A History of the Ministry of Information, 1939-46


This section is an account of the main media which reached the farmer and the extent to which they cover the farming community. The subjects covered are:-

  1. 1. Newspapers

  2. 2. Farming Papers and Magazines

  3. 3. The Radio

  4. 4. The Leaflets of the Ministry of Agriculture and County Committees

  5. 5. Ministry of Agriculture Advertisements

  6. 6. Commercial Demonstrations

  7. 7. Films about Farming

  8. 8. Media in General

The section concludes with some information about practice in relation to the Veterinary Panel, the dressing of seed corn, milk recording and Winter milk production designed to check the effect of the campaigns on these subjects.


1. Newspapers

It was found that almost the whole sample read daily newspapers (97%) and it was also found that almost the whole group read local newspapers (95%). The most important daily newspapers for the farmers were the “Daily Mail”, read by 24% of those reading daily newspapers, and the “Daily Express” read by 19% of those

reading daily newspapers. Detailed information is given below:-

Newspapers Read % %
Daily Express 19
Daily Herald 2
News Chronicle 4
Daily Mail 24
Daily Sketch 2
Daily Mirror 5
Daily Telegraph 6
Times 4
Leading Provincial Dailies 4
Other Dailies 3
Local Paper 95
All who read daily newspapers 1901 100 97
Those who do not read daily newspapers 67 3
SAMPLE: 1968 100

There were no very important differences between the reading of farmers of different ratings, types of ownership, age or occupiers of different size holdings. Possibly the most important different was between the farmers with under 50 acres and those over 300 acres; thus the farmers with the smaller holdings had a larger proportion reading the “Daily Express” 20% compared with 15%, but a smaller proportion reading the “Daily Mail” 20% as against 29% the “Daily Telegraph” 4% as against 17% and the “Times” 2% as against 14%.

Although no specific question was asked about Sunday papers a proportion of the sample said that they read them, the most popular being the “News of the World”, “The People”, the “Sunday Express”., “Sunday Dispatch” and “Sunday Pictorial” in that Order.

The Newspapers in which Farming Articles are Read

81% of the sample said that they read the farming articles in their newspapers 19% said that they did not. The most important single group was 74% who said they read the farming articles in their local newspaper, the next most important group was the 13% who read the farming articles in the “Daily Mail”, followed by the 11% who read farming articles in the “Daily Express”. No other newspaper was mentioned by more than 3% of the farmers. Once again the main difference between various groups of farmers was between those with the smallest holding and those with the largest; thus 73% of farmers with up to 50 acres read farming articles in their local newspapers compared with 81% of those with holdings of over 300 acres.


2. Farming Papers and Magazines

It was found that 87% of farmers read some farming magazine and there were differences in the proportion who read farming magazines between the better group and the other group according to our rating, 90% of the better group compared with 84% of the second group. There was also a difference between farmers having different sizes of holding, the division being broadly between those with 100 acres or less and those with over 100 acres, 82% compared with 93%.

The most popular farming paper was the “ Farmer and Stock-Breeder” read by 51% of farmers, closely followed by the “Farmer’s Weekly” read by 43%; the “N.F.U. Record” was read by 12%, “The Home Farmer” by 13% and “Agriculture”, the Journal of the Ministry, was read by 3%.

The main difference between farmers of different ratings was that whereas the better farmers had a larger proportion reading the “Farmer and Stock-Breeder”, the “Farmer’s Weekly” and the Ministry’s Journal, the farmers in the farms in the lower rating had a larger proportion reading the “N.F.U. Record” and the “ Home Farmer”. The differences, however, were small.

There were differences in the papers read by farmers with different sizes of holdings; thus the “Farmer and Stock-Breeder” and the “Farmer’s Weekly” and “Agriculture” were read by a much larger proportion of farmers with over 300 acres than those with up to 50 acres. On the other hand the “N.F.U. Record” and the “Home Farmer” were both read by a greater proportion of those with up to 50 acres. In addition the proportion of farmers taking more than one paper was higher amongst farmers with larger farms. A summary is given below:-

Size of Holding Summary
Farming Papers Read Up to 50 acres 51-100 acres 101-150 acres 151-300 acres Over 300 acres
% % % % % % % % % % % %
Farmer & Stock Breeder 49 39 54 45 57 52 66 61 78 74 58 51
Farmer’s Weekly 48 39 48 40 51 47 51 47 57 54 50 43
National Farmers Union Record 16 13 16 13 11 10 11 10 11 10 13 12
Agriculture 2 2 2 1 2 2 4 4 11 10 3 3
Home Farmer 19 15 19 15 13 12 10 10 7 7 15 13
Miscellaneous specified 7 5 6 5 6 6 9 8 16 15 8 7
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
All who do read farming papers & magazines 407 80 453 83 281 92 398 92 168 94 1709 87
Those who do not read farming papers and magazines 93 18 80 15 22 7 30 7 10 6 235 12
No answer 11 2 9 2 1 - 3 1 - - 24 1
SAMPLE: 511 100 542 100 304 100 431 100 178 100 1968 100

The first column of percentages in each group are the proportion of the farmers reading farming papers who read a particular paper. The second column of percentages are the proportions of all farmers.

The main difference in the age groups was that in the younger groups there were considerably more farmers who read the “Farmer’s Weekly” , 50% of the up to 35 years group compared with 36% of the over 55 year group, whereas the proportion who read the “Farmer and Stock-Breeder” was about the same in each group.

The answers to the question which was asked about the dressing of seed corn, showed that the farmers who read farm papers had a higher proportion who dress their seed corn with a mercurial dressing than those who did not.

Proportion Dressing Seed Corn

Wheat Oats Barley
% % %
Readers of Farm Papers 85 74 68
Non Readers 74 56 47
SAMPLE: 1755 1815 1343

Farming Articles

The Survey asked farmers whether there had been any articles in papers or magazines that had made suggestions which they had tried. We found that 49% had tried suggestions made in articles. These were 52% of the better farmers and 46% of the rest, 56% of the up to 35 year group, 52% of the 35 to 55 year group, but only 40% of the over 55 year group.

The most important group of suggestions were general hints and tips, usually quite small thing like adjustments to machinery, small fittings and new ways of doing day to day jobs. The next most important group was concerned with fertilisers, manures and liming, and the next hints on cropping and suggestions about feeding stuffs. A detailed list is given below:-

Subjects of Farming Articles Read

Hints unspecified, approve 19
Pests, diseases, rabbits 3
Fertilisers and manures, liming 7
Veterinary information 4
Cropping (Flax and tomato, growing fruit) 6
Machinery 3
Ley farming 2
Silage 1
Animal husbandly, poultry 3
Sugar beet 1
Dairying 3
Prices and marketing 1
Weather conditions -
Legal problems (regulations etc.) 1
Feeding stuffs 4
Ricks, stooking, thatching 1
Cultivation 3
Labour -
No. %
All who have tried suggestions 962 49
Those who have noted them but not tried them 29 1
All those who have noted suggestions 991 50
Those who have not noted suggestions 631 32
No answer and those who do not read 346 18
SAMPLE: 1968 100

Farming Articles and the Farm Worker

Continuing the discussion of farming articles, farmers were asked “Whether they brought farming articles to the notice of their farm workers”. 33% said that they did so, a further 12% said that they did so occasionally and 48% said they never did.

There was a small difference between the age groups in favour of the two younger groups and quite a marked difference between farmers having holdings of different sizes, the proportion being highest amongst farmers having over 150 acres. (This takes account of the fact that many of the smaller farmers do not have workers).

Farmers who bring Newspaper or Magazine Articles to the attention of their workers

Summary Size of Holding Age of Farmer
Up to 50 acres 51-100 acres 101-150 acres 151-300 acres Over 300 acres Up to 35 yrs. 35-55 years Over 55 years
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
Farmers who bring articles to the notice of their workers 33 29 31 31 37 36 34 35 29
Farmers who sometimes bring articles to the notice of their workers 12 8 12 15 11 14 12 12 12
Farmers who never bring articles to the notice of their workers 48 53 49 48 46 48 49 47 50
No answer 7 10 8 6 6 2 5 6 9
All who do read papers etc. and do have workers of their own 1586 100 288 100 418 100 282 100 419 100 177 100 284 100 788 100 495 100
Those who do not read anything at all 20 4 10 2 4 - 1 10 9
Those who do not have workers of their own 362 219 144 20 8 1 70 173 115
SAMPLE: 1968 511 542 304 431 178 355 971 619
Size unclassified - 2 Age unclassified — 23

3. The Radio

Questions were asked about the “Farm Record” and other farm talks. It was found that 17% of farmers listened to the “Farm Record” regularly and 44% occasionally 16% listened to the other farm talks regularly and 56% occasionally.

As the question was asked in July and August, it may be taken that this refers to the summer.

Younger farmers and farmers with larger holdings had the greater proportion of listeners, although the differences were small between the groups.

Farmers were then asked what they thought about farming talks and whether they had learned anything from them, and the answers were given by most of the farmers who listened and in one or two cases the farmers who did not; thus the number of answers is a little greater than the number of listeners. Of those giving an opinion, 60% said that the “Farm Record” was good and interesting or gave some other positive expression of approval. A further 22% gave neutral opinions, such as “interesting but you do not learn much”, and 18% considered the “Farm Record” a waste of time. The proportions for the other farm talks were 53%, 27% and 18%.

Quite a number of the answers in each category mentioned that the talks did not apply to their part of the country. Many of these opinions were positive, some were neutral and some were negative and a list of them are given in an appendix (Appendix I).

Radio Speakers

Farmers specified their choice of radio speaker in two ways - one group named a particular speaker and the others described the sort of man they thought he ought to be. In this latter group 50% of all farmers said that the best kind of person to talk to farmers on the radio was a practical and experienced farmer. This might be compared with 4% who asked for scientists or experts. Details are given below:-

Speaker. specified 17
Practical, experienced farmer 50
Successful (Financially) 4
Practical farmers and scientists 3
Local farmers 2
Scientists or Experts 4
Practical men who are good speakers 2
Vague answers 4
Miscellaneous 5
No answer 20
SAMPLE: 1968 100

A very great number of speakers were mentioned by name and the favourite speaker was Mr. A. G. Street mentioned by 140 farmers, followed by Mr. Anthony Hurd mentioned by 94 farmers, Professor Scott Watson mentioned by 37 farmers, Mr. Mansfield mentioned by 27 farmers, Sir George Stapledon mentioned by 14 farmers and Mr. Ling mentioned by 10 farmers.


Times for Broadcast

Farmers were asked when they thought was the best time of day for farming talks to be broadcast and separate information was obtained for both Summer and Winter. In both cases there were a small number of farmers who gave the vague answer ‘on Sundays’ or mentioned some time on Sunday only. Apart from these the largest proportion, 43% asked for talks to be given between 8.30 and 9.30 p.m. or round about the 9 o’clock news. The next most important time was dinner time or between 12 and 2 o’clock in Summer. In Winter the most preferred time was 5.30 to 6.30 p.m. round about the 6 o’clock news, followed by 8.30 to 9.30 p.m. round about the 9 o’clock news. Large proportions were prepared to listen at almost any time during the evening, as is shown by the detailed figures given below by the fact that 31% said in the evening without specifying a particular time.

Summer Winter
% % % %
All Sunday times 10 7 1 1
Breakfast time, 7-9 a.m. 1 1 1 1
Dinner time, 12-2 p.m. 22 15 3 3
Tea time, 4-5.30 p.m. 1 1 -
5.30-6.30 p.m. (Round about 6 0’ clock news) 8 6 20 18
After 6.30-7.30 p.m. 3 2 13 12
7.30 - 8.30 p.m. 5 3 14 12
8.30 - 9.30 p.m. (Round about 9 0’clock news) 43 31 17 16
After 9.30 p.m. 8 5
Afternoon unspecified 2 2 1 1
Evening unspecified 5 4 31 29
All who suggested a time 1394 100 71 100 92 1803
No time 574 29 8 165
SAMPLE: 1968 100 100 1968

4. Leaflets of the Ministry of Agriculture and County Committees

This part of the inquiry was concerned with the leaflets of the Ministry of Agriculture and the County War Agricultural Committees and it was decided to ask farmers whether any of the leaflets had been of use to them, rather than had they seen the leaflets or had they obtained the leaflets. Questions were also asked about the particular leaflets they had found useful, how they had obtained them and whether or not they were kept for reference.

The answers to the questions about leaflets were given in some detail and show that the leaflets are read and appreciated. Examples will be given in the course of the text.

54% of the farmers said that the leaflets had been of some use to them. These were 62% of the farmers under 35 years, 58% of those between 35 to 55 years and 42% of those over 55 years. There was a difference too in the use that the leaflets had been to farmers with different sizes of holding; thus the proportion of farmers with holdings of under 100 acres who had found leaflets useful was 50% compared with 58% of those over 100 acres.

The leaflets which had been of use to the greatest number were those dealing with fertilisers and manure mentioned by 12% of farmers, followed by cropping mentioned by 8% and dairying mentioned by 5%.

Leaflets % %
Name not remembered 22 11
Pests, Diseases 12 6
Fertilizers and manures 25 12
Veterinary Information 3 1
Cropping, Linseed, Flax, Corn 16 8
Machinery 4 2
Ley farming 5 3
Silage 8 4
Animal Husbandry 3 1
Sugar Beet 2 1
Dairying 10 5
Weather conditions - -
Cultivation and Drainage 5 3
Building, thatching corn stacks 2 1
Rationing 1 1
Feeding - silage 4 2
Potato (Growing, blight) 8 4
All leaflets generally 2 1
Others 6 3
All who answered who have used leaflets 971 100 49
No answer 84 4
Those who have found the leaflets no use to them or did not specify their answer 913 46
SAMPLE: 1968 100

The first column of percentages are the proportions of those who made use of leaflets and the second column are the proportions of all farmers.

The group of farmers who had made use of leaflets had a higher proportion who use a mercurial dressing for their seed com than those who had not.

Proportion Dressing Seed Corn

Wheat Oats Barley Rye
% % % %
Those who had made use of leaflets 88 76 70 31
Those who had not 79 67 59 23
SAMPLE: 1755 1815 1343 551

The Sources of Leaflets

The bulk of the leaflets received came through the post, 41% of farmers mentioned the County War Agricultural Committees and Farm Institutes, 32% said that they came through the post without specifying a particular source and others mentioned the N.F.U., Commercial Firms, Markets, Demonstrations and other sources.

Sent unspecified 32
Sent by C.W.A.C. and Farm Institutes 41
From National Farmers Union 5
From Ministry of Agriculture 13
From Commercial Firms 2
From markets, shows, auctions 12
From demonstrations 3
Milk marketing board 2
Newsagents 1
Young Farmer’s Club -
Others 2
All who got the leaflets 1238 100
No answer 730
SAMPLE: 1968

The Use of Leaflets for Reference

It was found that 42% of all faRMers kept leaflets for reference. The proportion was highest in the up to 35 years age group, where it was 48% compared with 46% in the 35 to 55 year group and 31% in the over 55 year group. Leaflets were kept by a slightly larger proportion of the farmers with larger holdings.

The Way in which Leaflets were Useful to Farmers

Having asked farmers about leaflets the field workers then asked in what way they had found them useful and these answers have been given in relation to particular leaflets. Examples relating to each leaflet are given below:-


A great help over feeding stuffs.

They give you ideas or confirm your own.

Pick up odd hints and items. Sterilizing details.

Very decent advice even if you can’t always follow all of it.

Contain helpful advice.

Tells you about bacteria and how to prevent it.

Good guide and general instructions, helped to save money.

Producing clean milk and by properly balanced feeding get that extra gallon.

Made me satisfied that it’s worth while to take trouble with milk.

Gives him (the cowman) knowledge he didn’t have before.

Told proportions to use. Helped with feeding etc.

Helpful if you’re in trouble. Can look it up quickly.

Found using Kale for winter milk of great benefit.

It was a great help on feeding - it wasn’t generally known and we never got the right food at the right time.

Installed new milking machine.

Knew I was right in fussing over clean milk - gave satisfaction.

Taught us more about clean milk - general care of cows.

How to produce more, cleaner and richer milk in winter.

How to arrange calving times.

Haven’t done it same way but have found out that their advice is better.

How to try to be self supporting. Use of crops instead of cake for feeding.

Very keen on high standard of dairy farming.

Get to understand basis of things. (rationing).

Helpful if you’re in trouble. Can look it up quickly.

How to mix your own stuff to get balanced ration.

Saying you shouldn’t overfeed cows - I used to be too kind to mine.

Regulate milk supply.

Great help in balancing rations for herd.

Animal Husbandry

In buying bulls and rearing best calves.

Of great interest. I have a herd of pedigree Devons.

Instructions about dressing cattle.

How to deal with sheep worms.

Washing udders and tails.

Followed out advice - quite good.

Get hints from them.

Interesting bit of advice.

General improvement in cattle.

Followed out instructions carefully.


Fertilisers and Manures

I keep them to use as guides.

Helped me with getting good crops.

Used it on Barley saw the difference.

Told when to use super phosphates and nitro-chalk.

Introduced it to other farmers; land here deficient in lime.

Learned about different soils and How to use them.

Sugar beet, manure and salt for sugar beet, gave good results.

Tried them out and found out practically that they benefit the land.

I was in a muddle about ordering ‘till I read it.

There have been big improvements in crops since I used them.

Because. I’m a novice - very helpful.

They come round a little too late to try out the suggestions - should send out leaflets. earlier in year.

Applying methods suggested and experiments are always helpful.

Didn’t use much before but now they are good, as more scientific knowledge behind them.

Have tried suggestions and found them excellent. . .

The different fertilisers for the soil. Explained how to get in touch with laboratory to test soil. Give good instructions.

If in doubt about anything can write for a particular one, I’ve seen much information in them.

Gives the knowledge farmers need.

You may find a better plan for manuring than your own.

Tells you where and how to apply for fertilisers.

Didn’t quite understand artificials before.

Good reminders.

All right for wartime measures.

M. of A. experiment first, we reap the benefit of their knowledge.

Give new farmers ideas - (Technical adviser himself).

Application of manures - quantities. Many farmers don’t understand them. More useful than general topics.

Gave very good instructions, helped considerably.

Always use for reference.

Give us good ideas and when to get on with it - when to get artificials and when apply for them - very handy - how to get the best out of every acre.

Followed the instructions - but can’t always get what they suggest.

Got better results from doing as they said.

Educational. They tell the way you should use it and what it does amongst soil.

Ley farming

Type of mixtures and how to sow them - putting in at same time as corn.

Have tried suggestions and found them excellent.

Let you understand the basis of things.

Has seen lots, of land re-seeded - very good.

Convincing - told you that ploughing increased fertility of soil.

Different methods - what chemicals to apply, best time to do job.

Keep it for reference.

Good for poor land.

Gave me a fair idea of what was wrong with land.



Practical notes by man who is at it all his life - when to sow, etc.

To use as guides. ,

I could turn them up and work with them and it was very successful.

Because I’m a novice - very helpful.

Preparation of seed bed.

Hints on the scientific side, which, with experience, are helpful. Also brings little things one might overlook to our


Give you lot of good advice - help you to make up your mind.

Different grain to use on different soil and what to use for different crops.

If in doubt always get hold of one.

Generally useful when I began to grow cabbages.

Get the upper hand of pests and when and how to sow grain.

How to go on and what to do. Plan what crops a year before time.

Tried out the earlier drilling and it certainly produced a good crop.

Used to drill kale in May, but learnt to drill in March as fly not active them.

Found it better to plant potatoes as in leaflet.

Told you types that suited different soils.

Didn’t know about corn before. Different kinds for different lands.

Had never grown linseed before.

Can’t say – definitely. helpful – though of course you do get it all in the “Farmer’s Weekly.

For men like myself not born to farming.

I didn’t know about crops - I’ve been a dairy farmer.

I didn’t do what it said and crop not so good, but I will follow it next time so it will be useful.

Cases of new crops which farmers have not grown before. Different varieties. Most sensible leaflet they have sent out.

Never grown any flax before.


Haven’t used for oats yet but shall. The warbles isn’t half so bad.

No time to read them.

Told how to dress it with mercurial dressing.

Useful if you take their advice and act on it. They know what they’re talking about.

How to look after birds - how to get rid of pest birds and encourage friendly ones. Information given did the trick.

Put him on to poisoning rabbits.

Found all these very useful - I have tried them out.

Useful for reference, often can’t find in Text Books quickly.

Helpful if you’re in trouble. Can look it up quickly.

Advice on local pests and on what ways of doing things.

Applied suggestions to catch rats.

Followed advice with wheat and it came out all right.

The rat destruction advice is a waste of time.

Helped to keep weeds down and protect crops - sprayed with copper sulphate.

Useful - helped to destroy turnip fly.

Made a great difference to crops.

Think I’ve been at it for a long time and don’t think I can learn from leaflets. I’ve found them useful, and I’ve found them true in what they said.

Carried it out, not much good; have blight and smuts.

Arable pests - wireworms - how to get rid to them.

Give times and quantities and we go by them.

A bit more in them than we know.

Followed warble fly dressing.

Neighbours had bad fly, I didn’t.

I found it better to dress my own seed - got better results.

Veterinary Information

How to cure.

How to treat animals with diseases.

How to look for symptoms.

Think useful.

Specially preventing spreading of infection (Leaflets always good, always make use

of them).

There’s a lot of little things that’s worth reading. About stock and what to give for different ailments.

Able to get a few hints.

Cattle disease. Help us to put new diseases on the spot. Shows us that they are


Control and detection of mastitis.

Sugar Beet

Method of dealing with beet.

Told about chopping out, so went by it.

How to cure.

Whole process of cultivation.

Get to understand the basis of things.

Make useful suggestions.

A new crop in our district - told us how to set about growing it. Gave me a lot of statistical information that I wanted.

Helpful as I’m a new grower of beet.


Building, Thatching, Corn Stacks

To use as guides.

Of no use. Leaflets would be useful to a beginner.

I built the ricks myself from them.

Very useful seasonal advice and they’re practical too.

Helped to support and confirm own views.

Put 20 feet apart - very inconvenient for farmers.

Practical hints.

Valuable to a degree; but would not allow him to put his rick in rick yards.

I had to do the thatching myself and it taught me how to do it.


Just tried their advice and found it satisfactory.

The making of silage.

Always use for reference.

Very useful seasonal advice, and they’re practical too.

Gives extra information.

Told you how to use with other foods.

I could turn them up and work with them and it was very successful.

Had had no experience of silage so learnt a lot.

Haven’t helped me - I knew it all before.

Got mixing of treacle from it.

Used the silage one, and bought everything as directed.

Apply methods suggested and experiments are always helpful.

Find them all very helpful - particularly silage one.

Instructions all right, but no time to carry out the work.

Silage too heavy to handle by Land Girls, we find.

Silage good - but can’t do it on small farm.

It has suggested it to me - I would like to do it.

Because we weren’t familiar with potatoes or silage round here, we got a clear concise summary.

Very useful seasonal advice and they’re practical.

Made silage for first time - a success as silage, but don’t think much of it as a food.

I’ve not tried it but am greatly interested.

Just interest. Bound to be of value sometimes.

Tells how to get the most out of silage.

Improved feeding.

I have not made silage before to any extent, so I gained some tips from them.

Potato Cultivation and Disease .

Useful if you take this advice and act on it. They know what they are talking aboout May use but often cannot carry out instructions because of lack of water.

Spraying for blight and storing potatoes.

Applying methods suggested, and experiments are always helpful.

Gives you lot of advice - help you to make up mind - type of seed suited to your area and land.

Useful because I didn’t know what was wrong with mine and I found from this it wasn’t Eelworm.

Tells you what to use on potatoes.

Useful to have hints about this.

Weren’t familiar with potatoes round here, we got a clear concise account.

Helpful when growing a crop for the first time.

Definitely – learn how to distinguish it(Blight) – still, they’ll never replace practical experience.

Very useful advice and they’re practical too.

Tried this out and found the potatoes kept well.

Saved one lot of potatoes by late earthing.

Helped to effect economies in many ways.

Learn what is the matter if leaf curls on potatoes.

Encouraging to know that results are better when you try their advice - I think I got better crop.

About spraying. Loan of sprayers C.W.A.C. hired spray.

Useful as I’m a new grower of potatoes.

Hadn’t grow many potatoes; new method: very good.

We gained a bit - learning how to store them.



Good guide or general instructions, helped to save money.

Put you in right way - the best ways to use a cutter.

Gave hints which were useful when we first got the tractor.

Adjustment to tractor ploughs.

Fuel saving.

To confirm what we have found out for ourselves.

Showed how to keep it in good going order.

Helpful if you’re in trouble. Can look it up quickly.

Helps them to last longer.

Tell you a lot of things you just don’t know.

Practical instructions.

Learnt a lot about tractor ploughing.

Hints very true; worthy of attention.

Helped me in doing running repairs.

Cultivation and Drainage

Showed us all sorts of things I didn’t know.

Used as guide as this is my first year for plough land.

Helpful instructions for ploughing up new pastures.

Given plans and full details for how to do the jobs.

Great practical value.

Keep them for reference.

Tried it out, but saw where I had failed, and will use next season.

Give them to steward and then we discuss it, and then its done, and through these leaflets we get excellent results.

Give me useful tips.

We didn’t know how to plough round here, and its dairy land.

Tells you prices for ploughing up; you wouldn’t know otherwise.

Improved land, and helped to get better crops.


They give you real good advice.

Cattle abortion.

Interesting to try out in future - have not had time to attend to it yet.

Have taken precautions against poultry diseases.

Hints on the scientific side, which, with experience, are helpful.

Also bring little things one might overlook to one’s attention.

For reference generally. Very handy to refer to.

They give other people’s experience and we learn from their experience.

If there’s any special crop you want to grow you find out about it.

Very useful hints for present times.

Fuel economy in tractor driving.

Give you hints you didn’t know about - tried them - very successful.

Reminders about marketing.

Because written by local man for local districts.

I have read a few of them and have picked up a few hints.

Have tried spraying fruit trees - found it successful.

Reminds you of seasonal operations.

For guidance - thistles eradicated.

Summarise what they think we shall be able to get.


Others - Subject not known or not remembered .

Some have given useful ideas.

You see others opinions whether you adopt them or not and then later you try it. Give useful information and remind one of every day points which might otherwise

be overlooked.

They put you on your guard for different things and remind you of things you might

have forgotten.

We just put them to one side.

Probably put them into practice without realising exactly which one.

Always read them - find them interesting.

Read them through.

Hints - but not learnt a lot.

They help you if you’ve got experience to work on top.

Can pick up one or two things you didn’t know on recent discoveries.

Try experiments of different things they suggest. Haven’t tried on a large scale

Yet; not been here long enough, but am going to do so.

Puts you in touch with things you don t know and should about rules and regulation

They are all practical and well put.

Act as refreshers in a general way.

Take them in at the time and use advice – cannot describe in what way.

“Up to a point” but there’s not enough “ground to it”. They give good ideas, which can’t be carried out (Lack of labour and of capital)

Follow them in their seasons.

A bit of help - you see your mistakes and you try things.

Always glad to read what they say.

In various ways - have tried out sometimes.

Quite practical.

Profited by them.

To remind one to do things at the right time e.g. to plant the right varieties of corn, and other seeds at the right time.

When in difficulties and there are any leaflets on subject, get them.

Some are useful, some are not.

Have followed some of the advice.

They keep you in touch, they answer queries.

Tried suggested experiments with success.

Keep them for reference - not too good a memory.

Haven’t time to read them.

Don’t give me any more information that I had before.

We find we’re in front of them.

Have to bide by them as far as the law is concerned, but otherwise no use to me.

Only use to people who haven’t been farming for a long time.

Only had 1 or 2 - forgotten about what they were anyway, it was not about anything

I didn’t know already or I would have remembered them.

Other Books of Reference

Some 20% of farmers said that they used books of reference. The proportion highest in the youngest age group, 25% compared with 20% in the middle age group 16% in the highest age group, and it was highest amongst farmers with over 300 ac 31% and lowest amongst farmers with farms under 150 acres - 17% in each of the groups. It is of interest to note that the Ministry of Agriculture’s bulletins and leaflets were mentioned by more farmers than any other group of publications.

Books of Reference % %
M.O.A Bulletins or Leaflets 13 3
Farm Encyclopedia 11 2
Scrapbook, Note book or Diary 11 2
N.F.U Year Book 7 1
Publications of W.A.E.C 5 1
Commercial Publications (Books etc.) 3 1
Publications by Farm Institutes and Research Bodies 3 1
Miscellaneous 60 12
All who use reference book etc. 384 100 20
Those who don’t use reference books etc. 1482 75
No answer 102 5
SAMPLE: 1968 100

The first column of percentages refer only to those who use reference books.


5. Ministry of Agriculture Advertisements

In order to try to access the effectiveness of the Ministry of Agriculture Advertisements, particularly the series “Increase the yields of all your fields”, farmers were asked wherher they had seen any of the Ministry’s advertisements. 70% said that they had seen them and 27% said that they had not. The proportion who had seen them was higher in the better group of farmers, 73% compared with 64%, higher in the youngest group 76% compared with the two other groups – 72% and 61% - and highest in the group of farmers with farms of over 300 acres, 82% compared with 80%, of those with holdings of 150 to 300 acres, 66% of these with holdings of 101 to 150 acres, 67% of those with holdings between 51 to 100 acres and 62% of farmers with up to 50 acres. Comparing the two broad groups of farmers with under 100 acres and over 100 acres the proportions were 64% and 76% respectively.

Farmers were asked what advertisements they remembered by name. The advertisements remembered by the largest proportion of farmers were those relating to Sulphate of Ammonia, including the early bite and top dressing for increased yields, etc., which were mentioned by 17% of farmers. The next most important group were those mentioning the Winter Milk Campaign.

Subject of Advertisements Remembered % %
Grow more unspecified 13 7
Winter milk 16 9
Clean milk 3 2
Feeding according to milk yield 2 1
Growing Kale in relation to winter milk 5 3
National calf starter 1 -
Veterinary Panel 1 -
Silage 8 5
Better Hay - -
Early bite 3 2
Sulphate of Ammonia (Manure) Top dressing cereals etc. 31 17
Liming 5 3
Dressing of seed corn 8 5
Potato blight 4 2
Rats 2 1
Care of farm machinery 4 2
Rick protection (Fire)_ 1 1
Mastitis must be controlled 1 1
Pigeon Shooting - -
Tractor fuel economy 8 4
Adverts about leaflets - -
Seed potatoes - -
Advertisements unspecified (vague answers) 23 13
All who have seen advertisements and who answered the question 741 100 54
Those who can’t say, or, None remembered 628 46
All who saw M.O.A.’s Adverts. 1369 100

The first column of percentages are proportions of those who have remembered advertisements.

Farmers who had seen Ministry of Agriculture advertisements had a higher proportion who use a mercurial dressing for their seed corn who had not.

Proportion Dressing Seed Corn

Wheat Oats Barley Rye
% % % %
Those who saw advertisement 86 74 68 31
Those who did not 80 66 56 18

The Places where Ministry of Agriculture Advertisements had been seen

The local press was the most important media for the Ministry of Agriculture advertisements. 46% of farmers who had seen advertisements said that they had seen them there, this was followed by the “Farmer and Stock-Breeder” 17% and the “Farmer’s Weekly” 13%.

Papers and Places where Advertisement have been seen

Local Press 46
Farmers and Stock-Breeder 17
Farmer’s Weekly 13
Markets, Demonstrations, Pubs. Etc., 8
National papers 3
Home Farmer, Milk Marketing Board 1
N.F.U. Journal 1
Office of W.A.E.C. or Farm Institutes 1
Hoardings 4
Farming papers (unspecified) 5
Other Farming papers (specified) -
No answer 18
All who saw M.O.A. Advertisements 1589 100

6. Commercial Demonstrations

Some 17% of farmers said that they attended commercial demonstrations by firms like I.C.I. Fords, Fisons and Boots.

Interest in demonstrations, measured by attendance, was much higher in the group of better farmers, 22% compared with 14%, higher amongst the younger farmers than the older ones, 21% in the up to 35 group compared with 19% in the 35 to 55 group and 12% in the over 55 group.

The most striking difference of all, however, was in the proportions in the groups of farmers with different sizes of holding. Farmers with up to 50 acres had 9% who visited demonstrations, farmers with 51 to 100 acres 15%, those with 101 to 150 acres 17%, those with 151 to 300 acres, 20% and those with over 300 acres 39%. Dividing the farmers into two groups by size of holding, 12% of those with under 100 acres visited demonstrations compared with 23% of those with over 100 acres. In this case time available is possibly more important than interest.

The farmers who attended commercial demonstrations were asked what they thought about them, and almost all said that they approved and thought that they were interesting or very good. Only 11% said that they disapproved of them. Of these 6% disapproved because they were too commercial and centred too much on advertisement.

7. Films about Farming

The inquiry went into some details when discussing farmers’ opinions about the film in relation to farming. Some 28% of farmers had seen films concerned with farming. It was found that the better group of farmers had the higher proportion who had seen films about farming, 33% compared with 23%. These was also, a difference between the age group in favour of the younger ones, 35% of the youngest group having seen the films compared with 30% and 22% in the other two groups. An analysis of farmers by size of holding showed that the larger the holding, the greater the proportion of farmers who had seen farming films; thus in the 51 to 100 acre group, 29% in the 101 to 105 acre group, 33% in the 151 to 300 acre group, and 37% of farmers with holdings of over 300 acres. These difference are all similar to these found in the analysis of attendance at commercial demonstrations.


Films Remembered

Only about one half of the farmers who had seen films could remember them by name and the film most frequently remembered was the commercial film concerned with the cultivation of grass as a crop. Farmers tended rather to remember films as being commercial or non-commercial, thus, a very large proportion of those who could describe the film at all, described it as being by I.C.I., Fords, Fisons or by some other indication of commercial origin rather than by subject. The film on Clean Milk Production was remembered by the next largest proportion followed by Fuel and the Tractor. Details are given below:-

Films remembered %
Commercial Films, I.C.I., Fords Fison’s 18
Cultivation of Grass 12
Producing clean milk 9
Fuel and the Tractor 5
A way to plough 3
Silage 2
How to thatch 1
Ditching 1
Hedging 1
New Acres 1
Poultry 1
Horticulture 1
The Great Harvest 1
Stooking, binding -
Others (not identifiable) harvesting, etc. 54
No answer 2
All who have seen some films 562 100

It was not possible to be very accurate about where films had been seen because farmers in some cases gave the name of a place and in other cases described the type of showing, that is to say, whether it was a special show for farmers or in a Cinema or elsewhere. However, in spite of this difficulty, 53% of those who said they had seen films had seen them at a special show given by the War Agriculture Executive Committee, the N.F.U. or a Young Farmer’s Club.

Two questions were asked to find out what farmers thought about films in relation to agriculture. The first question was a question about the films they had seen. This was answered by most of the 560 farmers who said they had seen films. Of these, 68% gave their general approval, 1% approved specifically for young people, 2% thought they were good for towns-people, 12% gave a neutral opinion, and 11% definitely disapproved.


Films as a means of giving Advice

The second question about films was addressed to all farmers and answered by 93% of them. It asked “What do you think of the idea of using films to give farming advice?” The answers have been divided into three main categories, unqualified approval which was the opinion of 43% qualified approval or “mild” approval and disapproval 15%. Details of these categories are given below:-

(Very good, good 34
(Very good for townsmen 1
(Very good for children, schools, etc. 8
(Good qualified 18
(Moderately good, all right, etc 7
Bad, disapprove, no good, silly 15
Others -
Don’t know 14
No answer 3
SAMPLE: 1968 100

Some interesting difference come out when comparing different groups of farmers. Unqualified approval was highest in the better group of farmers, 40% compared with 32%; on the other hand, the lower rate group of farmers had slightly more who thought films were good for children, 9% compared with 6%. The youngest farmers had the highest proportion approving, 43% compared with 35% and 27%. On the other hand the older groups had the highest proportion approving for children, 10% in the oldest group compared with 5% in the youngest group. Difference of opinion between the farmers with different sizes of holding were unimportant.

The answers to this question were, of course , given in considerable detail and show that the farming community have a lively and practical interest for the idea. It was impossible to resolve the great variety of answers into a narrow code, so they have been listed under the broad headings given above and a selection are given in detail below.


Answers coded very good or good

Would be good, especially about diseases in crops, etc.

Instructive, especially on hedgelaying etc. because those things are “going out”. Would be helpful and attractive to show what a skilled man can do, how useful he is and the best methods he employs to do his job. Could be contrasted with the wrong and clumsy way in the film.

Very good - particularly if films were to deal with regional types of farming.

Very good, but there should be more films dealing with disease in animals to show the cause and impress people to do all they can to prevent them.

Good thing for farm workers - would take more interest in films than in their own work at home.

One of the finest ways in the world - you can instruct so many at once and so clearly - but they must be given plenty of publicity - they don’t have enough here. Film made of rural arts and crafts - thatching, shepherding, etc. shown in towns would be good for town people and would be very interesting for us - splendid idea to give advice.

Very fine idea - should stick to one farm for one particular film - not show just flicks from different farms.

Could be made very interesting and useful, but films must be of a high and practical standard.

Good, provided an instructive commentary went with it - would need advertising in advance.

Shows experiments better than any other method and explains them more satisfactorily. On certain points would be excellent - machinery maintenance and repairs and cattle.

If you could see clearly the working of various implements and the results of using them I think the farmer would be very pleased to see them.

Good. Think they should be combined with lectures and take place in rural areas in winter.

Idea sound if get right man filming. Two distinct types of films - a) for townsman,

b) for farmer. Farmer loses interest in method if he is shown films intended for townsman.

Quite a good thing - meetings with films and talks on winter evenings would help to make country life more interesting. Quite educational. Talks by those who have farmed abroad would be very educational and interesting.

Might be useful to show different style of farming in different parts of the country

Very good on some subjects - re-seeding for example.

Very good – interesting if would show parts of machinery, each separately, giving names, also to show how they work together and how to set machinery.

When see something actually done then most advisable to get to outlying farmers who would go out of curiosity.

Good idea, if there’s a good lecturer along with it to stress the points.

Very good idea, if had someone to explain as it went along - not recorded commentary – a “live man”.

Good if instructive – plough setting could be well shown and has been done – advantage all can see.

Very helpful if given at night because stick in your mind as I know from my teaching at school – we had nature films once and I still remember them.

Extremely good idea - but keep them on sound practical farming, not propaganda.

A very good idea, show a film dealing with the fundamentals of farming. Different

soils, draining generally - action of various plant growth, fertilizers.

(Answers coded very good or good continued)

Very good especially to stir up the agricultural labourer. Far better than evening classes. He is too tired for these.

A good idea where the farmer has not had experience of the thing (i.e. Colorado Beetle).

Slow-motion films showing work - very good and instructive.

Very good as a lot of old farmers can’t read.

Answers coded very good for Townsmen

It will get the idea of farming into the towns. But the films should not be pretty and sunshiny but realistic with mud and horrid weather, and the films should show how

much money is needed for farming - town people don’t realise this.


Answers coded good-qualified

Good method - but difficulties of time, place. Farmers have no time and no means of getting about.

Very good - realise things quicker than by reading. Great drawback is getting to them and the time involved.

Good idea, but don’t know where farmers in isolated districts could see such films. All right for those who are starting farming - hopeless for those who have been at it all their lives. (Mentioned by three farmers).

Very good if you can get the farmers there - no use in wartime. (Have read some very bad criticisms of farming films.)

Would be quite all right if people had time to go and see them - short of labour.

A very good method in itself, but the difficulty is to get farmers to attend. Have seen mobile film visits at markets but not many farmers watched - have no time then. Very good idea if you can get the farmers to go to them. Give them at the markets when they are in town, on market days.

If can get there, or must be brought to villages, etc. (Mentioned by 101 farmers). If time. (Mentioned by 50 farmers).

All right, but must bring films to the farmer. Should be more useful in peace-time

Should be made available in fairly large central market places.

Films in cinemas no good, but in travelling vans or local village halls all right.

Otherwise too far away for us.

In winter. (Mentioned by 7 farmers).

It all depends on the class of farmer - large farmers could follow the advice but no good for small men.

Could get a point or two. But the film must be put across in a raw state - break-downs, bad weather, must not be left out - escaping cattle, etc.

Would be useful if films were illustrating farming in the sort of county in which local farmers were farming.

All right if it is seasonal advice and not a film on harvesting etc. shown in early spring.

Might be all right to those who know nothing about farming already. (Mentioned by 5 farmers).

Quite good - so long as products are not advertised - Fison’s e.g. want us to buy their artificial manures - farmers don’t like this, wares pushed on to them.

Think it’s very good if you can get farmers to attend, though I think old farmers know most things by experience.

Might be quite good for some farmers - not the old-fashioned type though.

Not good because they give “the smooth side of it”. (When interviewer pointed out that this need not be so, he said: “It would be good if the films were suitable”).

Quite good if there are people to demonstrate afterwards and answer questions.

I think if they had portable cinemas going to the hamlets the farmers would go.

But they can’t spare time to go into the towns.

Only useful if localised and teaching us best methods for our type of land, though not the best way by far as takes too much time.

Very good if the right people are making the films - not old Townies. Must have people who know how to handle the tools, not a man who has never touched a spade

in his life.

Absolutely fine: provided they put a story with it, so that people won’t get bored (e.g. a bit of love in with the manure).

Would be good if made more technical - far too simple and elementary.

Very interesting. Very educative to many who won’t experiment on their own.

But the films should be taken on ordinary farms, not on college farms, where its cut and dried. Money’s no object there, and it gives a wrong impression of the economic side.

Good, but what would be useful in lowland farms wouldn’t do here. Need films about the uplands.

Yes! if done well by the best research agricultural people.

Answers coded for bad, disapprove, no good, silly

Wouldn’t be a help to small man as he couldn’t do it as on films - •would be on too big a scale. It will be a mechanical age, but small man can’t think of doing anything like that.

I don’t think myself there’s much good in it - it’s putting things too pleasant and too easy.

Not much good - people who produce films haven’t enough practical experience.

Wouldn’t be much good - would show modern methods which would be beyond our means.

It follows from these comments that the film is widely and intelligently appreciated but that problems of time and place have prevented it having the maximum effects.


8. Media in General

In order to find out farmers opinions about the best form of media, they were asked “What do you think is the best way for the Ministry of Agriculture to tell farmers what it wants them to do and how it is to be done.” This question was answered in somewhat different ways by different farmers. A small group, about 15% of the total, mentioned one particular type of media only, and from these answers it is difficult to come to any very definite conclusion about the direction of farming opinion. Wireless was the media most favoured by this group, followed by “Through County Committees” and “By local practical demonstrations."

The second group of farmers were those who gave opinions about more than one type of media and these opinions were either approval, disapproval or both. This particular analysis is thus only capable of giving a broad summary picture. Media which ranked high were the wireless, local practical demonstrations, advertisement in the local and farming press, and “Through County Committees”. These results confirm those obtained in earlier sections and confirm the results in the section on the work of the county committees. Those that ranked low were leaflets, national advertisement and films. Details are given below:-

Leaf-lets Wire-less Newspaper Advertising-Local Newspapers Advertising National Advertisements in Farming Press Films Local Practical Demonstrations Through County Committees
% % % % % % % %
Good idea etc. 24 37 33 14 33 18 36 31
Bad idea etc. 22 8 13 18 10 16 11 12
Only one media given 2 4 2 - 1 - 2 3
Only one media given not this one 13 11 13 15 14 15 14 12
Natural & No Answer 39 40 39 53 42 51 37 42
SAMPLE: 1968 100 100 100 100 100 100 100 100

There were no very great difference between the groups of farmers of different ratings, of different ages and with different sizes of holdings, except in relation to two closely connected types of media – local practical demonstrations and “Through County Committees”. In the case of both these methods of giving information, striking difference emerged between all groups.

Comparing opinion about local demonstrations, it was found that 41% of the better group of farmers thought these a good idea compared with 32% of the other group. In the same way, the youngest age group had the largest proportion thinking local demonstrations a good idea, 43% compared with 39% and 28%.

There were no significant differences between the proportions in these two groups who thought local demonstrations a bad idea. Comparing farmers with holdings of different sizes, the proportions approving were from 29% in the up to 50 acres group, 35% in both those with 51 to 100 acres and 101 to 150 acres, 44% amongst those with 150 to 300 acres and 46% of those with over 300 acres. The proportions disapproving were 13%, 13%, 13%, 7% and 8%.

Opinions about the County Committees as a means of giving information followed a similar pattern, although the differences were not quite so great, thus 35% of the better farmers thought this a good idea compared with 28% of the other group. Similarly, 35% of the youngest group compared with 25% of the oldest group had this opinion and 29% of the farmers with the smaller holdings compared with 40% of those with the larger holdings. The proportions disapproving were very similar in all groups and ranged between 10 and 15%.

A Comparison of the Opinions of different groups of Farmers local practical demonstrations and advice from the County Committees

Summary Rating Age of farmer Size of Holding
Local Practical Demonstrations The Better Group The Rest Up to 35 years 33-55 years Over 55 years Up to 50 acres 51-100 acres 101-105 acres 151-300 acres Over 300 acres
No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. % No. %
Good idea 36 41 32 43 39 28 29 35 35 44
Bad idea 11 12 10 12 10 13 13 13 13 7 8
Only one media give 2 1 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 - 3
Only one media given not this one 14 11 18 10 14 16 15 12 14 14 12
Neutral and no answer 37 35 38 33 35 42 42 38 36 35 31
Advice through County Committees
Good idea 31 35 28 35 33 25 29 28 30 33 40
Bad idea 12 13 12 13 12 13 11 15 14 10 10
Only one media give 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 2 2 4 4
Only one media given not this one 12 9 16 8 12 14 12 12 14 11 11
Neutral and no answer 42 40 41 40 40 45 44 43 40 42 35
SAMPLE: 1968 100 718 100 941 100 355 100 971 100 619 100 511 100 542 100 304 100 431 100 100

It should be borne in mind that these opinions are expressed when farmers are comparing different methods of giving information.


In order to check the effectiveness of certain advertising campaigns and campaigns of advice through the Ministry’s organisation, a number of questions about farming practice were asked, the most important of which were whether or not the farmer’s dairy herd was on the Veterinary Panel; whether or not the farmer dressed his seed corn with mercurial dressing; whether farmers with dairy cows recorded their milk and whether farmers started to go over to winter milk last year.


veterinary Panel

Some 7% of the farmers with dairy cows had gone over to the Veterinary panel. Of the better farmers nearly 10% of those with a dairy herd had adopted the scheme compared with less than 5% of the second group. There was no very great difference between farmers of different ages, although there was a considerable difference between farmers with large size of holdings, the proportion in the over 300 acre groups being twice as large as in the group with up to 50 acres.

When farmers were asked why they had gone over to the Veterinary Panel the answers they gave were mainly that they thought it was a good idea. About one-tenth of them said that it was a good proposition financially and about one- quarter reported that they had had good results from advice on such matters as contagious abortion and sterility.

The farmers who were not on the Veterinary Panel were asked why not and their answers were of considerable variety. The largest proportion were 21% who had never heard of it, or thought that it was not available in their county. It is of some interest to note that the proportion who had never heard of it was much higher in the group of farmers with under 150 acres than it was with those with larger holdings. Some 17% said they were not interested, 11% preferred the private Vet because the panel did not cover all diseases, 12% said they managed without Veterinary help and 7% were on the Attested Scheme and got regular Veterinary inspection. Details are given below:

Never Heard of it, not available here 21
Considering it 5
Not dairying cattle 3
Gets visits under the Attested Scheme 7
Don’t need Veterinary help 12
Herd too small 4
Too expensive 7
Fears service would be bad 2
Vets against it 2
Prefer private Vet: panel doesn’t cover all disease 11
Not interested, or considering Attested Scheme, or County Veterinary Surgeon 17
No answer 9
31 32

Seed Corn Dressing

Farmers were asked whether they used seed corn dressed with a mercurial dressing and separate questions were asked for wheat, oats, barley and rye. They were also asked whether they dressed their seed corn themselves or bought it already dressed. The proportion using mercurial dressing varied considerably in relation to different corns. Thus 84% of farmers said that they dressed their wheat, 71% said that they dressed their oats, 65% their barley, but only 28% their rye. It is likely, however that this latter figure is a considerable under-estimate as a large proportion of farmers did not answer their question and it is likely that they did not, in fact, grow rye. This proviso, however, does not apply to the other three corns.

There were no significant differences betweens farmers of different rating but there were differences between farmers of different ages. Thus the youngest group had a proportion of 88% which dressed their wheat, compared with 81% of oldest group, and there was a similar difference between two proportion dressing their oats. There were also a difference between the proportion of farmer with different size holdings. Thus 76% of the farmers with up to 50 acres dressed their wheat compared with 82% of those with 51 to 100 acres, 87% of those with 101 to 150 acres, 88% of those with 151 to 300 acres, and 87% of those with over 300 acres. The differences for the other corns were similar.

Broadly speaking, about half the farmers bought their seed corn ready dressed, about one-third dressed it themselves and about one-fifth used some seed already dressed and dressed a part of their requirements themselves. The main difference between the different group of farmers was that the larger farmers dressed more themselves, whereas the smaller farmers relied more on seed bought already dressed.

The following tables for wheat illustrate the position:

Size of Holding

Up to 50 acres 51-100 101-150 151-300 Over 300 acres
% % % % %
Seed corn bought dressed 59 58 54 45 36
Seed corn dressed by farmer 32 25 27 29 32
Both 6 13 16 24 30
No answer 3 4 3 2 2
SAMPLE 573 417 256 370 151

In considering such a campaign of education there are two separate problems involved. One is the practical issue of persuading farmers that it is necessary, and this seems to have been achieved with considerable success in the case of wheat and oats, and to a less extent barley, and there is the secondary problem with its important long term implications, that of making farmers aware of the basic reasons. Thus, after farmers know fairly accurately the reason for their action they are more likely to continue it than if they are doing so merely because they have been told. The answer to the question “Why do you dress your seed com? have been analysed in two ways. The first analysis was into right answers, that is to say, answers which mentioned the diseases prevented by mercurial dressing, mentioning the fact of improved germination or indicating some acquaintance with the use of the dressing. The second group of answers were answers which are neutral in relation to the information, like farmers who had been told to, or who bought the seed dressed without knowing why, gave some other reason for this character. These were 11% of the farmers. Then there were a further group who gave definitely wrong answers, like those who thought mercurial dressing kept the wire worm from consuming the corn, or kept the birds off. These were 6% of those who used a mercurial dressing. This last group is not as misguided as it.might seem because there is at least one seed dressing which is advertised as being repellent to birds. The table below gives a detailed picture of these answers.

% %
RIGHT ANSWER Prevent bunt, smut, leaf stripe 39 70
Improve germination 2
Keeps crops healthy, diseases unspecified, etc. 23
General Improvements, pays better, safe 7
NEUTRAL ANSWER Told to, advised to 6 11
Bought the seed dressed 3
Less trouble than other dressing 1
WRONG ANSWER For wire worm or other insect pests 7 9
Too keep birds off 2
Question wrongly asked 3
No answer 7
All who do use a mercurial dressing but may also not use it on some corn 1584 100 100
Those who don’t use a mercurial dressing (only) 570 14
Those who didn’t answer or don’t use seed corn 114 6
SAMPLE 1968 100

There were a group of 554 farmers who did not use a mercurial dressing for some or all of their seed corn. These were asked why they did not. The most important group were those who did not think it was necessary, they amounted to 43%. Over 18% gave no answer, or said they never had, 13% used blue vitriol, bluestone,

Copper sulphate, and 1% used formaldhyde, 6% said that they had tried it but did not notice any difference, 5% used other commercial dressings and the rest gave various reasons such as had never heard of it, or could not afford it. Apart from the group, in total nearly one-fifth, who used other types of dressing, it is fairly clear that this group of farmers had no very good reasons for not dressing their seed corn, but that they still have to be convinced of its importance.

Milk Recording

The Survey found that 6% of the farmers interviewed recorded their milk. There were no significant difference between farmers of different ages, but a considerable difference between farmers with holdings of different sizes. Thus they were 3% of the group with up to 50 acres, 4% of those with 51 to 100 acres, 2% of those with 101 to 150 acres and 9% of those with 151 to 300 acres, and 24% of those with over 300 acres. The comments of those who did not record their milk were noted and the main reasons analysed. The most important reason given was shortage of labour, shortage of time, given by 19% of those not recording their milk. A further 13% said that their herd was too small, or that they did not sell much milk, or it was generally not worthwhile. Some 9% said that they were quite well able to judge the yield of their cows, that they did their own milking, or by observation were generally aware of it. Some 8% said that they kept records but were not doing it through the official scheme, 2% said that they were on the Junior scheme.


Winter Milk

The Ministry’s campaign to increase winter milk production had effected 15% of the sample, 14% said that they had not gone over to winter milk production and 69% said that they were already producing winter milk. The proportion who changed over last winter was the same in both groups of farmers, although the better group had a higher proportion, 72% already producing winter milk compared with 67% in the other group. More young farmers - 18% - had gone over to winter milk compared with the oldest group - 13% - and more of those with medium and small holdings compared with those with large holdings - over 300 acres. On the other hand those with large holdings had a correspondingly greater proportion who were already winter milk producers. The net effect of the campaign has been to make the proportion of winter milk producers more nearly equal amongst the groups of farmers of different ages and with different sizes of holding.

The reasons given for going over to winter milk showed the effect of the many different approaches which are being made. Thus the advice of the County Committees were given as being the main reason by some 38%; 29% said that the most important influence was the higher price, 4% said that they had been influenced by leaflets advertisement or broadcast speeches, and 19% gave a variety of answers which were difficult to pin down to any particular media. Many of these answers reflected the general effects of the advertising campaign since they mentioned the need of townsfolk for milk, or gave reasons with a patriotic connotation.

In addition to the main answer why farmers had gone over to winter milk production there were a number of secondary answer which farmers gave to explain further why they had adopted this policy and many of them reflected the Ministry’s advertising campaign. A few given below:-

  • Milk most needed in winter

  • Did not realise necessity quite so much as now

  • Told milk number 1 food for nation

  • Because it is necessary for the nation

  • Much better paying proposition

  • They want winter milk

  • To help the country

  • Nation requires it more, also because there is a glut in summer months

  • They called for it

  • They were asking us to turn out more milk for the winter

  • War effort Put in for Victory churns

  • Because it was for the national benefit

It should also be mentioned that of the 1041 farmers who were already winter milk producers, some 42 said that they had increased their winter milk production. This is undoubtedly an underestimate, as the information was volunteered and not asked for. There was a further small group, about 5% of these, who had not gone over to winter milk production but said they had tried to do so and had failed - “It’s hard to go against nature” was the way one farmer expressed it.


It is apparent from the analyses given that the impact of the Ministry’s campaign has been uneven and that three groups of farmers have been less affected than the rest. They are the small farmers who are particularly handicapped by lack of time, the older farmers, and the less efficient farmers. It may be possible to devise special advertisements for the first two groups and to help the third group through the County Committees.

It is difficult to compare the relative efficiency of different types of media but it is clear that the wireless, the local newspaper and the farming paper are very effective and leaflets have been widely used. The local newspaper is clearly the best media for advertisements.

The farmers’ own choice of media places the wireless first followed by advertisements in local and farming papers. Leaflets are liked by a fair proportion of farmers but an almost equal number consider them to be a bad media.

It is important, however, to notice that local demonstrations and County Committees rank almost equal with the highest form of media as being in farmers’ opinions the best means of conveying information. More evidence of the success of the County Committees will be given in later sections.

The effect on practice has differed considerably in different campaigns. The campaign on seed dressing has been very successful in relation to the main grains, but here it is important to remember that the campaign has been substantially reinforced by commercial firms. The Winter Milk campaign too has been very successful, as is shown by the fact that it has tended to equalise the proportions of farmers producing winter milk in different groups, as well as raising the whole level.

The small success of the Veterinary Panel campaign and the appreciable proportion of farmers who do not as yet fully understand seed dressing, however, show that there is still a considerable amount to be done in these fields.

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