Challenges and opportunities as timber processing industry grows

The Irish timber processing industry has adapted successfully over the last number of years from largely supplying the Irish construction sector to exporting almost 80% of what it produces to Britain, France and new markets in continental Europe. 
Challenges and opportunities as timber processing industry grows

That’s the view of Dr Nuala Ni Fhlatharta, head of Teagasc’s Forestry Development Department, who said there is now a clear need to mobilise timber from the private forest sector to meet a growing demand from the forest products and bioenergy markets, as well as capturing more export markets in the years ahead.

“With annual timber production from the private forestry sector forecast to increase sevenfold to almost three million cubic metres by 2028, there are both challenges and opportunities for forest owners to get this rapidly expanding timber resource to market,” she said

Her comments came as the first of two timber marketing days run by Teagasc took place at Kildalton Agricultural College in Piltown, Co Kilkenny, yesterday. The second will be held next Tuesday at the Park Hotel in Mullingar.

The events, organised by Teagasc with the co-operation of the Irish timber industry, the Forest Service, and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, were arranged to give forest owners the opportunity to find out how the timber selling process works and what harvesting options are available.

John Casey, forestry adviser with Teagasc, urged private forest owners to focus on the production of quality timber.

“Supply of quality timber will be essential for the Irish timber processing industry to expand existing markets and secure additional export market share.

“Producing quality logs is achieved through a range of measures from forest establishment through to final harvesting.

“These include establishing and maintaining high tree stocking levels as well as regular, timely and controlled thinning regimes.

“These measures, if implemented on a consistent basis and with professional forestry input, will encourage a more uniform growth resulting in improved timber properties and enhanced conversion in the sawmill,” he said

Liam Kelly, forestry adviser with Teagasc, said some of the key concerns for owners when preparing for thinning include the securing of an attractive market for timber and ensuring the work is completed to a high standard.

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