FARMING MATTERS: Trees as a farm crop

Mike Tustin, a chartered forester with John Clegg & Co
Mike Tustin, a chartered forester with John Clegg & Co
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Farmers are being encouraged to think of forestry as a means of diversification.

Chartered forester Mike Tustin says the post Brexit era offers opportunities for home grown timber as the weaker pound has pushed timber prices up 10 per cent, and there will be greater demand for home grown timber as imported product will look expensive.

He said investors planting productive new forests now will be in an excellent position to benefit from this, coupled with the resurgence in the market for energy wood thanks to the boom in biomass boilers and woodburners.

Defra has recently announced the re-opening of the Woodland Creation Grant which offers funding for new woodland that can be shown to provide public benefits.

Mr Tustin said: “Different farmers will have different objectives when it comes to what species they choose to plant.

“Plantations which are predominantly conifers offer the prospect of an income stream after just 20 years, but they are not the only option. The right mix of trees will produce a credible and positive return.”

He also encouraged farmers to examine whether they have parcels of land producing unreliable or non existent returns from mainstream agricultural production which could be put to better use.