IFA Farm Forestry Chairman, Vincent Nally has welcomed the introduction of a grant of up to €500 per hectare to support farmers to undertake second thinning operations in broadleaf forests, under the Woodland Improvement Scheme (WIS).
“Many farmers have delayed thinning operations following the Department’s announcement late last February that an additional grant would be introduced,” said Mr. Nally.
He said that the delay in introducing the grant had left many farmers with limited time to get operations completed this winter, as the preferred time for thinning operations in broadleaf forests is from autumn to early spring when the sap is down.
“The Department must work with farmers that have delayed operations pending the introduction of the grant to get applications fast tracked through the system”, said Mr. Nally.
Thinning operations are essential in broadleaf forests to focus growth on the best quality and more vigorous stems and provide the growing space for these trees. Thinning for quality is greatly assisted if potential crop trees (PCTs) are permanently marked early on, by painted bands or spots.
“From a commercial viewpoint the most important part of the tree is the lower section of the stem, this is the portion of the tree that yields the greatest financial return,” said Mr. Nally.
He concluded by stressing the importance of safety in all forestry operations but particularly in tree felling. He said that farmers must ensure that all workers have adequate insurance, have certified training and that suitable personal protection equipment is worn at all times.