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Stormy Weather

Hay

Photo: Golli.

Q: Iceland had a very poor summer this year, with low temperatures and wet weather. Has this weather had an impact on hay production and will your horses have enough feed for the coming winter?

Roger Devey, UK

A:

Even though in Reykjavík, this year’s summer was characterised by rainy, cloudy and cold days, weather in other parts of the country was notably better. Because of this favourable weather, hay production was good, especially in North and Northeast Iceland. As last year’s harvest was also bountiful, Icelandic farmers have never had so much surplus hay. There was even too much for Icelandic livestock.

Contrary to Iceland, a lot of European countries experienced drought this summer, resulting in poor hay harvests. In Norway, a shortage of hay posed a huge threat to sheep farmers, who were forced to send part of their livestock to slaughterhouses. Sweden, Denmark and Finland, countries that usually supply Norway with hay in times of need, were also plagued by drought. Iceland’s surplus of hay was therefore extra useful this year, as the country will be exporting around 50,000 bales of hay to Norway this fall.

So, not only will Icelandic horses have enough feed this winter, their Norwegian cousins will also be able to enjoy Icelandic hay in the dark months ahead.