Timber harvesting and forest management company Agriforest has weathered the Covid-19 storm and is now back working 'seven days a week'.

Company founder Douglas Mathison told The Scottish Farmer how the pandemic initially impacted on the business, and how it was now responding.

“Due to many sawmills being shut we did have to close down a number of sites, and some of our planting sites were postponed, although this was luckily not for long," he recalled.

Read more: Taking 125,000 tonnes of timber off Loch Lomondside

But like many small business’ during the past year, financial worries were an ongoing concern: “Cashflow was the main issue – people still need to be paid and contractors need to be settled for work they’ve done.”

Since the pandemic, Douglas has resumed work on previously postponed sites and taken on more projects across Fife, Perthshire, the Scottish Borders and South Lanarkshire, and made Agriforest operational round the clock to deal with this new demand: “We are working seven days a week and still can’t get ahead of things, not that I’m complaining.”

Agriforest has invested heavily to deal with this increased demand: “We have just purchased a brand-new timber harvester, and a second-hand forwarder which is just shy of £500k investment in the company.”

Read more: Agriforestry at work

To drive these new machines, Douglas has hired two new staff members: “Both have been trained from scratch on the machines. Although they are new to machine work, they have a combined total of 37 years’ worth of experience elsewhere in forestry. Taking into account the new staff and machines, we will now have more control over work standards, production, timescales and overall wellbeing of the business.”

To date, Agriforest have harvested, hauled, and marketed over 100,000 tonnes of timber from mature farm and estate shelter belts. To find out more about them, visit their website at www.agriforest.co.uk.