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Agro forestry query

  • 25-11-2020 7:53pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭


    I was considering a small plot for agroforestry, less than 4 acres. The plot in question is currently on a long term lease as part of a larger holding with the lease finishing up next year. If I put the 4 acre plot into agro forestry I cannot lease it to the farmer as we would both be claiming premiums off the same plot which is not acceptable to the DOA which is understandable. What I would like to know is after the 5 yrs expires for the premiums on the agro forestry would I be able to lease it out again along with the rest of the farm? Have asked Teagasc but no reply on the query. Maybe someone here knows the answer.


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Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 363 ✭✭Tig98


    I briefly looked into this myself and am by no means an expert, but it seems like all the money with agroforesty comes in the first few years, after that it's a big onus and a big hassle on you to maintain it. Would make the land very unattractive to lease as its mostly all hassle and little flexibility. Don't think the landowner would give the go ahead


  • Closed Accounts Posts: 604 ✭✭✭TooOldBoots


    Agroforestry in Ireland would be a great option for many. I've seen first hand mud fat cows on the 1st of February after being out-wintered in the woods.
    The main problem and its a biggy is as soon as you put your land into Agriforestry it is forevermore classed as forestry land, it cannot be returned to agricultural land without paying back all the grants + interest.
    Agriforestry would suit a lot of marginal farms but who in there right mind would destroy the land value.
    Even marginal land is making 7-8k/acre but turn it into forestry classed land with the grants gone into Agriforestry and its only worth 2-3k/acre at best if you can get someone to take it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭Thegingerbear


    I think it would be a good option for marginal land but as you all point out it does limit options going forward. They should increase the duration of the payments for say up to 20 years and that would make it more enticing for potential clients to consider it as an option. From what I have read online marginal land would benefit from this type of set up and if you could keep it in pasture going forward it certainly would be worth considering even if only a small plot was put aside for it. But I also gather from talking to Teagasc they are only interested in using it on good land which I really don't understand. One could always try it out without any DOA assistance. Hire a Forester and implement a plan and see where it goes. That way if you don't like the outcome you could remove the trees with no consequences from the DOA. Surely a small plot of say 3 to 4 acres could be planted with trees for a relatively small sum without the restrictions imposed if one was to go through the DOA route, just a thought. There was an article in the Indo in recent weeks about some farmer in Sligo who did some agroforestry to compliment his beef enterprise and it seems to going pretty good for him, he didn't mention if he had obtained grants etc from the DOA so maybe he went it alone.


  • Registered Users Posts: 198 ✭✭Earnshaw


    Even marginal land is making 7-8k/acre but turn it into forestry classed land with the grants gone into Agriforestry and its only worth 2-3k/acre at best if you can get someone to take it.

    Interesting point. Going the grant route with DAFM gives you the 5k setup grant for fencing a plot plus (500 or 600)/acre agroforestry grant over 5 years. Something like that.

    May not be worth it if considering leasing in future then...?


  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭Thegingerbear


    The cost of fencing would be relatively low and you could do it yourself. The trees will need protection but that's not a huge cost either. The most important aspect is to get professional advice from a Forester to ensure the right species are planted and get them to carry out an annual visit to monitor any disease/preventative action required. I don't expect their fee to be too high. Pruning/thinning will be required in the early years. I am really looking at the long term benefits to the soil. Species recommended include Alder, Birch, Oak, Willow and possibly some fruit trees. I will look into the costs in the coming weeks and see where it goes. Drainage would also be an issue to consider and that can be costly. There are very few Foresters with experience of agroforestry according to Teagasc. They could only offer one name!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 3,854 ✭✭✭Hard Knocks


    The cost of fencing would be relatively low and you could do it yourself. The trees will need protection but that's not a huge cost either. The most important aspect is to get professional advice from a Forester to ensure the right species are planted and get them to carry out an annual visit to monitor any disease/preventative action required. I don't expect their fee to be too high. Pruning/thinning will be required in the early years. I am really looking at the long term benefits to the soil. Species recommended include Alder, Birch, Oak, Willow and possibly some fruit trees. I will look into the costs in the coming weeks and see where it goes. Drainage would also be an issue to consider and that can be costly. There are very few Foresters with experience of agroforestry according to Teagasc. They could only offer one name!
    Would some of the garden nurseries be better assistance?


  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭Thegingerbear


    I reckon a qualified Forester would be your best bet to start with.


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,559 Mod ✭✭✭✭blue5000


    OP teagasc are doing phone in clinics for forestry atm, might be worth making an appointment.

    https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/forestry/news/2020/forestry-clinics-november-2020.php

    If the seat's wet, sit on yer hat, a cool head is better than a wet ar5e.



  • Registered Users Posts: 2,131 ✭✭✭Dinzee Conlee


    blue5000 wrote: »
    OP teagasc are doing phone in clinics for forestry atm, might be worth making an appointment.

    https://www.teagasc.ie/crops/forestry/news/2020/forestry-clinics-november-2020.php

    I emailed Teagasc about more information on agroforestry a good while ago... They said I should contact my local Teagasc forestry rep...

    So I emailed the local rep...

    Am sure they are going to send me a belter of an email, cos its taking them a long time to reply... ;):(


  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭Thegingerbear


    I discussed the plan with a Teagasc rep recently and he was very helpful and I sent him an email a few days later querying what happens after the 5 years has expired same as I queried here but he hasn't replied. I guess they are reluctant to put anything in print in case it comes back to bite them!


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  • Registered Users Posts: 9,100 ✭✭✭tanko


    Agroforestry in Ireland would be a great option for many. I've seen first hand mud fat cows on the 1st of February after being out-wintered in the woods.
    The main problem and its a biggy is as soon as you put your land into Agriforestry it is forevermore classed as forestry land, it cannot be returned to agricultural land without paying back all the grants + interest.
    Agriforestry would suit a lot of marginal farms but who in there right mind would destroy the land value.
    Even marginal land is making 7-8k/acre but turn it into forestry classed land with the grants gone into Agriforestry and its only worth 2-3k/acre at best if you can get someone to take it.

    Where is marginal land making 7-8K/acre?


  • Registered Users Posts: 479 ✭✭PoorFarmer


    tanko wrote: »
    Where is marginal land making 7-8K/acre?

    I'd have plenty to sell at that price


  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,559 Mod ✭✭✭✭blue5000


    I wonder is there a change in policy on the way? There is some fookup about entitlements on newly planted land going on at present too, maybe try Johnstown castle to find out exactly what is going on.

    If the seat's wet, sit on yer hat, a cool head is better than a wet ar5e.



  • Registered Users Posts: 130 ✭✭Thegingerbear


    Teagasc got back to me and said they will advise in the coming days as they weren't sure what happens after the 5 yrs is up.


  • Registered Users Posts: 772 ✭✭✭Cattlepen


    Anyone thinking of Agro forestry should hold off. The scheme as it stands is hardly fit for purpose but there are some great men in the dept of ag trying to push for a much improved scheme. We’ll have to wait and see. They have to get EU agreement on their proposals.
    IMO, the grants should be as long as commercial forestry. Also having to put land into forestry for ever and eternity will not appeal to an older demographic farmers. If it was mandatory for e.g 45 years it puts a time limit on it which people might get their head around and after that the chances of the next generation clearing the forest to put back in agriculture are very slim. Each tree would have sequestered 1 tonne of carbon and the environment would be improved. Let the next crowd deal with the problems at hand at that time then


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    Cattlepen wrote: »
    Anyone thinking of Agro forestry should hold off. The scheme as it stands is hardly fit for purpose but there are some great men in the dept of ag trying to push for a much improved scheme. We’ll have to wait and see. They have to get EU agreement on their proposals.
    IMO, the grants should be as long as commercial forestry. Also having to put land into forestry for ever and eternity will not appeal to an older demographic farmers. If it was mandatory for e.g 45 years it puts a time limit on it which people might get their head around and after that the chances of the next generation clearing the forest to put back in agriculture are very slim. Each tree would have sequestered 1 tonne of carbon and the environment would be improved. Let the next crowd deal with the problems at hand at that time then

    Do you mean hold off for changes in the agro-forestry scheme or just don't bother with it atm?


  • Registered Users Posts: 772 ✭✭✭Cattlepen


    Hi. I mean hold off for the moment. I think if it’s done right it will be win win for everyone


  • Registered Users Posts: 363 ✭✭Tig98


    Cattlepen wrote: »
    Hi. I mean hold off for the moment. I think if it’s done right it will be win win for everyone

    True

    I was talking to a Teagasc rep, enquiring about general biodiversity, what schemes were going as Ive to plant a few hedgerows anyway. She said to hold off until next year, the greens were going to bring in a lot of biodiversity grants/schemes but with covid none of it happened. Next year maybe


  • Registered Users Posts: 87 ✭✭Fluppen


    I've thought about agro forestry a few times but the fact that the payment is for 5 years and I wouldn't be allowed to put my horses in for the first six really put me off.
    I'm holding off as advised to see what comes down the road, I really think the trees would be a great long term improvement in some of the fields though.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    Fluppen wrote: »
    I've thought about agro forestry a few times but the fact that the payment is for 5 years and I wouldn't be allowed to put my horses in for the first six really put me off.
    I'm holding off as advised to see what comes down the road, I really think the trees would be a great long term improvement in some of the fields though.

    The thing is that with proper stock management and the use of protection for young trees - there's no reason to exclude animals for the first six years ar all. If anything the spread of aggressive weed species and young trees being out competed by rampant growth would be hugely detrimental. Someone in charge needs to look at that again I think.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,991 ✭✭✭✭Water John


    Very interesting talk by Dr. Jim McAdams at the Soil Biological Conference two weeks ago. He is now retired from the farm advisory body in NI. He specialised in silviculture. Agroforestry a real option if it's done correctly.
    He really is the expert on it.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,131 ✭✭✭Dinzee Conlee


    gozunda wrote: »
    The thing is that with proper stock management and the use of protection for young trees - there's no reason to exclude animals for the first six years ar all. If anything the spread of aggressive weed species and young trees being out competed by rampant growth would be hugely detrimental. Someone in charge needs to look at that again I think.

    Would you need to keep the fence very far out to stop horses from going at the young trees?

    I was seriously looking at agroforestry - but ye would advise me to hold off?


  • Registered Users Posts: 772 ✭✭✭Cattlepen


    Horses would make a mess of it. Sorry to be bring you the bad news. I have 13.5 acre of agroforestry and I know if my horse got into it for a few days it would be destroyed. Sheep or poultry for the first few years and even at that you would be busy stopping the sheep vandalising it


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    Would you need to keep the fence very far out to stop horses from going at the young trees?

    I was seriously looking at agroforestry - but ye would advise me to hold off?

    You see it with trees planted on estates and the big horse places around the country. An area around each tree is fenced off and stock allowed to graze.

    Without grazing over a period of six years rampant weed species are going to have a huge advantage.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,131 ✭✭✭Dinzee Conlee


    gozunda wrote: »
    You see it with trees planted on estates and the big horse places around the country. An area around each tree is fenced off and stock allowed to graze.

    Without grazing over a period of six years rampant weed species are going to have a huge advantage.

    Oh, I see those all right - jesus, you’d have some job putting that around each tree...
    I don’t know if you’d be able to get the benefits of the trees if you had such a space around them either - I have it in my head that there is an optimum density. I don’t know would it be hard to do that with such a big space around each tree?

    You can graze with sheep straight away as far as I know - you still need some sort of protection but it wouldn’t need to be as big...


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    Oh, I see those all right - jesus, you’d have some job putting that around each tree...
    I don’t know if you’d be able to get the benefits of the trees if you had such a space around them either - I have it in my head that there is an optimum density. I don’t know would it be hard to do that with such a big space around each tree?

    You can graze with sheep straight away as far as I know - you still need some sort of protection but it wouldn’t need to be as big...

    Ah that's just the idea. They'd be the posh versions. Easy to make smaller diy versions for young trees.

    This is it in practice in the US.

    https://www.aftaweb.org/140-2019-vol-25/volume-25-number-1/250-establishing-and-protecting-trees-in-pastures.html


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,991 ✭✭✭✭Water John


    Agro forestry would be really looking at mixing trees and grassland, that looks like the future, once the trap of the land being designated forestry by Dept is removed.
    A crop of fruit or nuts would be an annual bonus. Shropshire sheep don't eat bark but are difficult to source, I think.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,131 ✭✭✭Dinzee Conlee


    Water John wrote: »
    Agro forestry would be really looking at mixing trees and grassland, that looks like the future, once the trap of the land being designated forestry by Dept is removed.
    A crop of fruit or nuts would be an annual bonus. Shropshire sheep don't eat bark but are difficult to source, I think.

    Are Shropshire sheep the next deer/alpaca/ostrich farming fad to get into? :)


  • Registered Users Posts: 18,996 ✭✭✭✭gozunda


    Are Shropshire sheep the next deer/alpaca/ostrich farming fad to get into? :)

    Maybe the greens will pay landowners to keep antelope for the wolves to snack on?


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  • Registered Users Posts: 20,991 ✭✭✭✭Water John


    Rewilding is certainly not the answer, whatever the question was.


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