PJK Forestry Ltd is a newly-established forestry contractor which carries out first and second thinnings on small holdings. It was formed in Ardee, Co. Louth last July by Pat Kelly and his wife Sinead.
A fourth-generation ‘timber man’, Pat juggles his new business with working in his father Seamus’ tree surgery company, AMS Tree Services. It has been a case of ‘so far, so good’ for the new venture which provides a nationwide service and is specifically targeting farmers and private landowners with forest / wood plots of between five and 10 acres.
“Small blocks are what we’re after,” says Pat, who is committed to providing a professional, clean and value-for-money service.
“I’ve always had a serious interest in forestry, but wasn’t exposed to it as much as I would have liked through the tree surgery business. It’s still very days for PJK Forestry and as the old saying goes, ‘Rome wasn’t built in a day’, but the feedback has been very positive and we’ve already carried out a fair bit of work for members of the North-East Forestry Group.
“We did ash thinnings for Group members using chainsaws and a digger with shears. We do good work and keep the sites clean and tidy. We promise to do our best and to go the extra mile for our customers if needs be. We’re targeting a different end of the market to the big contractors and therefore aren’t in competition with them.
“Unlike the big contractors, we don’t have major overheads and can wait for the right job to come along. We can pick and choose to a certain extent.”
PJK (Patrick James Kelly) Forestry has received tremendous support from the North-East Forestry Group which was formed with the support of Teagasc in May 2013 and is chaired by John Sherlock from Navan. It is open to forest owners in Cavan, Louth, Meath and Monaghan. Currently, there are 37,360 hectares with 930 forest owners in the four counties. The county breakdown is as follows: 16,830 hectares in Cavan with 462 forest owners; 2,430 hectares in Louth with 45 forest owners; 12,500 hectares in Meath with 259 forest owners; 5,600 hectares in Monaghan with 164 forest owners.
The aim of the Group is to bring together forest owners who are interested in maximising their forest’s potential return, and with the help of Teagasc, there can be a number of benefits such as: gathering clusters of similar aged plantations, to get economies of scale in harvesting and seller of timber; running various courses (e.g. chainsaw and first aid); forest producers can pool knowledge of contractors and thinning procedures to achieve best return from their forests.
The North-East Forestry Group welcomes all sizes and categories of forest and forest owners, from the novice to the experienced. It is one of the only private owner groups in Ireland to achieve FSC Certification and ran a very successful Knowledge Transfer Group (KTG) in 2018, where forest owners were paid to attend various workshops and field days to expand their knowledge and learn best practices in managing their forest.
PJK Forestry has an array of machinery and equipment to carry out your first and second thinnings, including a Timberjack 870 harvester, a Valmet 820 forwarder, a JCB 8080 with three detachable shears, a Timbermaster Skyline, TP Mobile Wood Chippers and a Wood-Mizer LT40 Mobile Sawmill.
As already mentioned, Pat continues to work in the family business, AMS Tree Services, which is a leading tree surgeon / arborist whose regular clients include the OPW (Office of Public Works), Louth County Council and Fingal County Council.
“I’ve been working with my father in AMS for the past 27 years,” he explains.
Timber has been in the family’s blood since the time of Pat’s great-grandfather James Kelly. His grandfather Paddy Kelly, who was originally from Rhode in Co. Offaly and won an All-Ireland minor football championship medal with Louth in 1940, ran a sawmill along with Ray Mooney in Ardee for many years before Seamus and then Pat followed him into the business.
Pat is relishing the challenge of getting his new business off the ground and welcomes queries from anyone with small forest / wood holdings anywhere in Ireland.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank those who have supported me so far and I look forward to meeting and working for new clients with small acreage and well-maintained holdings in the near future,” the affable Ardee man concludes.
PJK Forestry Ltd
Sean O’Carroll Street,
Telephone: 087 6748959
Email: [email protected]
First published in Irish Tractor & Agri magazine Vol 9 No 2, March/April 2021