Previous generation’s inspired decision on forestry has reaped rewards for this dairy farmer
Kilkenny farmer Michael Owens runs a mainly dairy enterprise in Castlecomer, Co Kilkenny, milking 125 cows on a holding of almost 80 hectares, with more than half on very good land.
Having trained in forestry, Michael’s late father planted 2.5 hectares of mainly spruce 29 years ago. He actually wanted to plant more but this went contrary to general advice at the time.
Michael is now reaping the rewards of his late father's inspired decision, having just overseen the final harvest and sale of his timber, which has matured rapidly following two thinnings.
According to Michael, "We are very happy with the way the harvesting worked out, the whole job was done in three days. It has produced over 750t and the price we will receive is about €55/t, perhaps even a bit more. We are lucky that timber prices are strong at the moment. It will cost 8-10pc of the money we receive to replant and put it back; the remainder as you all know is income tax-free anyway."
With the strong demand for timber at present, forest owners can have a very valuable crop on their land. Michael was impressed with the timber and financial return from his forest, explaining that, "It yielded pretty good, it was fairly straight and the product breakdown is 45pc sawlog, 37pc palletwood and the remainder is going to pulp. So that’s pretty decent for forestry."
Returns from harvest
750 tonnes @ €55/t = €41,250
Minus replanting costs (10%): €4,125