'You have to be committed - forestry is no free lunch'

Steven Meyen
Steven Meyen
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Seller and buyer beware - that's is the advice of Teagasc's Steven Meyen to farmers who are in the market to sell their forestry, writes Claire Fox.

The forestry advisor tells the Farming Independent that age is one of the biggest factors that affects how much your forest is worth.

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"A young forest is worth very little as there is no value in tiny trees until the trees mature. A forest that is five, 10 or 15 years old still has a long way to go to reach maturity, so you won't make as much," he says.

Steven (right) points out that those looking to buy a forest should really inspect the trees to ensure they are in pristine condition.

"Buyers should check if the trees are straight or crooked. Crooked trees have very low value. Dead-straight trees equal money, while crooked trees equal firewood, and the difference in value is astonishing."

Steven adds that acreage size of the plantation contributes to crop value, and that closer proximity to sawmills also increases value.

"If it's in one large block, rather than fragmented, it increases the selling power of your forest, and the closer to the market, the better."

An obligation when land is planted in forestry is that it must remain in forestry forever more.

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Steven says that, with this requirement in mind, those looking to plant forestry must do their homework and avoid any disappointments.

"You have to be committed before you jump in and get people to tell you the good and bad sides of it. Forestry is no free lunch - there are strict requirements to replant, and people have been taken to court for not abiding by the rules."

Steven says replanting the land after clear-fell is straightforward, but advocates a continuous cover system to ensure soil nutrient protection and make sure biodiversity is sustained, rather than one clear-fell of the entire forest area.

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