IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, Michael Fleming has advised farmers to prepare and plan before they start thinning. “There is too much money at stake to not familiarise yourself with what is involved with thinning, it is important to get some understanding of the products that will be harvested and the value of these products.”
He said, unfortunately we do hear of farmers that are not getting a fair price for their timber or who are offered a good price only to find that their forest was over-thinned, reducing the long-term return from the crop. He stressed that this is rare and that there are a lot of reputable operators working in the sector.
“The best way to protect yourself is to know the value of your timber before you sell, do not accept the first offer, talk to a neighbour that has sold timber recently, get as much advice as possible in order to protect your investment”, said Mr. Fleming.
Thinning is one of the most powerful management tools available to farmers to increase the value of the crop. Mr. Fleming said there is money to be made in first thinnings but stressed that the primary aim is to improve the quality of the remaining trees and focus the growth on the trees that will produce the best sawlog.
“I would strongly recommend that farmers put in inspection paths, so they can access their forests to accurately gauge how the trees are growing. It will also make the forest more attractive to potential buyers”, said Mr. Fleming.
Another way farmers can take greater control over the sale of their timber is to know the value of what they are selling. IFA has a new members’ service Forest Assessor that will measure and predict the quantities of products that can be achieved so that farmers know the value of their crop.
IFA will be demonstrating the benefits of the new Forest Assessor service to forest owners at the Forestry Show 2015 in Stradbally, Co. Laois this weekend (9th and 10th May)