IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, Pat Collins has advised farmers who have financial approval to afforest to wait until the autumn to plant.
He said that normally all planting had stopped at this stage but the planting season had been extended this summer due to the introduction of the Forestry Regulation, which now requires farmers to erect a site notice.
“IFA is not happy with the decision taken by the Forest Service to extend the planting season”, said Mr. Collins, “as the correct timing of planting is critical to the successful establishment of a plantation”.
He said that planting during dry conditions should generally be avoided as poor survival rates can be expected from stressed plants. This means that a lot of plants that are currently being planted will fail and will have to be replanted.
“The decision taken by the Forest Service to allow planting to continue goes completely against good forest practice”, said Mr. Collins. “Although the planting season can be extended when using cold stored planting stock it is best practice for plantations to be established no later than end of June”.
He continued that he believed that the decision to continue planting had been influenced by the very poor planting programme in 2017. Only 2,000 hectares had been established so far this year, down 14% on this time last year.