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IFA National Farm Forestry Chairman Vincent Nally said that farmers are at breaking point with the delays and additional costs associated with getting grants or licences approved.

“The current system is not working for farmers.  It is unacceptable that some farmers are waiting in excess of twelve months for a decision on their application.”

Vincent Nally said that the Department must address the reasons behind the delays, which are predominantly related to lack of personnel in archaeology and ecology. This has caused a significant backlog in the system.

“IFA is calling on the Department to allocate additional resources to address the backlog in the short term so that farmers’ applications are dealt with in a timely fashion.  Communication with farmers must also be improved, particularly when applications are delayed, so they have indicative timelines to manage operations,” he said.

He said that the request for supplementary documentations or reports, in some instances over six months after the application has been submitted, is infuriating farmers when they would have expected a decision on their application.

“If there is to be a reversal in the afforestation figures, it is essential that those farmers that plant their land have a positive experience as they enter into active management of their forest,” he said.

IFA is hosting an information meeting with the Forest Service on the afternoon of Thurs, June 27th at 2pm in the Irish Farm Centre where farmers will have an opportunity to get an update on the application process, including the changes to the Appropriate Assessment procedures and Natura Impact Assessment requirements.

Mr Nally said he would encourage all farmers with forestry to attend the information meeting and take advantage of the opportunity to meet with the Forest Service in relation to their application.

All prices (ex VAT) quoted roadside for conifers. The prices have been collected from forest owners, forestry companies and sawmills.

Product Type Length Diameter Price € /tonne
  (m) (cm) (Roadside) *
Pulp 3 m < 7cm 20 – 34
Stakewood 1.6 m > 8cm < 15 cm 38 – 45
Palletwood 2.5 m > 14 cm 40 – 50
3.1 m 48 – 58
3.4 m 56 – 60
3.7 m 56 – 64
Sawlog 4.9m > 20cm 78 – 82

* The demand for timber particularly sawlog has been reducing due to an oversupply of sawn timber in Europe.

Top Tips for Farmers

Forest owners are advised to get a number of quotes before selling their timber.

To talk with other farmers that have thinned.

IFA recommend that farmers put in inspection paths before selling their timber. Inspection paths are essential to gain access into the crop, these paths permit the assessment of the crop by a professional forester.

  • Create inspection paths by removing branches to head height between two lines of trees;
  • Parallel paths should be 50-100 metres apart depending on the size of the forest, and
  • Inspection paths should be straight.

IFA advises farmers to visit the harvest site on the first day of operations to talk with the operator and ensure that he is familiar with the conditions of the felling licence and that the right trees are being felled.

Remember the primary aim of thinning is to improve the quality of your forest to focus growth on the better quality.

Speaking at the launch of the climate report in Dáil Éireann today, IFA President Joe Healy said the Teagasc Plan is the basis for further climate action in agriculture and is far better than the unrealistic proposals put forward by the Citizens’ Assembly. This included an unjust and inequitable tax on Ireland’s carbon efficient food production model.

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IFA National Farm Forestry Chairman Vincent Nally said the Department of Agriculture must honour afforestation contracts if planting rates are to recover.

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IFA National Farm Forestry Chairman, Vincent Nally has said that the way that farmers affected by ash dieback have been abandoned by the Government is a disgrace and he is demanding that Minister of State Andrew Doyle introduce a new scheme as a matter of urgency.

“It is now nearly a year since the Department of Agriculture closed the previous scheme and ten months since submissions were sought to develop a new scheme to support farmers,” said Mr. Nally.

Mr Nally said that ash dieback has a devastating consequence for the survival, growth and wood quality of ash trees, and therefore has a devastating consequence on the commercial value of the timber crop.

“Farmers planted ash encouraged and supported by the Department through higher grants and premiums. They feel very aggrieved at how they have been treated by the Department, particularly since it was the Department that did not have adequate controls in place to stop the importation of infected plants, that has seriously damaged their investment,” said the IFA Farm Forestry Chairman.

He continued, “The management of ash dieback is very challenging and there is no scientific evidence that thinning infected plantations is beneficial in the long-term when ash dieback is present. In fact, when dieback is severe, research suggests that the best approach is to harvest remaining commercial timber before value depreciation and to replant the area with other tree species.”

Vincent Nally said, “Farmers must have the option to clearfell and replant with a specie of their choice under the any new scheme. All infected plantations must be eligible for a Reconstitution Scheme (Chalara), which would grant aid farmers to replant with tree species that satisfies their management objectives and provides a forest premium on the replanted land for 15 years according to GPC rate.”

He concluded that an option not to replant, without penalties, must also be available under certain circumstances.

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