H&H exclusive: floods bring fears of hay shortages

  • The National Farmers Union (NFU) has described 2007 as a “disaster zone”. Haymaking is “non-existent” and few have taken a first cut of haylage.

    • In the south-west, straw is a “major issue”
    • One west Midlands farmer could lose £37,000 worth of hay
    • In the north-east, wheat and barley quality is so poor that it is not worth harvesting
    • Contamination fears about flooded grazing mean costly reseeding will be needed

    Clare Lockyer, technical manager for Spillers Horse Feeds , expects a clearer idea of the scale of the problem by mid-August.

    “The most pressing concern is the non-harvest of hay. Some shrewd farmers managed to take some good early hay and haylage crops during the end of May and first week of June before the rains set in, but elsewhere the fields are still full of grass,” she says.

    “Grass has now grown stemmy and has seeded, which means a coarser crop of a very low nutritional value and of variable quality.”

    Read H&H’s exclusive news feature on the impact of the floods, plus insights into how racing, eventing and competitors have been financially hit in tomorrow’s Horse & Hound (2 August 2007)

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