On his one day flying visit to Northern Ireland the British Minister of Agriculture, Mr James Prior, could hardly have brought a more hopeful message to the province’s livestock farmers.
At a press conference in Loughry College of Agriculture, Mr Prior forecast “great scope” for the profitable expansion of beef, lambs and milk production in the EEC.
With such a wealth of natural resources in excellent grass production Northern Ireland livestock farmers, he said, were in a favourable position to take advantage of the opportunities. And he was confident that with their high standard of efficiency they would do so.
Prospects for beef and lamb production were very bright. Prospects for milk production were also very good since the dairy business was bound up with beef in providing a big percentage of suitable. In addition, the community system would provide higher “manufactured” prices for milk.
However there was less optimism for the poultry industry.
Of the egg crisis, Mr Prior emphasised that it presented as great a problem in Great Britain as in Ulster. The real problem was over-production.
“I don’t think producers have got an easy time in front of them,” he stated. There must be no expansion and it must be recognised that there had to be consolidation.
The minister pointed out that in Great Britain 50 per cent of their eggs were sold at the farm gate whereas in Northern Ireland this outlet was limited.
Special steps were to be taken in Ulster for consolidation and a measure of stability, the minister hinted, revealing that he had now got the Egg Authority’s proposals for greater stabilisation.
Britain’s farm fires cost £2m
Britain’s farmers face a growing threat from fire, warned the Fire Protection Association when it launched this week in 1972 a 12 page guide to the prevention of fire of farms.
It reported that in the previous ten years the number and cost of farm fires had soared. For example, in 1962 only 15 farm blazes grew into expensive blazes, each costing £10,000 of more. By 1971 there had been 55 of these big fires, worth a total of £2 million.
The overall cost was higher if the hundreds of smaller fires, disruption and consequential losses were taken into account.
The main reason for the ever rising losses was given as mechanisation, which provided more chances for fires to start and meant that far higher values were at risk.
North Down exhibitors to dominate at sale
The sixth annual show and sale of Welsh pigs was to be held at Balmoral on Wednesday, August 23, 1972. It was expected that breeders from North Down were to dominate. Mr David Donnan of Carryreagh, Donaghadee and chairman of the Northern Ireland Welsh Pig Breeders’ Association said: “We are well satisfied with the progress of the breed and I am confident that potential buyers will be pleased with the 50 entries.”