Facts and figures: Are beef and sheep farmers better off planting forestry in their land?
Recent research by Teagasc examined the factors affecting the returns from the afforestation of agricultural land.
The Research led by Mary Ryan of Teagasc, noted that forestry is a long-term crop with rotations of over 30 years for fast-growing conifers, and up to 100 years for slower-growing broadleaf species.
Planting a fast-growing conifer will yield an annual tax-free forest premium of €510/ha for the first 15 years of the forest rotation.
After this period, the economic return from forestry arises mainly at final harvesting, with intermediate income if forests are thinned.
The research stressed that making a decision on the basis of the figures applying for one year only, is taking a short-term view.
“For a long-term land-use change, such as forestry, landowners should take into account the full range of factors that affect the returns from forestry, i.e., the costs and revenues from managing and harvesting timber over the lifetime of a forest.”
The research highlights that landowners, who plant agricultural land, incur an opportunity cost in relation to the loss of agricultural income on the planted land over the lifetime of the forest.