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Thinning of forests and sale of wood chip can increase return from forestry - Wallace

Speaking at a demonstration of wood chipping machinery at a Bord na Móna forest site at boora, Co. offaly, Ms Mary Wallace, TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture and Food, commented that "the sale of woodchip as a fuel can make it more economical for farmers to manage their plantations to the highest standards by providing outlets in local areas for the timber produced, particularly areas that are not near the panel board factories".

The demonstration was the last in a series run by COFORD, Teagasc and Waterford Institute of Technology. Different harvesting methods were demonstrated in the spring of this year at various sites around the country. The harvested timber was then stored in the wood to dry over the summer. This wood has now been chipped and will be assessed for quality, particularly moisture content over the coming weeks.

Minister of State Wallace advised that the sale of woodchip as a fuel can provide a market for material from first and subsequent thinnings and added that thinning increases the quality and size of the remaining trees thereby optimising the return from the forest crop while also providing periodic returns as the crop matures.

The Minister of State went on to say that with the development of a real market for wood energy, a new and significant alternative source of income is emerging for farmers and landowners. Concluding, Minister Wallace said that forestry is a real alternative land use and income source, which the prudent landowner, with an eye to the future, must now seriously consider.

1 September 2006

Date Released: 04 September 2006