Teagasc’s recent Talking Timber events combined a mini-conference, an outdoor timber demonstration with a large trade stand area. The events are now in their sixth year and continue to attract forest owners and timber buyers.
New Ross in Wexford and Mountbellew in Galway were the locations for this year’s Talking Timber events organised by Teagasc in cooperation with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) and the Irish Forest and Forest Products Association (IFFPA).
This year’s events attracted over 250 forest owners who came to meet timber buyers and learn how to be market-ready and so take advantage of high timber prices being offered at present.
Log and timber quality was the focus at Talking Timber 2018 during the popular outdoor log quality displays organised by IFFPA.
Timber buyers Sean Sheridan from Glennon Brothers and Aodan Kealey from Murray Timber Group stressed that from a timber buyer’s perspective, “it is important that forest owners’ expectations are realistic when it comes to selling timber”. This means to know what you are selling, especially the quality of your timber. Sawmills are looking for very straight quality logs. The prices offered to forest owners reflect this.
Talking Timber events are all about networking between forest owners and the forest industry. The presence of 28 industry stands reflected the success of the Talking Timber model. The event programme was designed to give forest owners plenty of time to network with foresters, timber buyers, harvesting contractors and machinery suppliers as well as DAFM and Teagasc. This crucial element worked well with a great level of interaction between owners and the forestry professionals.
For the second year, a number of forest research organisations including Teagasc, NUI Galway, Waterford Institute of Technology and UCD Forestry highlighted their on-going research projects and how this is contributing to our knowledge of forest management and timber utilisation.
Teagasc outlined the steps involved in preparing for harvest. At the Galway event, Noel Kennedy, Teagasc Forestry Development Officer explained, “Teagasc research has proven that thinning is highly beneficial to most forests resulting in a higher quality, higher value forest while also providing income before final harvest.” Frances McHugh, also from Teagasc told the attendees in New Ross that, “Forest owners must be ‘market-ready’ to maximise the potential of their forest.” She added, “every forest is different so each owner should know their own forest and should base harvesting decisions on specific characteristics of their forest.”
Forest owners Tom Hickey from Waterford and Con Keigher from Roscommon presented their own experiences of managing and harvesting their forests. Tom Hickey said, “There is plenty of help available if you look for it; Teagasc, forest owner groups and from professional foresters.” Con Keigher stressed that “farmers are not foresters and we must understand how thinning works – above all plan ahead and give yourself plenty of time.”
Feedback from the event was positive from both forest owners and industry representatives. Presentations given on the day will be made available on www.teagasc.ie/forestry.