The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) has made an online price survey tool available to farmers selling timber, which it says will allow them to understand the market.
IFA farm forestry chair Jason Fleming has said that the move is an attempt to increase the transparency of timber prices.
According to Fleming, the sourcing of reliable information on the price of raw timber has been hindered by low volumes moving through the system and difficulties for farmers in obtaining felling licenses.
“Due to limited timber sales and the ongoing issues with farmers getting felling licences in 2021, we have found it difficult to get consistent information on timber prices,” stated Fleming.
“As private forests mature, it’s vital that farmers have access to reliable timber price information. They need to better understand market conditions and the price they can expect for their timber,” he said.
The IFA has said that prices for saw log ranged between €95/t and €127/t in its latest survey, with stake wood and pallet wood coming in at €42 to €75/t and €40 to €82/t respectively.
The prices it was quoted for stands varied from €12 to €22/t for first thinnings, to €25 to €48/t third thinnings. Clearfell prices ranged between €50 and €92/t the IFA has said.
The price survey can be found here.
Government action ‘on the long finger’
The Irish Forest Owners (IFO) group said that the recent increases in timber volumes that have been seen moving through sawmills should not be taken as a sign that the licensing situation has eased for farmers.
These volumes of timber have been the result of larger suppliers being given priority in the system, the IFO claimed.
The group also said that licensing issues still remain and that moves have not been taken by legislators to address the regulatory challenges that are causing issues with the processing of licenses.
“It seems that because the supply of timber to the sawmills has improved recently, as a result of unfair priority being given to larger suppliers, false claims regarding the forestry crisis are being made,” IFO chair Nicholas Sweetman said.
“The facts do not support this narrative. Major licensing issues still remain.
“The regulatory and legal changes that are clearly needed to address the licensing crisis are being put on the long finger,” he claimed.
The IFO added that the area afforested has dropped to its lowest level in 70 years.