asked the Minister for Agriculture if he will undertake to have a thorough investigation made of the cost of production in the pig raising and fattening industry, such investigation to include (1) pigs fed entirely on meal mixture, and (2) pigs fed on a mixture of meals, separated milk and potatoes.
Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Cost of Pig Production.
The relative values of meals, separated milk and potatoes for pig feeding have already been fully investigated by my Department. I would refer the Deputy to the many articles on this subject in my Department's journal. Costing for pig rearing under the infinitely various conditions obtaining on the various types of farm in Ireland are not ascertainable with any degree of accuracy, but there can be no doubt that at present the production and feeding of pigs is a very satisfactory business undertaking.
Is the Minister aware that when last week a Deputy on these benches comprehensively and conscientiously prepared the costings of pig production, according to the figures available to him, the Minister ridiculed these figures? Is there any reason why the Minister should not produce his own official figures prepared by his own Department which nobody could dispute? That is all this question asked for—and it is a reasonable request—that the Department will produce its own figures.
I would be sorry if I gave anybody the impression that I was concerned to ridicule any costings prepared by a Deputy or by anybody else. The Deputy is mistaken if he thinks I ridiculed them, but I rejected them because I did not believe they were correct. If the Deputy will look at the journal of my Department in Volume 35, No. 1; Volume 14, No. 3; Volume 13, No. 3, and Volume 9, No. 3, he will find the most exhaustive experiments described in the feeding of pigs with every sort of combination of feeding-stuffs. If the Deputy would like to have any further data on that matter, I will be glad to supply them to him on request.
I am not asking any question in regard to the relative merits of different types of foodstuffs. I have asked a question about costings, and I want the Minister's Department to produce costings over which they can stand.
The Deputy has asked me if the Department would produce costings over which they could stand. That is our precise difficulty. I do not think it would be possible to produce costings over which the Department could stand as reliable for every farm, owing to the various conditions under which pigs are reared on the various types of farms in the country.
Is it possible to ascertain the cost of a balanced ration required to produce one cwt. live weight?
I can assure the Deputy that the figures to which I have referred provide as close an answer as it is scientifically possible to obtain. The fullest details are obtainable in the references I have supplied.