Irish Forest Owners (IFO) has urged forest owners to ensure they receive the full value for their harvest timber.
The representative body for most private forestry producer groups is concerned that many owners are unaware of their timber’s “true” value.
In a statement, a spokesperson for the group outlined that timber prices “are at an all-time high”.
“Sitka Spruce, fully mature, well-stocked and managed, is making over €35,000 and up to €40,000 per hectare. Even poorly performing plantations are producing timber worth €22,000 per hectare.”
Numerous forests planted in the 1980s and 1990s are now at clearfell stage.
Before agreeing to sell, it is vital to seek “impartial advice”, and IFO points to independent forestry experts, Teagasc and producer groups.
“Owners should be aware of the various classes, quantities and values of timber, whether thinning or clearfelling. These normally comprise sawlog, a range of pallet wood categories, stakewood and pulp.”
“Great vigilance is required when thinning to guard that unscrupulous operators are not raiding the plantation of selected timber and severely damaging the future potential of the remaining crop.”
“Notwithstanding the widely broadcasted difficulties with felling and planting licences, forestry is a secure and valuable investment with the advantage of the ease of management.”
“It is important that the private farm forest owner is the one who gets the value from this investment,” the spokesperson concluded.
Final value of conifer forest ‘likely to be’ €10,000–€15,000/acre
Earlier this year, the IFO warned private forest owners to exercise caution about selling harvesting rights to their woodlands.
In a statement at the time, the group calculated that values based on today’s prices. “The final harvest value of a conifer forest is likely to be in the region of €10,000–€15,000 per acre.”
IFO is concerned that many private forest owners may not realise the true value of their asset.
It said a number of investment companies are seeking to buy the harvesting rights from private forest owners. Irish Forest Owners claimed that companies are offering a lump sum upfront with annual payments until clearfell.