Due to constant ash fall on their farm site, Ármann Fannar Magnússon and Berglind Bjarnadóttir, farmers at Hrútafell in the Eyjafjöll countryside, moved more than 100 sheep yesterday to a farm near Mosfellsbaer where their relatives live.
The volcano in Eyjafjallajökull continues to spew ash over the neighboring countryside. Photo by Bjarni Brynjólfsson.
Other farmers from the region south of the eruption site are considering doing the same, Fréttabladid reports.
“It doesn’t appear as if we can let our sheep go outside in the near future and to keep ewes and their lambs inside for a long time creates problems such as sickness and death,” Magnússon told Stöd 2.
It is currently lambing season in Iceland and the conditions inside the sheepfold have become rather tight. Magnússon and Bjarnadóttir have lost two lambs and two ewes, possibly because of fluorine poisoning.
Magnússon said he is certain that he made the right decision by relocating his sheep. He doesn’t believe it will be possible to practice sheep farming on his farm in the next year or two.
“I’m moving the sheep across the risk border so I will have to take them to the slaughterhouse in the fall. I will have to buy new sheep when the land has recovered and the situation improved,” Magnússon said.
There are regulations limiting the transport of livestock in Iceland to prevent the spreading of diseases. Safe areas are marked with so-called varnarlína, or risk borders.
There are also approximately 100 cattle at Hrútafell but the farmers have yet to decide what to do with them. They might have to relocate their cattle as well.
A task force from the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture met last night to discuss the volcanic eruption and its effect on farming in the Eyjafjöll region.
Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Jón Bjarnason said regulations on risk borders might be relaxed in light of the circumstances created by ash fall.
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