Make the most of thinnings says IFA
Published 13/05/2015 | 02:30
Farm foresters have been advised not to lose out on returns from plantation thinning and to familiarise themselves with the value of all wood taken out during the process.
The IFA's Michael Fleming cautioned farmers to prepare and plan before they start thinning so as to maximise their return from the operation. He pointed out that buoyant timber prices meant there was good money to be made from most grades of thinnings.
"There is too much money at stake to not familiarise yourself with what is involved with thinning. It is important to get some understanding of the products that will be harvested and the value of these products,'' Mr Fleming said.
"Unfortunately we do hear of farmers that are not getting a fair price for their timber or who are offered a good price only to find that their forest was over-thinned, reducing the long-term return from the crop," he added.
While Mr Fleming insisted that problems with forestry contractors were rare, he advised farmers to only use "reputable operators".
But he stressed that the best way for farmers to protect themselves from exploitation was to know the value of their timber before they start to thin.
"Do not accept the first offer, talk to a neighbour who has sold timber recently, get as much advice as possible in order to protect your investment," explained Mr Fleming.
"I would strongly recommend that farmers put in inspection paths, so they can access their forests to accurately gauge how the trees are growing. It will also make the forest more attractive to potential buyers."
He said IFA members could also use a new forest assessor service that will measure and predict the quantities of products that can be achieved so that farmers know the value of their crop.