BYGONE DAYS: Ministry chief inspector reports continued progress in agriculture

Harvest Fair at Newtownards, Co Down - 'Yellow man' was an attraction for "all the young folk" attending the annual event in September 1939
Harvest Fair at Newtownards, Co Down - 'Yellow man' was an attraction for "all the young folk" attending the annual event in September 1939

The progress made in Ulster agriculture during the last 50 years was reviewed by Mr John Getty, BSc, the chief inspector of the Ministry of Agriculture in an address at the autumn school of the Young Farmers’ Club at Carnlough this week in 1938 reported the News Letter.

Mr Getty pointed out that in 1887 there were no poultry stations. In 1921-22, when the Ulster Ministry of Agriculture was set up, they had 149 hen and duck stations; 194 turkey stations, and 83 geese stations. In 1937-38 they had 296 hen and duck stations, 461 turkey stations, and 99 geese stations.

Mr Getty noted that a short time previously the ministry had brought in new egg marketing legislation, “which has been taken up by producers in a manner which had far exceeded the expectations of the officials of the ministry”.

He also noted that representatives of the Danish Ministry of Agriculture had spent some time, in Northern Ireland studying the egg marketing system with a view to its introduction in Denmark.

Mr Getty told the Carnlough YFC, that in 1887 the Northern Ireland livestock population has been as follows: Cattle, 745,373; pigs, 262,585; sheep, 260,352; poultry, 2,048,073. By 1938 the population was: Cattle, 731,930; pigs, 561,435; sheep, 893,431; poultry (ordinary fowl), 9,198,850.

He said: “Hand in hand with this increase in the livestock population has gone improvement in type and quality. The ministry’s livestock improvement schemes have resulted in remarkable progress in that direction.”

Mr Getty also noted that crop yields across the province had “also advanced by leaps and bounds”.

In 1887 the yields for the three principal crops were: Oats, 12.2 cwt per acre; flax, 19 stones; potatoes, 4.6 tons per acre. In 1937 the comparative figures were: Oats, 18.9 cwts; flax, 35.1 stones; and potatoes, 6.9 tons.

Stock judging competitions held by young farmers’ club

It was reported by the News Letter this week in 1938 that Killyman Young Farmers’ Club had held their stock judging competitions in Ranfurly Park, Dungannon, where pedigree herds were placed at the disposal of the club.

The silver cup for the best judging in all classes was awarded to W T Courtney, with 470, out of a possible 480 points.

J Neilson was runner-up, with 430 points.

In the under 21 section, D Todd secured first place, with 410 points; J Hazelton being placed second, with 400 points.

The individual class winners were: Cows, I T. Eakln, 420; 2, M Hazelton, 410. Bullocks, 1, D Patterson, 380; 2, S Mullan, 370. Sows, H A McMinn, 430; 2, G Carroll, 400. Pork: G Grieves, 410; 2, J H Patterson, 400.

Livestock sales at R J Allam Ltd

The following prices were recorded at the Oxford Mart, Belfast of R J Allam Limited this week in 1938.

The entry totalled over 1,000 head, and comprised many consignments of selected Blackface ewes from weekly exhibitors.

Mr John McKee sold 65 “choice ewes”, which made from 33s to 37s each. Mr D McKee sold a pen 35s 6d and Mr McAllister received 35s each for a lot of 12.

Notwithstanding the lateness of the season, numerous entries of cross-bred ewes were forward, and included 12 from Mr Robert Jennings, which realised 37s 6d each.