Iceland’s Farmers Fear Hay Shortage This Winter Skip to content
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Iceland’s Farmers Fear Hay Shortage This Winter

The summer’s first hay harvest has proved poor for many farmers across North and East Iceland, RÚV reports. Many fear they may have to reduce their livestock in the fall due to a lack of feed. A cold and dry spring is to blame for the poor grass growth, but many farmers are hopeful that harvest later this summer will prove bountiful.

“In my 46-year farming career I think this is the worst frost that I have experienced personally, but it varied between farms,” stated Sveinbjörn Þór Sigurðsson of Búvellir farm in Aðaldalur, North Iceland. Sveinbjörn says 80-90% of his hayfields were frozen in spring, and dry weather exacerbated the situation. “In most places it’s around half of the usual haymaking from the first harvest,” he stated. “Both here and elsewhere.”

Þingeyjarsýsla municipality, where Sveinbjörn’s farm is located, was one of the worst affected by weather conditions this spring, though farms in East Iceland were also hit hard. The fields that remain frozen in spring are often the most newly-cultivated, and therefore provide the best-quality feed.

Weather in South and West Iceland has been more favourable and farmers there are not facing hay shortages in the fall. Sveinbjörn says that despite the poor spring in the region, farmers have high hopes that the second harvest of the summer will be good. “These difficulties just make you stronger and we farmers have often had it bad, but we always bounce back well.”

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