HORSE owners and trainers should brace themselves for further price increases in feed, supplements and accessories, according to leading suppliers.
The price hikes are being caused by a number of factors including the war in Ukraine, rising prices for raw materials in China, disruption of the supply chain from the Far East due to Covid-19, and the full impact of Brexit kicking in.
Brendan Murphy, managing director of TRI Equestrian, the superstore on the Curragh, said: “I am at this over 30 years and I have never seen it as bad. We are talking about double-digit percentage increases in price coming our way. The last thing we want to do is pass this on to the customer but we can only absorb so much.
Murphy says he has seen a colossal jump in the cost of importing goods from China. “We typically bring in a 50-foot container of items and the shipping cost is €3,500. The last one we brought in cost €17,000 in shipping. We are now actively sourcing alternative sources for these products but, broadly speaking, we are looking at a 10% increase in prices in order to claw back some of the increased costs we are facing.”
A riding stables owner in Co Fermanagh told The Irish Field that her haylage supplier called this week to warn her in advance that his prices would go up significantly this year. Large wrapped bales are currently supplied at £32 (€38) each, including delivery to the farm. The supplier stated that this price will rise to £49 (€59) per bale, a staggering 53% increase.
A spokesperson for one of the country’s biggest horsefeed distributors said: “Feed prices are going up all the time. A 20kg bag of feed used to cost between €10 and €20, depending on the quality. Recently they all went up an average of about €2 a bag and now there is another €2 increase on the way.
“Once the weather improves, horse owners will be keen to put horses out to grass and keep them there as long as possible. Thank God this crisis is not happening as we head into winter or I would fear a welfare issue. I think some charities will be very busy if the situation continues.”
“It’s not just feed but supplements, accessories and anything that has a plastic component or comes in a plastic container.
“We do a lot of deliveries and our own fuel bill has gone through the roof. We have to take the hit on that as it wouldn’t be possible to ask the customer to absorb all these increases. We just have to hope it settles down before winter.
A representative of a leading horsefeed manufacturer told The Irish Field: “We’ve never seen anything like the current shortage of raw materials before – not even in the 1970s. It’s having a big impact. Prices will be going up in April and again in May, as we try to soften the blow for customers.
“Horse owners and those with horses in training will want to know why prices and fees are going up, so it’s important to explain what’s happening. This is not price gouging, there is massive pressure out there.
“There are huge concerns over the winter crop of wheat from Ukraine. Will they get to harvest it? How much of their infrastructure has been destroyed? How much will they get to sow this winter?