The increase in forestry grants and premiums announced this week will push the base price of forestry land over €7,000/ac, auctioneers have predicted.
However, estate agents warned that securing land for planting will remain difficult. They pointed out that much of the country’s forestry type ground is designated and thereby ineligible for planting.
Meanwhile, there is intense competition for any ground that is not designated. Under the new forestry programme farmers will be paid €1,103/ha for 20 years to plant native species, an increase of €438/ha on current payments.
Premiums on plantations of spruce have been increased from €510/ha to €746/ha and the period of payment extended from 15 years to 20 years. The planting grants have also been significantly increased.
Southeast auctioneer David Quinn noted that the price of planting land was now likely to move €7,000/ac following the announcement of higher premiums. Quinn said that ground for forestry in south Wicklow was generally making around €6,000/ac , but was now likely to top €7,000 if it were a “dead cert” for planting. “It could put a 20% premium on suitable ground,” he added.