More than 300 people attended two Teagasc organised conifer timber marketing events in Charleville, Co Cork, and Abbeyleix, Co Laois, in recent weeks.
The turnouts were seen as evidence that farm forest owners are anxious to secure a better understanding of how the harvesting of their timber crop can be carried out effectively and profitably.
Timber buyers, harvesting contractors, and foresters attended the marketing days, which had the theme ‘Making the most cents out of harvesting’. Some 20 ‘Talking Timber’ events have been set up by Teagasc since 2009 with the co-operation of the Irish timber industry and the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine.
Each event included an outdoor demonstration organised by Forestry Industries Ireland, where attendees had the opportunity to view and discuss the quality of timber required by Irish sawmills.
Minister of state Andrew Doyle, speaking in Abbeyleix, said almost 1m cubic metres was produced by private forest owners in 2017.
Most of this timber was processed in Ireland, helping to support 12,000 forest sector jobs, based mostly in rural areas.
“With annual timber production from the private forestry sector forecasted to increase to almost 3m cubic metres by 2028 there are both challenges and opportunities for forest owners to get this rapidly expanding timber resource to market,” he said.
In Charleville, Gerry Boyle, director of Teagasc, said the strong attendances at the events demonstrates that forest owners recognise both the opportunity and the need to build forest industry contacts and to expand their own networks.
He said forest owners need to look after their crops, if they wish to maximise both the financial and environmental benefits.
Frank Barrett, Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, highlighted the need for timely and fully completed felling licence applications.
Foresters and forest owners might understand the operations and know what will happen on a harvesting site.
But other agencies may consider applications to be lacking in detail and this could potentially result in unnecessary delays, he said.