3 MARCH 1928, Page 14

* * * * WicenE FARMERS Loan.

A very persistent effort has been made by the School of Agriculture at Oxford to discover, -so far as-may be,..exactly why farming has ceased to pay ; and one very important point—so the chief ireonomist at Oxford tells me—has just_ been demonstrated. In one characteristic farm where very careful accounts have been kept over a series of years, the labour bill is no bigger than it was before the War, for though wages are higher, the number of labourers has been reduced by labour=saving 'devices. More than this—no items of expenditure are higher than they used to be, except -in one department, which may be described as tradesmen's bills. Anything the farmer buys, especially for his machines—a coulter or a horseshoe—is very much dearer ; and it seems-likely that a good many farming accounts show a loss instead of a. profit, chiefly owing to excessive prices in this direction alone.