Grímsvötn Ash Still Troubles South Iceland Farmers Skip to content

Grímsvötn Ash Still Troubles South Iceland Farmers

Even though pastures in south Iceland have turned green after the volcanic eruption and ash fall from Grímsvötn last month, ash still covers the soil, causing uncertainty about haymaking in the region.

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The ash fall in Kirkjubaejarklaustur during the height of the eruption. Photo by Monique Starr. Click on the picture to enlarge it.

“From the road the pastures look green but upon closer inspection you can see a thick layer of ash,” Grétar Már Thorkelsson, a consultant at the South Iceland Agricultural Society, told Morgunbladid.

“We reevaluate the situation every day but it is clear that farmers in Fljótshverfi and part of Sída will not achieve full haymaking, maybe also in Landbrot, and will need unpolluted hay from elsewhere. At some farms there probably won’t be any haymaking at all,” Thorkelsson added.

“We learned last year that even though hay can be made, ash-free fodder is required. It can probably be obtained from other locations in the countryside,” Thorkelsson stated.

The pastures are quick to recover but rainfall is lacking, he explained. The past few weeks have been rather dry and windy. “The farmers have remained optimistic and are demonstrating great patience.”

Off Höfn, Iceland’s lobster capital, the catch is good even though there is evidently ash on the sea floor. “The floor is soft and we can feel that there is more mud in the fishing grounds. […] But we have seen this before,” commented captain Sigurdur Ólafsson.

“We must, of course, wash the lobster when we bring it onboard—as we have always done—but the ash doesn’t cause any problems,” he added. According to Morgunbladid, the lobsters’ quality is good.

Click here to read more about the Grímsvötn eruption.

Please note: The upcoming issue of the print edition of Iceland Review will include extensive coverage of the eruption. If you subscribe now, you will receive a photo book by IR editor/photographer Páll Stefánsson of the eruption in Eyjafjallajökull as a gift.

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