Hay supplies should not be affected by the foot-and-mouth crisis, according to Andrew Turnbull of MAFF’s state veterinary service when addressing the National Equine Forum in London last week.

The price of hay has risen in some parts of the country, but the forum heard that, in unaffected areas, this was caused more by vendors capitalising on public fear than genuine shortages.

Mr Turnbull stressed that hay cut from fields that had been grazed by affected livestock would not carry the virus because this is killed after 28 days of normal sunlight.

“Any fields cut for hay would have to be left to stand for a lot longer than this, so the grass would be ‘cleansed’ in the normal haymaking process,” he said.