A firm of industrial hemp producers has received a Royal Warrant after supplying the Queen’s stables.
The Royal Mews is one of a growing number of stables using hemp for bedding, according to a leading UK industrial hemp producer.
Ian Low, director of the Essex-based firm, Hemcore, which has supplied bedding to the Queen’s stables for the past five years, says he believes the product’s share of the equestrian market is set to rise, with his company’s sales last year rising by 30%.
“One of the reasons why the Royal Mews uses the product is, I believe, because there is less of it to dispose of than other forms of bedding and this is particularly useful in town.”
In the past, industrial hemp has suffered from bad image. It was banned until 1993 because it is a member of the cannabis family.
“However, since the authorities realised it was an industrial product that we are selling, they have become more relaxed about it, although you do still need to have a licence, “says Ian Low.
The product’s share of the equestrian market is currently around 2-3%, with the big share of the market still going tostraw and woodshavings.
Farmers are expecting a bumper harvest this year – reversing last year’s shortage of straw because of the wet winter and the FMD crisis when some horseowners switched to woodshaving.
The association representing sawdust and woodshaving merchants, NAWSMAC, is calling on woodmills to keep prices steady following a survey which showed that the demand for the product could fall.
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