A new forestry tool has been released to help forest owners maximise returns from their forest, by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.

The Minister of State for Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, launched the ‘Felling Decision Tool’ for conifers.

The tool is designed to provide guidance to owners on when to fell their forest in order to obtain the best return from their asset.

Minister Doyle believes the new tool will prove invaluable to forest owners in the future.

The importance of deciding when to clear-fell and its impact on returns should not be underestimated.

“This tool will assist forest owners in making a more informed decision on clear-felling.

“The tool clearly shows that rotation length has a very significant impact on the return a grower will get from his or her crop.

“It is vital that landowners have a positive experience from their forestry investments and that revenue from the first rotation facilitates reforestation to continue the forest cycle,” he said.

It is also important at a national level, from a roundwood supply and wood quality perspective that rotation lengths are of ample length, the Minister added.

This will allow the production of sufficient quantities of valuable sawlog-sized material to support an expanding sawmill sector, he said.

He hopes that launching this tool will help to underpin this level of production in a sustainable way, by providing the best available information to all those involved in managing forests and in providing advice to owners.

Forestry Premium Payments for 2017

Minister Doyle also recently revealed that the first tranche of annual tax-free forestry premium payments for 2017 have begun to be issued to those forest owners who applied online

A total of €26.80m is being paid in this bulk payment run in respect of some 6,900 forest premium applications, he said.

“The Department will continue to process online applications for 2017 premiums as they are received, with payments being issued on a weekly basis.

“I would encourage forest owners to avail of the online facility because of the obvious benefits for them in terms of early premium payment,” he said.

Forest owners may continue to apply for the payment of the annual premium online, through the Department’s Online Services.

A further bulk premium payment run will be made in April 2017 to applicants who use the paper based application system, the Department confirmed, with application forms set to be issued in February 2017.