The forestry and timber processing sector is amongst those whose full potential in terms of job creation, land development, farm economics and environmental planning has yet to be fully grasped by the public generally.
That is the view of one leading supplier to the industry, Komatsu Forest equipment distributor, McHale Plant Sales of Birdhill and Rathcoole.
Praising the work being done by Coillte, Teagasc and others to encourage its development, the company’s director, Michael McHale predicts a future of sustained growth and job creation, seeing forestry as having the potential to outpace many others in terms of the overall contribution it can make to Ireland’s economic progress, north and south’.
In this, McHale points to demand for new timber harvesting machinery as proof of the confidence, investment climate and growth outlook now evident within the sector. Last year, its first full year since being appointed to represent Komatsu Forest, its sales of harvesters and forwarders exceeded the double-digit threshold with forward orders on hand that would indicate that even higher levels are possible this year.
Knowing how favourable growing conditions are in Ireland for the production of timber, McHale is recommending that land owners study the economics of forest planting as an alternative and reliable source of income, especially for those with holdings not wholly suitable for farming, food or dairy production.
“With more land going to forestry each year, and increasing evidence of growth and productivity in planting, harvesting and downstream processing through sawmills and end-user product manufacturing, the outlook for forestry and timber production is positive” he said.