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Over 400 Forest Owners Attend National Storm-Damaged Forest Events in Kilkenny and Kerry

Teagasc, in association with Coillte and the Forest Service, DAFM recently held two very successful events on managing storm damage in farm forests.

The first event was attended by Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine with responsibility for forestry and Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc. They wanted to see for themselves the devastating consequences of Storm Darwin. They appreciated the take home message that with good preparation and by putting together a step-by-step plan, the risk can be minimised while the value of the salvaged timber can be maximised.

During both these events, farmers had the opportunity to avail of the expertise of a range of speakers while the harvesting of the windblown timber continued in the background. The Forest Service outlined correct procedures when applying for felling licences while Coillte shared their expertise on issues such as harvesting, marketing and re-establishing forests. Important issues such as managing health and safety in forestry operations, insurance and taxation were also addressed.

Local Teagasc Forestry Development Officer Michael Somers said: “I was very pleased to see so many forest owners attending. This is one of the biggest natural disasters to happen recently in Irish forestry. Not since 1997 has the south of Ireland experienced a storm of this magnitude. The main point to be taken from this event is that the crop can be salvaged with good planning.”

PJ Trait of Coillte said: "Coillte was delighted to participate in these well attended events and provide support to forest owners by sharing our knowledge and experience of dealing with this windblow event. Our main message is that with good planning the forestry sector can get through this windblow and it is possible to recover value from the crops that have blown over."

The two Teagasc Coillte DAFM events were attended by over four hundred forest owners. Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc attended the first event.  From left to right: Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc; Tom Hayes TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and PJ Trait, Customer Services Team Leader Coillte.