79 items consisting of 10 registers, 1 folder of 21 items + 48 maps
Creator(s): (Government inspectors from the) Department of Agriculture
Administrative History ↴
The acreage of grain had fallen by 40 per cent from the time of the Famine until the outbreak of World War I in 1914. However, it wasn’t until 1928 that Fianna Fáil’s proposal regarding wheat production was approved by a Committee on Agricultural Production. The Committee issued a second report on wheat growing in 1932 regarding how acreage under crops could be increased. The result was the Agricultural Produce (Cereals) Act 1933.
Self-sufficiency became the dominant theme. The Compulsory Tillage Order, introduced by Minister Seán Lemass during the war years meant that all farmers had to till a certain amount of land and sow a certain acreage of wheat. While farmers could plant whatever crop they wished, wheat was the only crop with a guaranteed price in order to encourage its production. Government tillage inspectors oversaw the scheme and kept tillage registers detailing size of holdings and tillage quotas whilst assessing the size of tillable acres on each farm. Penalties in the form of fines, and later seizure of land, were imposed on farmers who failed to fulfil the orders of the scheme.
In a 1949 report entitled ‘On the Present State and Methods for Improvement of Irish Grasslands’, GA Holmes, a representative from New Zealand’s Agricultural Department based in London, recommended a programme of land improvement that was to include, amongst others, schemes to provide farmers with lime and fertiliser. The report advised that the government should assist farmers in acquiring fertiliser spreaders and farm machinery. In February of the following year, the Department of Agriculture sanctioned a proposal to establish a land development authority which included the drainage of 4 million acres of land over a ten year period while large quantities of fertiliser would then be required to prime the newly drained land.
The ‘Land Project’ was officially launched on 16th August, the anniversary of the founding of the Land League in 1879, and a special supplement in the Farmers’ Weekly entitled ‘Emerald into Gold: The Land Rehabilitation Project 1950’ was issued to promote the scheme. The purpose of the Land Project was to improve the quality of land by way of drainage and land reclamation. It was probably due to the high price of fertiliser that Irish farmers spread much less fertiliser than their western European counterparts. Eventually, in the late 1950s the government agreed to subsidise the price of fertiliser. The Land Project administered the fertiliser scheme whereby a farmer could get the farm’s requirement of fertiliser and lime from the Department by lump sum or 10% deposit and the remainder under annuities. By 1957, the Department operated two loan schemes and three separate grant schemes to promote the use of fertiliser. The land project was eventually brought to an end in 1974 with schemes being completed by the end of September 1976.
Archival History ↴
The tillage registers (reference PP00293/001/) and the tillage maps (reference PP00293/003/) were created under the Compulsory Tillage Order, 1940 to 1948, by government inspectors from the Department of Agriculture. The fertiliser scheme registers (reference PP00293/002/) were created as a result of the fertiliser schemes running in the 1950s and 1960s. The collection was retained in the Dundalk ‘Land Project Office’ of the Department of Agriculture, which later became a branch office of the Department of Agriculture and transferred from there to Louth County Archives Service in November 2009 due to the information contained in the collection being of a local nature.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: (Government inspectors from the) Department of Agriculture ↴
Bound volumes (registers) concerning tillage and fertiliser schemes, one folder of forms and lists regarding the fertiliser schemes, and Ordnance Survey maps referred to as ‘tillage maps’ detailing owners of land. The registers include lists of names and addresses of farmers, details on farm holdings, tillage quotas and area tilled, details on fertilisers used and costs of spreading fertilisers.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
Further accruals of related items may be expected in the future.
The collection is broken into three series and arranged chronologically within each series.