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Farming During The War Years

Ardmore Memory and Story - Life and Work

9. Farming During The War Years
During the war years in the forties the natives in Ardmore village planted potatoes and vegetables in their land in Dysert townland. Most families had plots of one to three acres which they acquired from the landlord in earlier times. There are 237 acres in Dysert and more than thirty people owned land there at the early part of the century. At present the number of landowners is reduced to less than half of the original. Many dwelling houses are built there. At least fifty percent of the land is under tillage at present. The remainder is under grass. In the earlier years hay was cut by scythes and horse drawn mowers. The hay was made into cocks by hand and stored in large ricks or cocks near the farmyard for winter-feeding. Hay is baled now and stored in hay barns. Most of the winter-feeding is now grass silage and is not so dependant on weather conditions at cutting tmie.

1947 was very nearly a disastrous year. There were long periods of wind and heavy rain during late summer and early autumn. Corn crops were lodged and in danger of being a total loss. The government of the day encouraged every bodied man, including soldiers to help to save the harvest. Migrants from the southwest and west of Ireland were drafted in to the tillage areas under a special scheme.

The rural electrification scheme in the early fifties brought many improvements in farming - light and power for milking machines and water pumps and many other uses including electrified wire fences for controlling the live stock.

After World War 2 farming was nearly in the doldrums. In 1949 the Irish Government got a loan of fifty million dollars under the Marshal Aid Scheme to improve agriculture. For the next forty years grant aid was given to farmers to improve their farms by reclamation and drainage and to encourage the use of ground limestone and fertilisers. The results were amazing. The area of arable land was nearly doubled and the number of livestock was trebled. Sales of beef and butter did not match output and the country had mountains of beef and butter.

This section was contributed by Mr. T. Gartland, Dysert, Ardmore.

Author: Siobhan Lincoln

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