Last year 11,000 tons of barley were grown in Iceland, but grain farmers say it is possible to grow five times more grain and thus produce 75 percent of the grain needed to produce fodder for the local market. Farmers have criticized the authorities for a lack of support.
“Barley is about 75 percent of the grain used for concentrated feed in this country. Last year about 39,000 tons of barley were imported for fodder production. Other grain, wheat and maize, totaled 17,000 tons and it is possible to reduce that amount and use barley instead,” Ingvar Björnsson, tillage expert at Búgardur agricultural consultant agency in Akureyri, told 24 Stundir.
“With growing grain prices abroad, grain production in Iceland can easily compete with imported fodder,” Björnsson said, adding that local grain farming is definitely growing in popularity. “I predict that this type of farming will grow extensively in the next few years. Farmers show great interest because it doesn’t look like the price of imported grain is going to drop.”
Hog farmer Hördur Hardarson said 70 percent of the fodder he uses was made with locally-grown grain. “If grain farmers in Iceland received as much support as in the other Nordic countries, or in the EU, Iceland could produce all the barley it needs for fodder in only a few years.”
Hardarson grows barley himself and also purchases grain from other farmers in his region. “We aim towards producing all the fodder we need ourselves and for that to happen we have to grow more than 800 tons of barley. We believe it is a realistic goal.”