€10,000/ac for investors in 'sleeping giant' sector
Ireland's earliest forestry investors are set to reap rewards of up to €10,000/ac this year, according to forestry company SWS Forestry.
Farmers and investors who put money in the early 1980s have seen their crops mature to clearfell stage and will now pocket the profit from their investment.
The crops were eligible for a premium payment of €176/ac for 20 years and all planting costs were covered by a grant to a farmer planting his own land.
Speaking at SWS Forestry's annual strategy meeting in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim on Thursday, general manager Pádraig Egan said early plantations were now in the timber production phase and returning attractive dividends to these pioneers.
"Those who took the longer term view will now see their investments returning dividends.
"Not alone has the land value increased but they are now set to reap up to €10,000 per acre from the timber crop once timber production commences," he said.
Mr Egan described the forestry sector as a "sleeping giant", with a lot more to deliver.
Coford's timber production forecasts show that the total annual thinning area will more than double from 22,800ha in 2011 to 49,400ha by 2028, with the most significant increase being in the Republic of Ireland's private sector.