An event which aims to blow away the mystique surrounding forestry management and harvesting will take place next month at Little Clyde, Elvanfoot.

Organised by the team behind AgriScot and with the support of Forestry Journal, a sister publication of The Scottish Farmer, the event will be the largest of its kind in 2019 and should be a must-attend for farmers and land managers with forestry interests. The industry is estimated to be worth at least £1bn annually to the Scottish economy.

Martin Dare, event organiser for the inaugural, Forestry Expo Scotland and also for AgriScot, explains why he thinks this new event will have a special appeal for farmers: “There seems to be a bit of a mystique around forestry amongst the farming community.

“Recent years have seen a huge upsurge in interest, from farmers and land managers, looking to harvest existing stands of timber, establish new woodland or simply better manage what they already have. Professional advisors have been quick to offer support and guidance to the farming community to help identify forestry solutions,” pointed out Mr Dare.

“However, in some ways, especially when it comes to harvesting, timber is essentially just another farm crop. Whilst there is obviously a requirement for specialist machinery and operators, there is no real mystique around the process of engaging a reputable contractor for the job in the same way as one would engage a contractor for any other harvesting operation – from silage to cereals to wool!

“Essentially, I believe that the harvesting demonstrations at Forestry Expo – staged by big names in the sector such as John Deere, Komatsu, Ponsse and Tigercat – will give farmers and land managers who are unfamiliar with the harvesting processes, a better understanding of what is involved and therefore what could be required in their own situations.

"This sort of knowledge could be invaluable and empower farmers to make more of their own decisions regarding harvesting their timber crops or managing plantations and woodland.

“Of course, there is always a place for good business advice, and we are delighted that respected advisors, Davidson and Robertson, will have a trade stand and that the renowned firm, Fountains Forestry, are supporting our event and will have a major presence.”

Fountains Forestry UK currently manages approximately 40,000 ha (100,000 acres) of forestry across Britain, from Caithness to Cornwall. Its team of professional forest managers work closely with forest and woodland owners – including farmers – to help them achieve their investment objectives, and the sustainability of their woodlands, through sound forest management advice and best practice in silvicultural and operating procedures.

Douglas Murray, director for Scotland and North England with Fountains Forestry, commented: “Myself and my Fountains Forestry colleagues look forward to meeting farmers and other landowners and land managers at Forestry Expo Scotland.”

“We aim to offer anyone with an interest in establishing, managing or harvesting woodland a one-stop shop for advice, professional services and contractor services for everything from planning of new woodlands to marketing a crop of timber.

“We are delighted to be involved with Forestry Expo Scotland as we believe this event will give land managers a unique insight into the timber harvesting process and opportunities to discuss management and harvesting options with those in the know,” he said.

Described as a unique event, visitors will have the opportunity to view the latest in timber harvesting technology working at full capacity across the event duration. It is anticipated more than 10,000 cubic metres will be harvested during the event.

The where and when:

Forestry Expo Scotland will take place across two days – Thursday, August 22 and Friday, August 23. It will be held at Little Clyde, Elvanfoot, Biggar, South Lanarkshire ML12 6RL, which is farmed by the Wight family, of Midlock, and in adjoining forestry.

Key sponsors: John Deere, Komatsu, Ponsse, Clark Engineering, Fountains Forestry, Tigercat and Iggesund.

Tickets: Tickets for the event are on sale now and further information is available from the website

Parking: Car parking is free of charge.

Dogs: No dogs, other than assistance dogs, will be admitted to Forestry Expo.


The harvesting site:

Forestry Expo's harvesting site is the Upper Howcleuch North Forest, which is a privately owned forest of some 358ha.

Managed by Fountains Forestry UK, on behalf of a private investment client, it has been in single ownership since establishment in the early 1970s and has a primary objective for the production of commercial conifer timber supplying the sawlog, chip and biomass markets.

The forest is managed under an approved Long Term Forest Plan, with the current felling works forming part of phase 2 of the operational plan.

The forest is compliant to UKWAS standards and certified as part of Fountain Forestry’s resource management group, with all restructuring in line with UK Forest Standard.

The restructuring of the current harvesting site will incorporate secondary conifer, broadleaves adjacent to the riparian zones and additional open ground, to promote resilience, and improve bio-diversity.