How much will I make per Acre?
There are multiple revenue streams from forestry farming including crop thinnings and the final clear fell. A rotation includes at least 2 times but sometimes 3 or 4 times thinnings plus the clear fell. Rotations can vary from 25 years to up to 35 years with Spruce Crops. €7500 per acre in revenue is for the timber on the clear fell alone.
How much does it cost to sow per acre?
Planting or re-afforestation costs are about €1000 per acre. However, for the initial first crop, the government grant covers this cost entirely on normal soils and normal conditions.
How long does it take from when you sow to when you harvest?
A clear fell is done when the forest is ready to harvest. This is typically between 25 and 35 years and depends on many factors including when thinnings take place. First thinning can and should be done from as early as 11 years after planting and typically on afforested farmland from 15 years.
How often does it need to be thinned?
Thinning should be at least 2 times on farm sites where the wind is stable. A third and indeed a fourth could be taken where the grower is managing the crop more intensively. Thinnings have the big unseen advantage of significantly reducing or shortening the rotation to clearfell. The objective is of thinnings is to takes out poor quality trees before they grow in size allowing you to transfer the growth capacity of the land onto the better quality remaining trees in the main crop. Taking out poor quality trees shortens rotation and gives you the best quality trees in the end.
Can you sell thinnings?
You certainly can.
How much do machines cost?
The main machinery that you need is a harvesting head that attaches to your tractor and a timber trailer with a crane and grapple. The harvesting head starts from €13K ex VAT. You can get a trailer with crane and grapple from €7K ex VAT. Prices are subject to change by the manufacturer and would be quoted at time of enquiry.
Is financing or hire purchase available?
No. Purchaser has to arrange finance but Con will be able to advise on this.
How long do the machines last?
With normal usage the machinery can last a very long time. They are as durable as most farm equipment.
Are there tax benefits to forest farming?
Income from forestry is free of income tax excluding PRSI and other possible special taxes. Forestry income above €80K, however, is taxable.
After 25 years when I clear the land, how difficult is it to get it back to tillage?
The rules for forestry are that having accepted the grants then the land is locked into forestry into perpetuity. The only way to get it out is to replace the area on equivalent non forested land type elsewhere without grant aid. That is how the law stands today.
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