14/09/2010 The Horse Trust Appeals for Donations to Cover £23,500 Hay Shortfall

Buckinghamshire charity The Horse Trust is facing an additional bill of £23,575 for hay and haylage this year due to a shortfall in production and the rising cost of hay.

Last year, The Horse Trust was able to produce the majority of hay and haylage it needed for the winter from its 200 acres of paddocks. But due to the dry weather conditions this year, it has only been able to produce around a third as much hay and haylage.

As all farmers are in a similar situation, the cost of hay and haylage has risen dramatically. If the winter is as severe as last year, the charity estimates it will need to buy around 600 bales of hay and haylage to feed the horses at its sanctuary in Speen, Buckinghamshire over the winter.

"This is a very worrying situation - we have never faced such a large shortfall," said Shirley Abbott, Yard Manager at The Horse Trust. "We have already had to tighten our belts due to the credit crunch, but are now facing a massive bill for hay over the winter. We hope the public will be able to help us by donating money or hay to help us feed the horses, ponies and donkeys at the sanctuary."

In 2009, a large bale of hay cost £16, this year it costs £35. Last year, The Horse Trust used 454 bales of hay. It has only produced 152 bales this year from its farm, which means it has a shortfall of 302, which will cost £10,570 (£35 x 302).

In 2009, a large bale of haylage cost £15, this year it costs £45. Last year, The Horse Trust used 559 bales of haylage. It has only produced 260 bales of haylage this year from its farm, which means it has a shortfall of 299, which will cost £13,455 (£45 x 299).

The total cost of hay and haylage this year could be £24,025. In 2009, The Horse Trust only needed to buy 30 bales of haylage (at a cost of £450), so it will have to spend an additional £23,575 this year.

To donate to the hay appeal, visit www.justgiving.com/hayappeal or send a cheque to The Horse Trust.