The price of all good quality bedding is to rise “significantly”, a shavings manufacturer has warned.

Tim Smalley, managing director of Bedmax, has advised horse owners to plan ahead to “take into account the increasing difficulty of securing good quality bedding”.

“They face the certainty that costs are rising irrevocably for all types of horse bedding across the board,” Mr Smalley said.

He explained that Bedmax sources the timber to make its bedding from UK sustainable UK forests, and that prices have been “climbing for some time”.

“This is mainly due to the huge increase in demand for timber from the European grant-assisted biomass energy market, which is putting greater strain on supplies of timber, and forcing prices constantly upwards,” he said.

“But it is also clear that the price for all types of bedding available here in the UK, including traditional straw, is also rising. As more and more horse owners increasingly understand the need to provide healthy bedding for their horses, the weather both last year and this year, combined with demand, continues to put pressure on top quality straw supplies.”

Mr Smalley said the most recent winter’s length and the bad weather meant straw was in short supply.

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“Unless farmers begin to grow straw specifically for horse bedding, it is extremely unlikely that the decline in supply and quality is going to improve,” he added.

“Despite the need to keep prices in line with rising costs, demand for top quality shavings both here in the UK and overseas is increasing. My advice to horse owners who would like to avoid a scramble to find bedding at the end of the coming winter is clear; secure your supplies in good time, build a relationship with your chosen brand and purchase from a supplier you can trust.”

A spokesman for bedding company Nedz said it had plenty of straw from last harvest and that its prices “remain low”.

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