it was very difficult to get the farmers' daughters to attend the Munster Institute and we had to pay their fees out of our own pockets. But what was the result, when we got a proper system of education going there? The applications for admission were so numerous that students could not be admitted except they had their names down two years before. That proves that our girls were anxious to learn. I am positive that if we get the agricultural institutions put into proper order and get them staffed with the highest type of investigators, we will do well. But we have got to go further. It is a splendid thing to have our agricultural colleges solving questions and proving that they are very wise people. That is, very often, what they confine themselves to doing. But it is essential that we should hear of their failures as well as of their successes. Then, we would know where we stood. We would know that we should not do certain things, and that it would be wise to carry out certain other things.

The question of capital is an old question. If money is to be made by farmers, they must always find the necessary capital to invest in stock or manures. That, I believe, is necessary if they are to get proper results. We must educate them to attain that result by the proper investment of their money. That is only a business proposition. Furthermore, we require— and this is why I hope the Minister is going to get a very much larger grant next year—to have small farms throughout the country managed by men of intelligence on up-to-date lines, with reference back, perhaps, to the central establishment at Glasnevin or elsewhere. If we do that, we will have the farmers' sons seeking instruction, provided the result of these farms is to put money into the pocket of the farmer. That is what the farmer wants. He has not sufficient money in his pocket. I am sure that even Deputy Johnson would admit that if the farming industry was yielding considerably greater remuneration, there would be no difficulty in connection with wage or labour troubles. We would get proper work paid for properly if we had intensification of the farming industry all over the country. We farm extensively. We do not farm as the Canadians or the Danes or the Swedes or the Germans. They farm intensively. That means that we do not get the full value out of the acreage that we cultivate.

With regard to the cattle industry, that is a very important feature of the farmers' activities. I think we are beginning to wake up on the question of the value of the machine that produces the milk. No matter what the animal is, it requires maintenance food. If the machine only yields 300 gallons of milk, she is a bad machine, and hardly worth her maintenance. If, through careful selection and attention, we can raise the production of that machine to 800 gallons of milk, her maintenance remains the same, but you are getting 500 gallons more out of the machine. You must add additional food for the additional milk she yields, but the maintenance food for the original machine remains practically the same. I think that has been pretty well proved and accepted.

Then we must have regard, again, to our fields. I was surprised, going over parts of the Golden Vale, to notice the large quantity of weeds per acre. That soil contains food. That food should be used for the growth of hay or grass for the maintenance of our cattle. But if these acres of land contain millions of weeds, scattered all over, we cannot obtain the same crop as we would obtain if our land was cleaner and better kept. Our headlands, which in many cases are never ploughed at all, are additional beds for the production of poison in the form of weed-seed, which is sent flying all over the rest of the farm. These are simple problems which were dealt with years ago in Denmark. Let us tackle them now. The only method of tackling them is to get sufficient grants to produce the knowledge that is wanting. I consider that the Irish brain is quite as clever as any other and quite as ready to adapt itself to advantages afforded by scientific investigation. We do not like acknowledging mistakes, but they ought to be acknowledged. If we set our minds to it, the yields of our animals can be enormously increased; our produce can be treated in such a way as to command the highest prices. This can be done for the first time for 200 years, and the farmer can begin to earn the profits he deserves. And all this in spite of the fact that the cost of labour may go up. Labour will then become an overhead charge that can be more or less neglected. But if you are—to use a terrible expression—"pulling the devil by the tail," you cannot afford to do anything for anybody. If you intensify the cultivation of your land, farm labourers will be very pleased that they remained in the country rather than wander off to America seeking employment. I have pleasure in supporting this Vote, and I reiterate the hope that it may be greatly increased next year.

I have listened to the speeches delivered in this debate. Some of them were interesting, but most of them were not. To my mind, the main point hinges round the item that this Vote is intended to provide for— agricultural education. If you look down the different sub-heads of this Vote, you will see that practically all the money is devoted to education. There are grants to county committees in the ordinary way and special grants in certain agricultural districts. But it all comes down to agricultural education. When Deputy Baxter referred to the best method of securing that that education will reach the people for whom it is intended, he contributed, in my opinion, the only sensible suggestion in the whole debate. The rest is a question of detail and of opinion. This matter is neither a matter of detail nor of opinion. It is a matter of actual fact.

Where does the fact exist?

The fact is that education must reach the people for whom it is intended. That is a suggestion that was put up by Deputies on those benches last year. It was put up twenty-five years ago by some of those Deputies, though they were not Deputies then. It has been a hardy-annual with some of the men connected with agricultural committees—those who pay some attention, at least, to agricultural education and development. The same reluctance to put educational knowledge to the test was displayed twenty years or twenty-five years ago as is displayed to-day. The question was put up then to agricultural instructors and they showed no enthusiasm for it. They turned it down. We put it up last year to the Ministry and we put it up now.


What did the Deputy put up?

We put up a new form of agricultural education. We say, after twenty-five years' experience or more of the present system of agricultural education, that you have done all you can in that direction, that your system is worn out and that it has reached all that it is going to reach. You must go another step. We say to you: "Make an act of faith in your gospel. Put your own theories to the test, not in one place or in two places, but in one place each in counties like Kilkenny and Carlow, in a couple of places in counties like Tipperary, and in three or four places in a larger county like County Cork." We do not want demonstration farms to carry out tests. We can leave that to Glasnevin and other experimental farms. What we say is "Give us a demonstration farm that will be an open lesson to every member of the agricultural community who can reach it." What is wrong with that suggestion? I heard objection raised to it last night from the Government Benches. Deputy Sears and Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll opposed it. Why is it opposed? If you think it is good policy to expend a Vote running into £375,000, on agricultural education, surely we have a right to discuss and suggest the best form by which that agricultural education will reach the people for whom it is intended.

If we say to you that what was good twenty-five, twenty and fifteen years ago has worn itself out, that we want to advance a step, that we want to get something better, surely it ought to be worth considering, and the Minister and his advisers should put their gospel to the test. What does the Minister think will be the effect on the public of his refusal to put these theories to the test, his refusal to establish these demonstration farms? The public say: "How do you expect us to believe in what you have no faith in, what you are afraid to put to the test?" We have had the advantage of lectures, we have had the advantage of demonstration plots, some of which are seen, but the majority of which are never seen. Sometimes a notice is put up on the hedge, but it may not be on the roadside; it may be in off the road, as I have seen hundreds of them, and many people do not go in to see them. You know that they have not done so, and you know that when they have gone in the people who carried out the experiments often paid very little attention to them. They have been a failure, and to a large extent, a waste of money. All that you can do in that way has been done, and all the people that you can reach have been reached.

We want demonstration farms within the reach of the people. I would be satisfied with one in Kilkenny, near a railway station and easily accessible, a farm where the people could see what is happening, where all the theories of modern agriculture could be put into practice. The county instructor in poultry-keeping could demonstrate on such a farm everything that should be done in connection with poultry. The best class of poultry-house could be shown; the feeding of the fowl and the food that they use could be shown, with all the little incidentals, grit and all the rest. The correct manner of packing eggs could be shown, and information could be given as to the best way of disposing of them. That is just one item. The agricultural instructor could demonstrate the best method of feeding live stock. He could show people how to grow the best potatoes, what sprouting does, and everything that should be done to get the best results. He could show a dairy herd that had been tested and graded out, how the cows were kept clean, as Deputy Dr. Hennessy says, and how they were milked, everything in connection with an up-to-date herd. The best methods could be demonstrated, and the information that would be given there could not reach the people in any other way. I say that such a farm would be patronised every week by farmers from different districts in the county. You would have excursions bringing farmers to find out what education could be extracted from it. We guarantee that you would have people coming every week to see what you were doing. We would also guarantee the money, and if it required another penny in the £ to run a farm like that and to pay the supervisor, we would be prepared to give it.

I cannot understand why this appeal is regarded with nervousness, why there is a want of confidence in the proposal. I would be sorry to think that there is a want of confidence in it on the part of the Department and its inspectors, because if that is the case we on these benches do not share in it. We believe that there is a big field for this and that it could serve a very useful purpose, that it would improve and would continue to improve agriculture. But if the Minister says: "We will not put it to the test: we are not prepared to do so," the public will say "You have no faith in it yourself." Last night in supporting this contention that these demonstration farms should not be established, we were told "If you want a demonsctration go down to Clonakilty." In some counties we have not men inviting people to go to see what they are doing, but the fact is that the people go. They have gone to see the reason why prizes for barley in every show in the country have been going to one particular district in Kilkenny. People have gone down to find out the reason, although we have not sent for them. They have gone down to look at some of our cattle herds and some of our swine herds, although we have not sent for them. There are people in this country who are able to farm as well as those who blow their own horns. We admit that there are exceptionally good farmers in West Cork, but the thing that has struck most people here, at least from reading some of the comic papers, is the number of people who have escaped from Cork.

On a point of explanation. I think that is for the pleasure of hearing such admirable statements as our worthy friend makes.

I did not catch the interruption. Deputy Johnson has said that we state that nothing will pay but that still we are living better. We have not said that nothing will pay. We have deliberately stated that at present tillage will not pay, and that it has not paid in recent years. We repeat that.


Why is any tillage done then?

Because people must of necessity till some.

In order to lose?

In order to carry on mixed farming.


In order to lose?

There are tillage districts where the people must till of necessity, and where, as a result, there is poverty. I could name districts in Kildare, Carlow and Kilkenny that must till of necessity. I say that tillage as a general principle, carried on without any idea of intelligent farming is false economy. Deputy Johnson was not right when he said that we contend that all items of agriculture are not paying. Some of them are a loss, and some of them can about pay their way.

I hope that the Deputy does not misunderstand me. By no means do I say that, but I took that as the general inference from the speeches delivered, particularly by Deputy Baxter and Deputy Hogan. That was the impression created generally by their speeches.

I think that Deputy Johnson did not form a correct picture of what Deputy Baxter and Deputy Hogan wished to convey. Deputy Johnson says that people are living better. I agree that they are living better, and are looking better, as far as dress goes, but I think shopkeepers could tell you that they are not paying better, at least for the last two years. I think that that can be borne out in every provincial town. The Minister has delayed in submitting his Vote. I had been wondering why he delayed so long, but I think we all know now. He went home and took advantage of the bad weather to pelt in his mangolds in any form in order to be able to come here and say: "I have sown my mangolds." I believe he wanted to be able to stand up and say: "I have my mangolds sown. Have you?"


I will go a step further, and in a month's time will show them against those of any Deputy on the Farmers' benches.

I am certain that the Minister would be a winner, because Deputies did not pretend to put them in. Although Kilkenny does not appear much on the map, it knows a little about land, and I do not think that there will be more than 10 of 15 per cent. of the usual crop of mangolds this year. It will be all turnips. Deputy Sears raised the question of Irish wheat and flour. Reference was made to 60 or 70 years ago, when we were growing considerable quantities of wheat, and when bread made from our own flour was in general use. We know that at the moment, as for years past, flour made from Irish wheat does not find a market in this country. We know that flour made exclusively from Irish wheat cannot be made into bread.

They bake loaves of bread made from exclusively Irish wheat in the Belfast Co-operative Bakery.

In what year?

Any time in the last ten years.

Are they prepared to talk about what they have done this year?

I cannot say anything about this year.


Might I supplement that? You can pick half a dozen farmers in any district in Ireland who use their own wheat.

Does the Minister mean wholemeal?



That is a different matter. Wholemeal bread is all right.

They must be very poor housewives in the county I come from when we have to mix with our own wholemeal 50 per cent. of American flour. Perhaps somebody will contradict me when I say that that must be done. Does any Deputy say that a housewife can make good bread with 100 per cent. of Irish wholemeal? I would like to see the process.

Yes, I can say that.

I say that as a commercial proposition Irish wheat cannot be used by the mills. Three or four years ago we had a very fine dry season, and the millers said that they could use at least 95 per cent. of the year's crop, mixed with best American flour. What will millers tell you to-day? Our people do not want it, and a market cannot be found for it. I am speaking as one who, in my own home, has never used anything but wholemeal, except white bread for young children. My family, which is a large one, never uses anything but wholemeal. Reference has also been made to the crops, I have seen it not in one or two counties, but a dozen counties; I have seen it not alone on the west coast, but on the east coast and in the midlands.

On the east coast there is not 50 per cent. of the rainfall that we have in the midlands. I am talking of the districts near the sea. You have to go to the mountainous districts 15 or 20 miles inland before you get the great rainfall. I could understand early growth in Lusk, Co. Dublin; in Co. Wicklow, around Clonakilty, Listowel, or Ballybunion. But in the midlands every day has been practically a wet day, and the sub-soils are different. I can understand work being done on a sandy soil or on a light loam soil. But in a considerable part of this country we have heavy clay, and I should like to see the farmer who would even go in to temper it in the bad weather we have been having. I wonder what would be the result. He would be raising tombstones. I want the experts from the Department of Agriculture to contradict me in this matter, if possible, because I am prepared to accept their opinion. It has been stated that this is not going to be a bad year. I fear it is going to be a very bad year. I fear there cannot be proper tillage, except on the sandy and light loam soil, such as you get around Lusk, Co. Wicklow and Clonakilty.

There is plenty of grass.

No doubt of a certain quality. There is no doubt that if the weather keeps fine the feeding qualities of grass will be increased 100 per cent., but at present, although there is quantity, there is very little quality. In connection with the prosperity of West Cork, I should like to hear a speech from Deputy T. Murphy, of the Labour Party; Deputy Noonan, of the Government Party, or, perhaps, Deputy O'Donovan of the Farmers' Party. They could tell us something about the ideal conditions round about Clonakilty, and I would pay a lot of attention to what they would say.

As to test farms, one thing they would do would be, perhaps, that they would silence some of the "book" farmers that talk at public meetings about what farming ought to be and write letters to the Press. It would certainly be an education to them. When these tests would be applied I fancy some of these people should find themselves in rather an awkward position. Restraint might have to be imposed on some of them—even some of our extern Ministers.

There is no use in talking about side issues on this Vote. The thing we have to discuss is in what way this Vote can be best applied, and we should discuss this as business men. As a farmer, who knows as many other farmers as any Deputy here, I say that the methods advocated by the Department of Agriculture are more or less doubted by the average farmer. I believe that they are right, if put into practice in the right way, and that if demonstrated before the eyes of the farmers they will stand the test. If the Department has as much confidence in what it preaches as I have I say that the right method of carrying out its policy is not by lectures. Lectures were good in their time. They have served their purpose and prepared the people to a great extent.

The time has now come to take a further step in that education. The Department should go further and put the results of the experiments at the central experimental farm and what has been learned from other countries, when proved successful, into practice. I do not want experiments down the country. I want to see the results of proved experiments put in practice for the benefit of the public. The public will respond if the Department does its duty to the public.

There is not much use in referring to those people who lecture us with regard to agriculture. Most of us think it is not worth while refuting their statements. What they have been saying is regarded as a joke—perhaps a welcome joke in this bad weather, as we want something to laugh at. Certainly we have laughed at some people who went to Athy and elsewhere to preach about the proper methods of farming and who have never been on a farm in their lives, except to pass through. The proper penalty for that sort of "flapdoodle" is to put such people on a demonstration farm to carry their ideas into effect, and see how far they will succeed. That would be a very fair sentence for any person advancing these theories. It would not be putting them in a very bad position, according to themselves, and it would please us to see them "waddling" away in the mud. Another question that has been touched upon is that of tillage. There is no doubt that if this country is to prosper we must keep up a certain amount of tillage.


But it does not pay!

With your co-operation we will make it pay if you give us a chance. If you deny that co-operation the matter is ended. We say that tillage must be made to pay. By that I do not mean the old methods of 100 years or so ago. People talk about wheat growing being a success fifty or a hundred years ago. They ought to get away from that and see what is the class of tillage suitable for the present time. They should take into consideration such things as the climate, the cheap foreign stuffs that are coming into the country, and compare conditions with the famine time, say, when wheat could not come into the country lower than £3 per barrel. Let us come down to facts. If you go to the spring fairs it is easy to know where the good cattle come from and where the backward cattle come from. The backward cattle come from the districts where there is very little tillage, very little mixed farming. By that I mean something different from a purely barley or wheat farm. That is not my idea of tillage. My idea of tillage is to carry it on in connection with a proper, well-thought-out system of agriculture. Even in the dark of a winter morning at a fair, by handling cattle you can always tell where they come from. It is not necessary even to have the daylight. You can tell good stores by their coat and know where they come from. They come from districts where mixed farming is carried on. Anybody who travelled in Scotland last year must have been struck by the changes the Scotch people have thought well to make in agriculture. The same applies to England—I do not know anything about the Continent. In England and in Scotland silos are being built all over the country. The Department has confidence in silos. We do not want empty silos. We want them filled with good feeding stuffs. We want them filled with catch crops, for which tillage is necessary. We want oats mixed with beans and some other catch crop coming afterwards, and the silos filled properly. That is the way in which modern methods can be applied. We want to see these things demonstrated on demonstration farms. You cannot treat cattle properly without having tillage and silos. Of course, a certain number can be fed if you are going to kill your cattle young. But we must get away from that. Our methods must be revolutionised, and if that is to be achieved, these things must be demonstrated. I am for tillage, for proper agricultural methods, for getting down to the people and showing them what can be done.

Butter production has been referred to by the Minister, and Deputies have spoken a great deal about winter dairying. Winter dairying was probably worth a considerable amount of attention up to a few years ago, but conditions have altered. The alteration has been brought about by summer crops preserved in silos and by cold storage. When we consider the climate in the winter and the climate in the summer, and all the food stuffs that are available in the summer, it is a question whether the butter supply in this country cannot be kept up much more profitably by good summer feeding and cold storage—by producing in the summer to meet the winter demand. That is a matter that agricultural instructors are giving a lot of attention to, and it would be very desirable to have the opinion of our agricultural experts put before the people. It has been put before them in the form of lectures, but it should be put before them in the form of demonstrations. To my mind, there are a lot of arguments against winter dairying, as compared with summer dairying and cold storage—that is, for the production of butter. Production of milk is a different problem altogether. The demand for fresh milk must be supplied. Methods must be adopted to get the best returns possible in order to supply milk in winter. The demand for milk in winter can nearly always be met. It is the butter supply that is not sufficient and that we are concerned with. No doubt the supply of milk can be improved by better methods, but the winter supply of butter is not at all adequate. In order to meet the demand, we have to import nearly one million pounds worth of butter. That is a question that should be considered in all its bearings. I do not know that I ought to leave this without referring to the question of barley.

Deputy Gorey has already exceeded his time.

I am sorry if I have done so.

I would like to say a few words on this matter. I think Deputy Gorey's tempestuous references to what he called the "book farmer," and his resentment of any opinions on the question of agriculture which may be offered by any Deputy who does not live on a farm, gives us exactly the outlook of the average farmer in Ireland to-day.

I want to convey nothing of the sort.

The average farmer has too much of this thing : "What was good enough for my father and grandfather is good enough for me."

We do not say that.

I have said the direct opposite to that. I have said that what was good enough for their fathers was not good enough for them.

I did not say that Deputy Gorey said that, and there is no use in Deputy Gorey getting up that way. I say that that is the outlook of the average farmer in Ireland.

That is not so.

Deputy Gorey and those sitting with him know very well that that is the problem; and that is what Deputy Gorey and the Minister for Lands and Agriculture are fighting at the moment. They cannot get those people to go to the lectures and to take advantage of the education which they can get from the Department of Agriculture.

We make the confession that they are not taking full advantage of it.

That is the point, and it is well-known. So long as the farmers are suspicious of any new or modern methods, and so long as their outlook is limited to the confines of their own farm, we are not going to have much opportunity of competing with the Danes and with other peoples in the British markets.

I have not said any such thing. I have said that the people are anxious to improve, and I have made no contemptuous references.

The fact is that I am really agreeing with most of what Deputy Gorey has said. I am saying that this is the outlook of the average farmer, and it is one of the reasons why the farmers of Ireland are not able to compete with the farmers of other countries. We hear a lot in this House about the neglect of agriculture. By whom is agriculture neglected? It is neglected principally by the people engaged in it, because they will not take advantage of modern methods. Until they do so, until they lose their suspiciousness, and until such time as they develop a broader outlook, they are not going to be in a position to make agriculture a paying proposition.

Will the Deputy explain what he means by modern methods?

Deputy Wilson knows very well what I mean.

I do not know.

Deputy Wilson knows very well that if the average farmer in Ireland would try to educate himself to the same standard as the farmer in Denmark or Holland, we would be well able to compete with him. We have all the advantages.

If he does not try, how are you to remedy the matter?

That is the point. The speeches of the Farmer Deputies are all directed towards putting the blame on the Department of Agriculture.

Not at all.

No such thing.

I may have misunderstood what was said, but we have heard it stated that the present system was worn out, and that the teaching of the Department of Agriculture for the last twenty-five years or so was all good in its own way. It was undoubtedly good; but the trouble was, and I think Deputy Gorey will admit it, that the farmers did not avail of any teaching.

It was availed of, and very largely.

It was by a number, but not by all of them. Even though I have not a farm, I recognise that the farmers have been very badly hit during the last two or three years. They have lost a lot of their crops. But there are numbers of farmers who were prepared to sacrifice their crops rather than pay £3, £4 or £5 to employ labour to assist in saving the crops and putting them in. That is well known to many Deputies here, and particularly Deputies on the Farmers' Benches. It does not apply to all the farmers, but it does to a good many. March this year was as good a month as could be got, and the first week or fortnight in April was good. In my country a lot of crops were sown then, and the people who had help got in their crops. There were, however, numbers of people who were satisfied to plod along in their own slipshod way, hoping that the weather would continue good. They were not able to get in their crops because the weather broke. If those people had spent a couple of pounds on labour when they had the fine weather, they would have got in their crops, and that might have meant the great difference between a good and a bad crop.

It has been stated that demonstration farms would be very good. In their own way they would be good, if you could get the farmers to attend them. You cannot get farmers to attend demonstrations. Even if a certain number of farmers attended, the demonstration plots would produce a lot of good. While you have that condition of things, that you will get a bigger crowd of farmers at a local flapper race meeting than at an agricultural show, I do not see very much hope for agriculture. Deputies on the Farmers' Benches will agree that that is so. It is all right to get a demonstration farm, or a couple of them, in a county; but it is another thing to get farmers to visit them. It seems to me that with the present outlook of a large number of the farmers of the country, you would want to have every second farm a demonstration farm, so that all they would have to do would be to look over the hedge. If the members of the Farmers' Party believe, as they have stated, that the demonstration farms would do such an amount of good, I think the Minister ought seriously to consider the matter. I would suggest to Deputy Gorey and his colleagues that it does not matter very much what system of agricultural education we have if we cannot induce the farmers to take advantage of it.

Under the various sub-heads we have, I think, sufficient opportunity of dealing with very many important points. There have been many important points touched on to-day. I do not, however, feel like following the example that has been set. I think many of these points could be dealt with more carefully and could be given more time and consideration-perhaps with even less heat—if they were taken up and discussed on their merits, having in view the possibility of improvements. Useful improvements could in that way be suggested. There is one point I want to refer to. It has been touched upon already by Deputy Nolan and one other Deputy. That point refers to the handling of Irish cattle. The loss to this country caused by methods of loading cattle at railway banks at different fairs in Ireland is far greater than even the farmers themselves realise. I do not refer to any one county. There may be counties where this horrible abuse does not exist. There are numbers of counties where it does exist. I will not specify any of them, and I cannot say that any of them are exempt. In many cases the cattle are driven up narrow passes in order to be loaded. Certain dealers have certain men in charge and those drovers take in odd cattle for certain buyers. Those odd cattle are forced through other rows of cattle, sometimes through three or four hundred cattle. A man may have half a wagon of cattle that he cannot get through. Then these odd cattle are beaten, mercilessly flogged. Those who have cattle on the bank have to flog their own cattle in order to retain their position. Sometimes, at big fairs, it means beating cattle through for a distance of a quarter of a mile. The bank ordinarily would be filled with cattle and yet those other people force their way through and the animals suffer all the time.

That is an immense loss to this country, as I intend to prove when I complete the points I have to make in connection with the subject. The matter I speak of could be remedied if odd cattle were not allowed in and if no wagon was allowed to be taken up unless a man could fill it. That could be followed to its logical conclusion. If the purchaser of cattle was not able to complete the filling of the wagon, he should not get a wagon, and should not be allowed to hold people up for three or four hours. Apart from the inconvenience and the time and attention taken up after being at a fair, one must consider the subjecting of cattle to this meaningless treatment, which adds so much to the depreciation of their value when they are placed on the market. I believe there is a committee dealing with the subject, and I hope the report will soon come before us. I know the way cattle are driven to the boats and I know that in the boats the handling of cattle has been pretty much the same. A Deputy who returned from the markets across the water last week told me that at a very important landing station he saw one drover beating at least three hundred Irish cattle across the loins as they were being unloaded. That is meaningless and unnecessary. It is cruel to the animals and it does considerable injury to them. That injury affects the value of Irish stock. A report of that nature is absolutely shocking. It is shocking to think that any one man would be allowed to beat three hundred cattle across the loins while being unloaded.

In the Dublin market a lot of damage is done, too. Though most of the Dublin salesmen have entered a protest and have done all they could to stop the abuse, still it exists. I fear we do not give sufficient attention to this matter. Yesterday the Minister told us there was a larger number of yearlings purchased in Ireland than cattle of a more advanced age. That was not because the yearlings were a lower price, but because they suffered less from abuse than cattle of a greater age. Some people say that cattle suffer for two or three months on the other side. Numbers of men who farm in England tell me that Irish cattle would be bought by the hundred if they were not injured so much in transit. Unfortunately, however, because of the way they are handled, they are inferior to other cattle and some men have practically ceased to purchase Irish cattle when they can get others. That state of affairs must be remedied.

We talk a good deal about tillage and about stall-feeding and the finishing of cattle. We are told that often the cattle are shipped to England in an unfinished condition. Finished cattle from Ireland cannot go to the English or the Scotch markets with any advantage to the seller, because they are so marked they will not fetch a reasonable price. The handling they get in transhipment affects them so much that they realise a far less price than cattle from other countries would. Men who purchase Canadian stock have told me —this is not a matter of hearsay or Press reports, but actually comes from men engaged in the business, whose main source of living is farming—that they have reason to complain, as Irish cattle are in a worse condition, and they prefer to get the Canadian or other cattle. I hope this matter is going to receive the very serious and careful attention of the Government. I believe the Minister knows of it himself. The loss to the Irish farmer is very serious. Every Deputy who has an interest in this matter should seriously consider some method of remedying it. I hope the Minister will show that he has recognised its importance and how gravely it affects one of the principal industries of the country, the shipment of cattle.

I want to refer only to a few points, because the Deputies who have spoken have covered the main points dealt with by the Minister in his discourse on the state of agriculture throughout the country. I had occasion a few weeks ago to call the attention of the Minister to the fact that in one port in the Saorstát carcases of New Zealand bacon have been imported. Since then I understand that a huge number of carcases have been imported into other ports in the Saorstát. I would like to impress on the Minister the importance of seeing that these carcases are not being sold as Irish bacon to the detriment of the Irish bacon trade. This practice is, I believe, going on quite generally throughout the country, and I think that the Minister should draw the attention of the veterinary staff of his Department to it. I agree in the main with the Minister's view of the agricultural position, but there is one point to which he referred on which I would like to comment. He stated that the land has deteriorated, and is deteriorating, for the want of proper attention. Deputies can only speak for their own particular areas, or for their own particular constituents. I know that in the main the small farmers in my county are taking greater care of their lands than they have previously. I think that the land in County Sligo is in better condition now than it was ten or fifteen years ago. I think that is generally true of areas where tillage is carried on on an extensive scale. Deputy Doyle made, what I rather consider, a sweeping statement to the effect that tillage does not pay. In many areas it does not pay, but that statement is too general and sweeping to allow it to pass unchallenged.

I referred to extensive tillage and to putting the stuff on the market in a raw state.

Yes. I know that the question of transport and other matters enters into the question of carrying it on successfully. There is no doubt that tillage on a certain class of land near towns has been, and is, a paying proposition. I can show statistics to the Minister and to Deputies to prove that.

In the neighbourhood of towns?

We accept that.

Like Deputy Nolan, I would be interested in seeing the balance sheets in connection with these Government farms.

They are in the Estimates this year by themselves.

Is it right that these should be called experimental farms rather than colleges?

"Experimental farms" is, I think, right.

I think that these balance sheets supply a very strong argument against the establishment of model farms as advocated by Deputy Baxter and Deputy Gorey.

I did not refer to demonstration farms as opposed to experimental farms. I wanted to get the results of the successful experiments, not of the unsuccessful experiments, at the demonstration farms.

I think that both of the Deputies have the same thing in their minds.

Not at all.

I think that the educational and experimental work carried on on these farms should be brought nearer the farmers generally. I think that if small farms were established in each county where experimental and demonstration work is carried on, say, such as at Athenry, it would be one means of educating small farmers in the way of improving their industry, using better methods of tillage, and adopting more up-to-date systems of farming generally. Let us take, for example, one of the 400,000 smallholders to whom the Minister referred yesterday. They understand very little of the agricultural work which is going on in agricultural stations and of the experiments in connection with the varieties of manures, seeds, and so forth. I agree that statistics are supplied regarding the results of these experiments and that leaflets are issued by the Department, but these rarely get into the hands of small farmers, who are quite ignorant of the advantages to be gained by acting on the advice and experience obtained in these colleges in connection with these experiments. I hold that the Minister should reconsider the policy of his Department in connection with the maintenance and upkeep of these colleges. I think that greater advantage would be gained if farms of this kind were carried on on a smaller scale but on practically the same lines as they are carried on at present. It could then be demonstrated to the small farmers that on farms such as they themselves manage similar results could be obtained. After all, it is only on lines such as these that you will enable the small farmer to take an interest in and pursue up-to-date methods. It is useless to talk about farmers equipping themselves to compete with the Danes and farmers in other countries where agriculture is highly organised for a number of years, if we do not make some effort to bring home to the small farmers the advantage of using up-to-date methods. I hold that one way of doing it is to carry on experimental and educational farms of this kind, one in each county, or perhaps two in certain counties, and we could then with advantage do away with some of the farms carried on by the State at present.

I would like to clear up a few points. I stated in opening yesterday that the typical farmer was one of a £20 valuation—typical not only from the point of view that he, in fact, owns practically all the land of the country, but typical also inasmuch as the conditions which apply to him apply to the average farmer throughout the country. In that connection I said that we might leave the grazier out of account. I think I said that he owns no more than five per cent. of the land. I want to explain what I mean by grazier, and what land I included in the five per cent. I stated that there was about ten million acres of land purchased, and that none of that land was in the hands of graziers. By grazier I mean the eleven months man or the man with five or six hundred acres, who is either setting his land or grazing stores with one or two herds. I do not mean a one hundred or two hundred acre farmer who is farming well, or even a bigger farmer. For that reason when we refer to that class of man who raise store cattle and who keeps a herd or a dog, I do not think that we can say that more than a hundred thousand acres of the ten million acres are in the hands of graziers, especially as the maximum advance in the 1903 and subsequent Act was £7,000. I say that the ten million acres are not in the hands of men like graziers. We now come to the four million acres unpurchased, of which two millions are in the hands of tenants.

Under what heading would the Minister put the man with 1,500 acres?

I do not know any man with fifteen hundred or a thousand acres of land purchased. As I say, the maximum advance under the 1903 Act was £7,000.

Does the Minister put him in with the graziers?

I am trying to dispose of the ten million acres, and I say that that land is purchased. With any sort of approximate definition of a grazier you cannot say that much of that land is in the hands of graziers. Not much of it would be in the hands of people whom Deputies generally would consider graziers. Then we come to the four million acres unpurchased. Of that, two million acres are in the hands of the tenants, and the other two million acres are untenanted. The two millions of untenanted lands will be disposed of shortly, or, at least, in five or six years. That will add to the farming population of the country about 40,000 holdings to the existing number of 420,000. I do not take into account these two million acres when talking of graziers. The grazier will be disposed of, in so far as he is a grazier, in five or six years' time. He does not affect the problem in any big way. There are 420,000 holdings at present, and the most that we can do is to add to that number 40,000. Therefore, the graziers properly so called, would become existing tenants. You cannot define a grazier in any other way but by the way he farms, and not because he owns seven hundred, eight hundred, nine hundred or as low perhaps as two hundred acres. A grazier properly so-called is that tenant who has purchased and who owns that sort of land and who farms it in the way I have mentioned.

So long as we do not misunderstand each other it does not matter much. A considerable amount of the 2,000,000 acres which is untenanted land not yet purchased is used as the grazier uses his land. That problem will be dealt with in three or four years. It will add 40,000 to the existing number of holdings. The land owned by the grazier, properly so-called, is less than 4 per cent. of the whole land of the country. I do not wish to enter into discussion here as to whether the large farmer should till half his holding. I thought I had explained that clearly. Deputy Doyle and other Deputies seem to have illusions on that matter, and seem to think that I suggested that half the land should be brought under the plough. I made no such suggestion. As he hardly affects this problem, I simply ruled out the grazier at the beginning because he held such a small area of the country, and has a small effect on the national economy. I confined myself to the typical farmer, the man with a valuation of about £20, say £5 more or less. Farmers of that type will in five or six years own practically 95 per cent. of the land of the country, and must in their tenure and method of farming represent the agricultural problem. You cannot consider tillage or any other problem in connection with agriculture unless you consider it apropos of that type of farmer, because, as I have said, he owns practically all the land, and conditions apply to him that do not apply to the big farmer. I may say that there will always be a function for the big farmer who works his land efficiently. He will be the pioneer in his district, and he will provide first-class animals and first-class technique generally. I do not want to get into an argument as to his exact functions, as they really do not matter in comparison with the problem and prospects of the men who own 95 per cent. of the country, namely, the farmer of 40 acres or 50 acres. I suggest we might confine ourselves to these for the purposes of the Estimates, and if we do, perhaps there will not be quite so much cross-purposes. Some of these farmers employ perhaps one or two labourers, but in a great many cases the farmers' own sons and daughters do the work. At present farmers of the class I have mentioned till on an average four acres. I am asked how do I know that. I know it from my own experience, and if I want to check it in figures I can take the tillage of the country and divide it by the number of holdings. In that way it will be found that there is about one-seventh of the 30 acre farms on the average tilled. This is something about which there should not be any real doubt or difference of opinion. We come from the country, and we know just what the 30 acre or 40 acre farmer tills. I think no one can deny that the figure I have given is a typical figure. The man who has 35 acres will till 5 or 6 acres, and will have, say, 2 or 3 acres of corn, half an acre of mangolds, and a bit of kitchen garden. That is the typical tillage farmer of the country, and remember that the average tillage farmers with 30 or 40 acres each own practically all the land.

Does the Minister include meadows?


No. It does not matter whether we include meadow or not, for if we realise the figures do not include meadow we know where we are. I have tried to make it plain that there was no likelihood in our time that half the holdings would be tilled, or that it would be an advantage to till half of them. I thought I had made it plain that summer farming will be an important aspect of farming in this country, unlike Denmark and other countries. I suggest, in connection with that, that even this year the farmer did get in his four acres of tillage. I suppose that cannot be denied at any cross-roads in Ireland. The man who would not get in his four acres of tillage this year, and it is a really bad year, was asleep. Deputies should not enlarge on the difficulties of tillage farming on the assumption that half the land of the country is under tillage. This spring was very hard, but there was little difficulty, as regards the live farmer, in getting in four acres of tillage. The man who could not get that done, as I have said, was asleep, and to prove that is so I need only go into any county in Ireland, or into any parish, and take out the good farmers, the men who work hard, and I will find that their crops are in. Deputy Gorey's arguments would be sound if I were expecting farmers to till half their land—if I expected the 150-acres farmer to till 70 acres. What I do ask is that the typical farmer, on whom the country depends, the farmer of £20 valuation or thereabouts, instead of having two or three acres of oats, might go to four or four and a half acres; instead of half an acre for mangolds he might have one and a half; and instead of a rood for turnips he might have half an acre. It would be well worth while if that were done by the average small farmer, of whom we have 400,000, and who practically produce all the wealth of the country. Look at what it would mean. Would he not be able to feed his stock in the winter, and have his cows coming in in better condition in spring? The money advantage of that in bacon, beef, and mutton would easily tot up to £10,000,000 or £20,000,000 a year. These considerations apparently are beneath the notice of certain persons who profess to take an interest in agriculture. They like to think in big terms and make sweeping assertions, but the working farmer who tills an additional half acre or acre makes all the difference. I only want Deputies to apply their minds to the problem. Is there anything really wrong in the climate, or anything in the peculiar circumstances of this country to prevent the average small farmer from increasing his mangolds by half an acre, his turnips half an acre, and his oats an acre or so? One of the contributions that was nearest to the mark and to reality was that from Deputy Mrs. Collins-O'Driscoll when she spoke of what is done in West Cork. It is the same in practically every parish in Ireland as regards the good farmers.

I want to refer to a point of view that has been expressed here, and on which I have heard the changes rung, especially from Deputy Baxter. The note he struck is the note of a very small minority of hopeless farmers in this country. The majority of the farmers are again settling down to work. The conditions during the last three or four years were upsetting to every class of people who did not know exactly where they were and what security they had. They were not doing themselves justice, but the big majority of the farmers are settling down, and are not, as Deputy Baxter says, unwilling to be educated. My experience, and that of the Department's instructors, especially during the last year, is that the people are coming to the winter classes anxious to be educated and to get information, and anxious to take advantage of any benefits the Department can put at their disposal. I have said that the small farmer is the typical case, and if that point is not grasped everything I say falls to the ground, for that is the point on which my argument rests. I suggest it would pay that farmer to grow more barley and buy less Indian meal, to grow more wheat and to buy less flour. I do not care whether his wholemeal is mixed with white flour. That is a matter of taste. I know farmers who eat nothing but wholemeal. I admit that Deputy Gorey is right when he said that the taste in this country, even amongst the poor, is for the white meal. People, of course, have their tastes; for instance, a Connemara man would not eat a potato that a man in the Ritz Hotel in London would be glad to get. We are very particular in some respects, for certain reasons. I need not go into the historical reasons why the unfortunate man in Connemara is so particular. But, in any case, that is the fact. I do suggest that he could make a little bit of money for himself and, in the sum total, make a lot of money for the country, if, instead of using Indian meal at a cost of 12s. per cwt., he would grow a little oats and barley— oats, mixed with something else, for his cows, and barley for his pigs. Barley is almost an exact substitute for Indian meal. It analyses practically the same, and for that purpose, I have the temerity to suggest that barley can be produced in an average year at about 8s. per cwt. What was Deputy Baxter's answer to that? If it amounted to anything it amounted to this: that nobody has yet discovered what price barley can be grown at. I do not know that you require a model farm to ascertain what it costs to plough, to harrow, to fertilise, to sow and to reap an acre of barley. Off the acre, you would get about 18 cwt. of barley. Apparently, that is not known yet, and, therefore, we cannot discuss this particular problem. It is a concrete thing, and there seems to be a temperamental objection to discussing anything concrete. The objection to my argument was that nobody knows what it will take to produce an acre of barley. I could go to any cross road in the country and get a very shrewd idea from the people assembled there of what it costs to produce an acre of barley. Deputy Doyle was not far from the figure. Of course, he did not undertake it. I think he will agree with me in that. Naturally, he would choose the maximum figure for the purpose of his argument. But there is only one shilling difference between us. His figure works out at about 9s. a cwt. I think that is pretty high, in average conditions. But even at 9s. per cwt. it is 3s. cheaper than Indian meal has been for three or four years, and it is more than 3s. cheaper than it is at present. Who is the person I am asking to grow this wheat and barley? I am asking the small farmer, who has his sons—I do not suggest that they should be kept from school—to assist him. In a great many cases the small farmer has his sons doing practically nothing, as compared with the way they work in other districts. These men I want to grow a rood of wheat, instead of buying flour at £1 per cwt. I suggested that he could grow wheat at 12s. per cwt. I do not know whether that figure of 12s. is denied.

What does he want with that rood of wheat?


He wants it for himself, in order to avoid buying flour at £1 per cwt.

How far would a rood of wheat go?


We will say half an acre if you like. Half an acre of wheat would go a long way in most families.

If they did not eat it.


I said it was on those lines that farming would have to develop, so far as the backward farmer I have mentioned is concerned. I suggested also that competition in our main market was increasing in every direction. That is a fact that is not denied either. The difficulty I am in in a debate of this sort—I think other Deputies have the same experience—is that you never know what is denied and what is admitted. Everything seems to be shifting. Deputies who object to your view attack it from one point of view now and then shift on to another point of view, so that in the end you do not know what is admitted and what is denied and what is common case. Unless you can agree, to some extent, on common case, you can argue nothing. I suggested that competition is increasing everywhere, and I do not think that is denied. I suggested that, for the pur pose of meeting that competition, farmers had to organise in this country as in other countries. What was the answer to that? "They are too ignorant." I do not agree. But that was really what Deputy Baxter said. "They are too uneducated." I do not agree. "They won't organise themselves: it is your duty to organise them." I do not believe it. That is only the point of view affecting the very small minority of hopeless farmers in the country. Farmers are organising themselves. They are waking up to the fact that organisation is necessary. That is evident. That tendency was interfered with, to a great extent, for the last three years for reasons which were not agricultural. But they are beginning to realise that it is necessary to organise, and they are organising.

I am supposed to have a bee in my bonnet on that matter. But is it not perfectly obvious that without organisation we cannot meet the competition which we have to meet from other countries? What is the great advantage the Dane has over us? Standardisation. What is the great advantage the Scot has over us? Standardisation. There you have butter and beef dealt with. How can you have standardisation without a common policy, recognised by every unit in the organisation? How can you have that common policy without organisation? I am not speaking so much of organisation for trade. I am talking of organisation for policy and for education. I suggested that there was one problem that should be seriously tackled by the dairy farmers— that of increasing the milk production of their cows by 100 gallons. I said it could be done in two years if we started properly at it now. I invited some of the Farmer Deputies to give us their views on that. I have not got them. I do not know whether they hold that you cannot improve the milk yield of the cows of the country to that extent I got a vague general impression from the debate that, if it is to be done, we shall have to employ more agricultural instructors and inspectors and send them round to organise the farmers. Organisation in that respect does not, I am glad to say, depend on that point of view. The farmers are organising for that purpose. I suggested, too, that the farmers should try to have a common live stock policy—that they should realise that the proper policy of this country is to breed the minimum number of heifers to replenish the herds and to breed the best beef cattle we can breed. When you talk of breeding cattle everybody knows that it is the small farmer who breeds the small cattle of the country. We have the Live Stock Breeding Act, by which we hope to get rid of certain bulls, but there are 101 problems that we cannot touch. The State machinery is not fine enough to go down to certain matters. They can only be attended to by voluntary organisations. Nevertheless it is very essential that they should be attended to. Deputy Nolan, I think, mentioned the question of the dishorning of cattle. That would mean, I suppose, if properly carried out, half a million a year as a minimum. I considered that whole question in connection with the Live Stock Breeding Bill, and whether some section should not be inserted in the Bill to the effect that all male calves not intended to be kept as bulls should be dishorned as calves. After considering it very fully I decided that we could not administer it, for this reason: a farmer neglects to apply caustic, or whatever is necessary to dishorn the animal. You take him before the Circuit Court and he says: "I intended to keep this animal as a bull, and I changed my mind afterwards." This is an example of what might be done by farmers themselves if they had a common policy in the matter, and that one little thing would mean £400,000 or £500,000 a year to them in the treatment of cattle.

My objection to it was the enforcing of the Anæsthetics Act.


I do not want to refer to that, because it raises a question that is not quite relevant. Some people say that it is extremely cruel to dishorn cattle without an anæsthetic.

The big question is the question that is engaging the attention of a great number of people at present. I need not point out to the Minister the hardships that cattle have to undergo on the way to the market when they are not dishorned. They do a great deal of damage to each other.


I have stated that— that the dishorning of male calves would mean a gain of perhaps £400,000 or £500,000 to the farmers by way of ensuring that the cattle would not injure each other. But I stated the difficulties of administering such a scheme by the State, and I say that, in my opinion, that is one of the things that can only be done by the organised opinion of the farmers themselves. Take another question, a question which is coming to the forefront every day, and which already is a very vital question so far as live stock breeding is concerned. You have to cross an Aberdeen-Angus bull with a Shorthorn for the purpose of producing really good store stock. You can produce a really first class beef animal from an Aberdeen-Angus or even a Hereford. But now they are beginning to breed from such a cross-bred. There is, too, a man who perhaps owns a heifer from a cross-bred cow and keeps it. That tendency has gone too far, but the State cannot stop it. You can hardly put a clause in a Bill to say that no one shall breed from a cross-bred heifer, or if you did you could not administer it. That is a thing for thought, and organised farmers can think for themselves. Deputy Baxter, I am glad to say, is wrong. It will not be necessary for the Department to employ new officers at the expense of the farmers to organise them. Farmers are, in fact, waking up, and I do give it as my opinion that at present the big majority of the farmers are in a fairly sound position, are beginning to realise exactly on what side their bread is buttered, and that you cannot succeed in farming without hard work, with a little intelligence to do the one and to get the other.

The Minister has made a statement which I think might be misinterpreted. Am I right in saying that he is not excluding from his scheme of organisation the possibility of organising for trade?


No. I wanted to try to confine myself to the other aspect for the moment. That is another question.

Does the Minister still adhere to his statement that you can increase the milk yield of cows by a hundred gallons in two years?



In two years?


Yes, certainly.

I wonder how he will do that.


Selection. A hundred gallons is not much really. I hope I have made plain what I mean by increased tillage, and I hope that the criticism of what I have said in that direction will be on the exact points which I have made, and not on some points which I have not made at all. I said that the State could do very little more for the existing farmer than educate him. i went on to say that nothing that the State could do could compare at all in importance with the education of the farmer, and, as Deputy Gorey pointed out, that is the main function of the Department of Agriculture. The discussion then developed on the lines as to how the farmer should be educated, and it was expressed from the Farmers' benches, notably by Deputy Baxter, that the farmer was very badly in need of education, was most uneducated, would not go to winter classes, could not be educated along the old lines, and that some new methods should be adopted. His panacea was the cinema and the model farm. First of all, I do not believe that the farmer is quite so uneducated as Deputy Baxter says, and I am absolutely certain that he is not so unwilling to be educated as the Deputy has suggested. That is not my experience. But in any event, whether he is right, or I am, in that connection, we can both agree in this, that his education has been very much neglected; we can both agree that educating the farmer is the best that we can do for him, and if we are agreed on that, I say that suggesting the cinema simply as a panacea in that direction, as a cure-all, the beginning and the end of the education of the farmer, is like suggesting to a man who has not a coat that he should buy a silk hat.

I did not suggest the cinema alone. I suggested it as one form of education.


It was the only suggestion that the Deputy made.

I suggested the demonstration farm too.


What I have to say on that question is just this: What the small farmer's son wants above all is a first-class primary education. I am in agreement with Deputy O'Connell that there should be compulsory education up to fourteen years, and it would be quite easy to manage the course so that hay-making and such things would not be interfered with.

Would the Minister stop at fourteen?


I do not know. It is a question whether it should be compulsory to fifteen or not. But what is really lacking to the small farmer is a first-class primary education, reading, writing and arithmetic, and the suggestion that he ought to be taught agriculture in the primary schools is beside the point. That is the first thing he needs, and that would be worth all the cinemas that you could give him. I agree with Deputy Gorey that you must bring education to the farmer. You will not bring it by having a model farm here and there, one in each county.

A dozen.


You will not bring it by means of a dozen, or three or four dozen, in each county. You require really good winter classes, and for that purpose village halls. Deputies have talked about the system of education in Denmark. There is a good deal, I do not like to say nonsense, but a good deal that I do not agree with about Danish education, or the Folk Schools. They are for boys between the ages of sixteen and nineteen.

It creates an appetite.


Even in Denmark not one-fifth—not one-sixth—of the farmers' sons attend them. The farmer's son has to go to school and to pay for his board, and it costs too much; it cannot be done. The agricultural education that the small farmer, the man of twenty acres, requires is first-class winter classes. That means first-class instructors and village halls, and I have no doubt that boys would come to these classes. I have no doubt that with a really good primary education to help them boys would avail of these classes provided they could get the instructors, and provided there were facilities for holding classes. I see no better way than that of educating the farmers' sons.

Does the Minister know that these classes are falling through because it was not possible to keep up the attendance?


I am aware of that, and I know that in good counties where you have good farming they have not fallen through. I hope Deputy Baxter's contention is not right, that the farmer is incapable of being educated. We cannot do more for the boys than to bring the education to their doors. What you have to teach small farmers is how to feed calves, to fertilise mangolds and turnips, the useful varieties of seeds— the humdrum work of the farm. The cinemas can be made use of later on, when the groundwork is laid. They can be very useful. But the suggestion of the cinema as a sort of substitute for a first class primary education both general and agricultural——

Nobody suggested anything of the kind. There is nobody who realises more than I do the deficiencies we are labouring under. I know the difficulties that our farmers are under on account of the primary education that they receive, or do not receive.


I am glad to have that.


The Minister knows that.


I know nothing of the kind. I take the Deputy as meaning what he says. I heard from him that the farmer's son was utterly uneducated.

I did not use those words at all.


Then I do not really know what the Deputy meant.

I suggest to the Minister for Agriculture, if he has any influence with the Minister for Education, the desirability of introducing a little work called "Baldwin's Agriculture" into the primary schools in the rural districts, to be read by boys and girls of 11 or 12 years of age as a sort of extra reader.


My point is that the immediate problem is the primary education of the boy—both general and agricultural primary education. Until we have solved that big problem we need not bother about cinemas or anything else. They can be made useful, I am sure, but there is a prior and more essential problem to be dealt with, and that is my way of dealing with it. I want to say, further, that the foundation of our system of agricultural education should be our Faculties in the universities, because they will provide the instructors and the teachers and the research institues. That is my policy for agricultural education for the farmer. I want to get the very best material possible from the universities as teachers and instructors. I want to use the schools for primary education and to have those teachers and instructors giving winter classes at the right season in decent halls. That would go a long way to solve the problem. We can get after the cinemas then.

As to the model farm, I cannot say what its functions are to be as outlined by Deputy Gorey. I have read the suggestion of the Agricultural Commission. It was a rather tentative suggestion: that one commercial farm should be bought by the Department and worked on commercial lines to see how the experiment would work out. They say:—

We are sensible of the difficulties which will confront the State in establishing State farms, managed with a view to profit. On the other hand, we consider the proposal, if carried into effect, would be of immense value. The initial experiment should be confined to one farm, where the "machinery" of the idea can be tested, and it can be extended as the outcome of experience. We fail to see why instruction cannot harmonize with commercial success. Many successful farmers have worked as pupils on private profit-earning farms and their success in after life has been largely due to what they have learned under such realistic conditions. While it is doubtful to what extent it is possible to combine demonstration and instruction with practical commercial success on the same farm, we do not feel justified in rejecting the proposal that an experiment of the kind should be attempted. We feel, however, that the initial experiment should be confined to a single farm.

That is a tentative suggestion made by the commission. I say straight that I do not agree with it. I want to be clear as to what the object is. I understand this is to be a commercial farm, not an experimental one. The existing farms are experimental ones, where they carry out experiments in feeding, fertilising, new varieties of seeds, varieties of live stock, etc. They buy lots of cattle and feed some on hay and water, others on roots, others on different types of meals, silage, etc. They carry out experiments in order to prove the different values of the various meals and, let us say, silages, as compared with roots. That all costs money; it is all educational. These are not meant to pay and will never pay and never should pay. The day they do pay they will not be carrying out experiments, because in every experiment there must be three or four controls, and there possibly will be one success and three or four failures. I understand these farms are to be commercial farms purely and simply, and there are to be ten or fifteen bought in every county. Ten or fifteen farms would mean ten or fifteen thousand pounds.

I did not suggest that they should be bought. Why not put ten or fifteen ordinary farms under the supervision of your instructors and have the work carried out in the ordinary way by the farmers and their families and then keep costings?


That is an absolutely sound suggestion. I misunderstood the Deputy. That is a different suggestion from Deputy Gorey's.

No. They could be both worked in.


I do not know whether any other Deputy was under that impression. I understood the suggestion was that the Department should acquire and run commercial farms. That was what Deputy Sears took up when he pointed out that it would be necessary to pay instructors to run them; that the labourers would not work the long hours which farmers' daughters and sons work, and that for that reason they could not be run on commercial lines. The idea was scoffed at on the Farmers' benches.

I admit it would be a failure if it were not run as an ordinary farm.


The suggestion, then, apparently, is that the Department's instructors should supervise farms where things are done well.

I would suggest that in certain counties you should select as many farms as you could get into the scheme and give the instructor a free hand, with a guarantee from the farmers that they will act under instructions, so that the instructor would be the director, and all experiments would be carried out under him, and according to his directions. In that way the results of successful experiments could be put into practice.


I do not know whether that is what Deputy Baxter means. It would be very hard to work, however, because in very few counties would you get farmers to do that.

No farmer would agree.


I am afraid you would not get the right type of farmer, anyway. I will tell the Dáil what is being done. We have arranged that costings will be kept by the instructors in each county on the different types of ordinary farms in these counties, and that the farms will be worked, to a certain extent, under the advice and assistance of the instructors; that costings for every operation will be kept by the instructor. That is very near the idea which the Deputy suggests.


There is no necessity at this hour of the day to show that mangolds can be grown here; that barley can be grown, that wheat can be grown, that turnips can be grown.

We have demonstration plots all over the country; plots of potatoes here; of grass manuring there; and oats manuring in another place. If you had all these demonstrations carried out on a farm with the assistance of the farmer, or by the instructors who could live there, it would be better. If the Minister agreed to the idea, the form of it could be worked out.


I am not quite clear as to what the Deputy means. I will tell the Dáil what we are doing. We have arranged that the instructors would take charge, so far as they can, of certain farms, and keep costings of the operations that are carried on there in the ordinary way. There is no occasion for the State to incur any expense to show that mangolds, turnips, oats or barley can be grown under certain conditions. That is ancient history.

Are you not demonstrating that already? Are your instructors not doing that demonstration work every year? Are they not trying to do it this year?


There has been too much made about demonstration plots. They are carried out practically entirely by the county committees and not by the Department, except in the congested districts. The demonstration plots in the congested districts cost about £1,000 per year.

That is only a very small detail in the programme of the Department of Agriculture. The whole cost of demonstration plots in the congested districts is £1,000 per year. It is a debatable question whether they are really value for the money. In any event, those plots are only a very small detail; they cost only £1,000 a year. First class winter schools are the only means of bringing agricultural education to the farmers' doors. What is more, the boys who have had a good primary education are much more likely to benefit by those schools. The best method of all is the establishment of Faculties in the universities. They will provide good men, they will give opportunities for much valuable research work and they will assist in enlisting the brains of the country on the side of research work in agriculture.

I stated that very little can be done for the farmers of Ireland, in the direction of helping farming, by way of setting up a tariff against imported butter, bacon, poultry, oats and barley. I am not going to go into the various items; I have done that already. There is no question at all about bacon, and farmers have not asked for it. There has been no demand either from the farmers' point of view or the consumers' point of view as regards putting a tariff on bacon. I admit that it is a tragedy having to import foreign bacon, but I believe farmers could be making good money at the moment, with all respect to Deputy McKenna, if they had followed the Department's advice. There is no question either in regard to barley. You have only to state the proposition to condemn it. It is admitted by the people who put up a case that in order to protect barley you must put a tariff against it, you must give a subsidy and you must fix a price.

Not exactly the three.


I saw the case put officially and by the farmers, and that is what they put up. Now we are told that is not the case. There you are. Up to the present, at any rate, that is the case that has been put up to me. A moment's consideration will show that if you do not put forward the three, the desired result will not be brought about.

Tariffs and subsidies would meet the case; you would not want the whole three.


With regard to butter, the time might come when a small tariff would be extremely useful, but that time has not come yet. The tariff would have to be too big. You cannot produce milk in winter at 4½d. a gallon. It would be much nearer 11d. a gallon. The tariff you would have to impose to keep out butter would be too big. I think it would be unfair to consumers. Farmers would first want to revolutionise their methods. When they begin to break up their lands more, when they pay more attention to their cattle, when the gap begins to close in that way, then a small tariff might be useful; but there can be no prospect of a tariff in the immediate future. With regard to oats, about £400,000 or £500,000 worth are imported, and a couple of million pounds' worth are produced in the country. You can have a tariff on oats, but it will have to include seed. If farmers want a tariff with respect to oats, which must include seed, they are taking up an attitude which I cannot understand. It is obvious the import is so small, a tariff would make no real difference in the price. The only effect would be to increase the price of seed. A tariff on oatmeal would, perhaps, help the mills indirectly, and to a very small extent help the farmers; but even if it were considered worth while to put a tariff on oatmeal, the effect would be very small.

Will the Dáil proceed with the consideration of the sub-heads?

It is so late now it would be scarcely worth while taking the sub-heads up at this stage.

This subject has been debated for eight hours, and if we have to go on at this rate we will be here for quite a long time.

There are other points that we desire to raise when the sub-heads are being taken one by one.


Better raise them.

Under sub-head (e) (2). I would like to know what is the position of the Department in the matter of veterinary research. What work is being done? How much preparatory work was done previous to the outbreak of fluke, during the winter and during the spring? Was there any anticipation on the part of this branch in regard to the possibility of such an outbreak, and what action was taken towards giving advice to people in the country as to the dangers of the disease and the policy that should have been pursued in the event of an outbreak? I do not know what the position is. I heard that in some cases veterinary surgeons from the Department visited the scene of an outbreak to make examinations. What was done, or what reports were issued, I do not know. I want to hear something about that branch, and I think the matter needs a little explanation.


In the early autumn, when it was realised there was a possibility of an outbreak of fluke, officers of the Veterinary Research Laboratory immediately got as much male fern as they could get and they started to test it. They discovered that male fern was an absolute cure so far as fluke was concerned. It was not a cure for other diseases that might supervene by reason of the fact that the animal would be weakened by reason of the liver, for instance, being affected with hæmorrhage. It was discovered that where the live member was present, the male fern was an absolute cure. The difficulty was to get it, and the Department endeavoured to secure as much as possible before there were any very serious losses. We had our agents in England and France and everywhere endeavouring to get large quantities of this medicine. No one could have foreseen, in the year 1923, there would be an outbreak of fluke in 1924. There was no prospect of it. The male fern was collected the previous year, but that was just for normal requirements. When it became obvious that there was to be a recurrence of fluke, we had to search practically all over Europe to get this medicine. We finally got very large quantities in Lyons, and we immediately advertised in the papers. We arranged with a chemist here to make up the medicine in small bottles and sell it at a reasonable price. We advertised through our instructors and inspectors, and in all the newspapers three or four times that that medicine was available.

Will the Minister state the date on which these advertisements were inserted?


I could not state that at the moment, but I can find out. They were inserted very early. We found it rather difficult to get people to avail of the medicine, and it was a long time before they began to write for it. We made arrangements to test every sample of the medicine that came here from France or England. We found some of the samples quite effective, but others were not so effective, the reason being that in some samples the essential qualities were present and they were not present in others. I understand from the veterinary people that that was due to the particular stage at which the fern was collected. We realised that certain samples might be effective while others might not, and that was why we arranged that every sample sent here was tested on sheep bought specially for the purpose and kept on the lands attached to Clonakilty and the Albert College. The medicine was satisfactory in a way, but in another sense it was not. It was not particularly satisfactory for breeding ewes, as abortion sometimes occurred unless there was great care. It could do no more than kill the fluke, and was not able to kill animals whose resistance powers were weakened by a weak liver. We have now large quantities of that medicine and there should be no recurrence of fluke in June and the subsequent months if farmers take the opportunity of giving a dose, say, one in June and the other in August. It will cost about 3d. each, and there is no doubt it will kill the fluke, and if it is administered before the liver becomes weakened, there is no doubt that further complications will not set in. We have arranged to publish a pamphlet which is being drafted and which will be circulated throughout the country, giving certain advice as regards the treatment of pastures and also notifying farmers that we have this medicine. There should be no losses from fluke if people take the precautions to dose sick cattle.

I would like to ask what steps were taken to give publicity to the statements which the Minister has made, or what action was taken to get in touch with veterinary surgeons throughout the country and notify them that this medicine was available?


Advertisements were put into the papers three or four times and every veterinary surgeon knew it was available. All our own officers were communicated with, and this pamphlet which is now in draft will be circulated to them and will be published in all the papers. We realise that publication is essential and we are considering what further steps should be taken to bring it to the notice of everybody.

I think the point that Deputy Baxter wished to make was, what was done by the Research Department to deal with this and to warn the public.


That is what I tried to explain.

Yes, but this should have been expected by the Research Department and people should have been warned. The Research Department may not have been thinking about the matter. Am I to understand that the advertising of this medicine was the first intimation which the public received that they might expect an outbreak of fluke? I believe that if the Research Department made up its mind that the male fern was necessary they should have told the public that it was necessary and told them where the medicine was available.


We got our supply long before the English or other Ministries got theirs.

I am aware that the utmost was done to get a supply of male fern. I believe that our Department was the first on the market to secure a supply. I think that leaflets should have been sent out earlier warning people that this was likely to occur and to take precautions—first of all to avail themselves of the medicine when it was possible to do so, and secondly, to keep up the health of their stock. If the advertisements were the only information which the public first got, I think that that information did not reach them in the right form and that it should have reached them earlier. People did not get warning in time, and I think that was due to the Research Department, which is costing us £3,075.

Did the Minister directly notify the members of the veterinary profession that a specific remedy was available for the fluke disease? It was represented to me by several constituents that when they approached members of the veterinary profession they were informed that no specific was available.


There was, in the direct intimation published in all the newspapers.

Does the Minister realise that that was insufficient, and does he realise that action should have been taken between his Department and the officials dealing with animals all over the country?

I think that intimation should have been given also to the county instructors.


That was done.

They should have made it public either by lectures or otherwise.

With regard to sub-head (f) (1), I want to ask what is the position in regard to the Ballyhaise agricultural station. Some time ago I asked the Minister for an explanation of his policy, and I want to know now what he has done to carry that policy into effect, and what the result of that policy is.


The position is this for a long time; there was a question in the Department as to whether Ballyhaise should be given up. We have decided it shall not, that it shall be continued. Ballyhaise is typical of the land of Cavan, and we intend to use it for the purpose of solving the special problems that exist in Cavan having regard to the type of soil. That will be slow work, and it will be about the most difficult work in the Department. It may be necessary to alter the farm in some respects. It is a very scattered farm, and we may make it smaller, but that has not been decided yet. It is to be kept on in the main with a view to solving Cavan's special problems. We have decided to increase the poultry work there, and also to increase the number of pigs, and to make some experiments with silage.

The Minister says that the farm is to be used with special regard to the conditions that exist in Cavan. I can assure him they are very special at present. If he has under consideration the question as to whether the farm may or may not be retained in its entirety, is not now the time for him to consider the allocation of a certain acreage of that farm to be set apart and managed by his own experts in a particular way so as to give a demonstration as to what could be done with, say, a 15-acre farm, which is the size of farm that we have in most cases in Cavan? Has the Minister considered that, or has he any intention of doing so?


I will consider it.

With reference to Athenry Agricultural Station—"General Expenses of Management"—under sub-head (f) (1), would the Minister say what things would be comprised under this head, other than the purchase of manures and seeds?


All the stocks and everything purchased are comprised in that.

Would the Minister say anything in reply to the suggestion put to him by Deputy McKenna with regard to these colleges as regards the making of provision for training girls? I daresay there are ten applications from girls for training in colleges of this kind as against one from the men.


That is the position.

Has any consideration been given to that, or is there any intention on the part of the Ministry to alter its policy? There are perhaps thousands of girls demanding entrance to these colleges. They are on the waiting list for two years or more, and are getting tired and are passing on to something else. We all recognise what a course of six months' training in one of these colleges would mean to the girls. I think it is only fair that there should be more facilities afforded for the training of these girls.


Girls are only accepted at the Munster Institute. There are more applications from girls than men, and there are many girls on the waiting list. We are expecting that the colleges will be filled up in a short time. That another college similar to the Munster Institute should be founded is, of course, a rather tall order. It would cost a lot of money, and I am not quite sure that the number of applications would justify that.

With regard to sub-head (g) (1), would the Minister state the position as to the growing of flax? I understand that the linen industry is in a very parlous condition, and that the quantity of flax seed sown in my own county is much greater than has been the case for a number of years past. What consideration has been given to the problem by the Ministry, and what will be the result if the depressed condition of the linen industry continues on to the harvest? Has any advice been given to the people on the matter, and what is the policy on it? I have been debating with myself the advisability of making a public statement on this. I understand that in my constituency perhaps 100 acres of flax have been sown this year more than last year. If the depression in the linen industry continues, and there is no prospect that it is going to be otherwise, has the Ministry considered what the consequence will be to these people, and has the Ministry taken any action in regard to advising them?


The position is this: that the linen industry, so far as it is carried out in Ireland, is at a low ebb. The Deputy asks, in view of that, did the Department advise the people to grow less flax this year. Certainly not; the work of the Department in connection with flax consists in instruction, in experiments, and in technique. The Department has no more intention of stopping that instruction because flax happens to be at a discount, or happens not to pay, than they would of advising the farmers to sell out if bacon falls. The linen trade has been going to the bad steadily for the last three or four months, but that is no reason why the Department should not continue its instructional work as regards the growing and treatment of flax. It would be an extraordinary thing to withdraw instruction because the linen trade happened to go bad suddenly, and without knowing whether the conditions would improve or not. People are expected to have some little intelligence, to keep their eyes open, and to find out what the financial prospects in matters of this kind are.