FARMERS interested in forestry are being invited to attend two free Farm Advisory Service events in Dumfries and Galloway in January.

Capenoch Estate, which is owned by a partnership of Robert Gladstone and his son, John, will host the first of these on Thursday January 17. With more than half of its 833-hectares devoted to forestry, the estate has a regular timber harvesting programme, with Mr Gladstone planting around 17ha of enclosed land this winter, while at the same time improving the land remaining in agriculture, to maintain stocking numbers.

This 'Sapling to Sawmill' event will provide an insight into the importance of good design and establishment techniques for timber crops, as well as looking at the factors which can influence prices at harvesting.

The Farm Advisory Service's second forestry event will be held on Tuesday January 22 at Townhead Sawmill, New Abbey, operated by James Kingan and Sons. David Kingan will lead a tour of the sawmill, which supplies a wide range of fencing timber, timber for farm buildings and pallet wood, and can also cut to order.

This event will show how a range of timber products can be cut from a tree and their value. Participants will be able to see first-hand what a major, local, timber buyer – particularly from farms and estates – is looking for in terms of quality.

Woodland Consultant at SAC Consulting and organiser of the events, Stephen Adlard, said: “These 'Sapling to Sawmill' events will provide farmers and estate owners an excellent insight into the entire timber process. It will also provide an opportunity for farmers to look at the potential of forestry as a diversification option.”

Places at both events are free but must be booked in advance via the FAS website or by phoning the SAC Consulting Dumfries office on 01387 261 172.