Relief over rates for forestry grants
Farmers intending to plant woodland are breathing a sigh of relief this week, following the unveiling of the new forestry grant rates.
The sector had feared the worst when it was announced that the planting budget was to be slashed by 25pc.
The new rates announced by the Department of Agriculture this week show that most establishment grants have been reduced by 16pc on average.
However, farmers will be able to make significant savings by virtue of the reduced stocking densities required by the new Department guidelines. For example, oak- and beech-planting density has been reduced to 3,300 stems/ha, and alder density has been lowered to 2,500 stems/ha.
Crucially, the forestry premia have not been cut any further, following their 8pc reduction last year.
The only alteration is that there will be no differential between premiums according to the area planted.
All new applications will be paid premiums equivalent to current rates for areas greater than or equal to six hectares but less than 12ha.
Unenclosed land has been hardest hit, with both premia and establishment grants reduced.