Kilkenny Leader Partnership (KLP) along with the Kilkenny Forestry Producer Group, Teagasc and Carlow Kilkenny Energy Agency, including support from the Regional BioEnergy Business Development (RBBD) project ( organised another successful thinning demonstration on Wednesday 9th March in Dunnamaggin in County Kilkenny.

There were over 40 forestry owners from around the county in attendance at the event. The day consisted of a short talk by Frances McHugh of Teagasc on the benefits of thinning a forest followed by a live demonstration by the harvesting contractors. There were plenty of questions by enthusiastic forestry owners on the day.

The site was planted in 1993 and consists of two lots with a total area of 44 hectares. The forestry mix is approximately half Sika Spruce and half Norway Spruce, with some Douglas Fir and broadleaves mixed throughout.  The owners of the plantation had an inventory carried out by forester Karl Maguire in 2009 which was funded under a Kilkenny Leader Partnership initiative. Karl carried out inventories of 20 forestry plantation around the county and advised owners accordingly.   The owners were advised through the inventory that the forestry plantation was ready to be thinned in 2 / 3 years.

The site has good access and a good forestry road. Local harvesting contractors were recruited to thin the plantation.  A substantial amount of the wood coming from the plantation is pulp wood which can be used in the wood energy market.

Through the work of KLP and Teagasc links have been made between forestry owners and Callan Renewable Energy Supply Company (CRESCO) who have a demand for forestry thinnings to produce high quality woodchip for a number of boilers around the county. In total 600 tonnes of wood from the planation will go to CRESCO.

CRESCO are now supplying woodchip to Callan Community Network (200kW boiler), Camphill Kyle (220kW boiler), Camphill Callan (220kW boiler) and Camphill Jerpoint (150kW boiler). They have expanded their market base this year with two new boilers (150kW and 80kW) in Camphill Grangemockler now requiring woodchip.  They are looking at establishing links with forestry owners to meet demand.

This is great to see, local forestry owners, harvesters and an energy supply company working together to keep the profits local and create employment.

Jane Wickham Renewable Energy Advisor