Agriculture in the suburbs: Our archive picture this week shows planting of crops in April 1941 at Wilton, Cork. Between 1940 and 1944, the land under tillage in the State increased to 1.5m acres, from a five-year average of just under 1m acres between 1935 and 1939.
It was the period known as The Emergency, which began on September 2, 1939, a direct result of the outbreak of the Second World War, and following the declaration by Taoiseach Eamon DeValera that Ireland was in an official state of emergency.
As minister of industry and commerce and minster of supplies, Séan Lemass imposed compulsory tillage orders on farmers to ensure they grew wheat, along with other products that hitherto had been imported. Acreages grew from 681,000 acres to 834,000 for oats, from 305,000 to 662,000 acres for wheat. Farmers were compelled to till 37.5% of their land. Many were prosecuted because they were unable, or unwilling, to comply. There were 300 convictions annually, and some 7,365 acres were confiscated from those farmers.