14 December 1998
Irish farmers look to trees

IRISH farmers are forsaking sheep and cattle to grow a much more lucrative crop – Noble firs or Christmas trees.

The Times reports that thousands of acres of Ireland, in Wicklow, Carlow and Kilkenny, are now used for cultivating what is more commonly seen in Scandinavia and the Pacific North West of the United States.

The tree is difficult to grow in most parts of Britain and the Continent where it can be killed off by frost. But Ireland has the right climate.

One advantage Irish farmers also have is that income from trees is tax-free, to encourage farmers and investors to replenish Irish forests.

Ireland currently produces around 10m trees. Britain and Germany currently buy about 30 million trees annually.

  • The Times 14/12/98 page 8