Proof that forestry is gaining in importance – not just in its own right but in the spin-off benefits the sector brings to those engaged in it – is something that is becoming more evident across the board.

Viewed in the abstract, forestry has become ‘big business’, spurred on by climate pressures and government policy. What was once viewed as a nice little earner for those with a bit of poor land, or those last-of-line family members inheriting land they wanted to keep but who don’t have the knowledge or time to farm, has now become a focus for investment driven by ‘big plans, big targets and big opportunities’ across the board.

As one forestry insider puts it: “when one considers the position forestry holds in North America, Scandinavia and elsewhere across the globe, and the favourable conditions that exist in Ireland, one wonders why it has been allowed tick along for so long”.

McHale Plant Sales director, Denis McGrath (centre) and Komatsu Forest area sales managers Eamonn Scanlan and Pat Egan, pictured at the new, state-of-the-art Komatsu Forest factory in Umea, Sweden. Joining them at the event were dealers from across Europe who undertook product training in Komatsu Forest’s latest range of forwarders and harvesters.


One sector that is wide awake to the changes now taking place is forestry equipment distributor, McHale Plant Sales.  By some comparisons a relative newcomer to the sector, their appointment as distributors of Komatsu Forest equipment has led to increasing sales of their distinctive timber harvesters and forwarders.

Helped in no small measure by the boost in forestry activity – and by an increasing willingness by contractors to invest in upgrading their equipment – recent activity has seen their 901/ 931XC harvester models and 845 / 855 forwarders added to contractor fleets. Names known to have invested in their equipment inventory include Cuddy Timber, Willie O’Dwyer, Tony Codd, Foley Timber, Pat Doyle, Camross, McKelvey Harvesting and Pat Neville.

Backing this drive by McHale has been the expansion of its forestry team in sales, parts and after sales service. Fronting their 32-counties sales drive are well-known forestry professionals Pat Egan and Eamonn Scanlon with additional appointments in service and parts roles.

Commenting, their sales director, Denis McGrath spoke favourably of ‘the welcome that has been shown towards Komatsu and McHale since our entry to the sector some years ago’. Looking ahead to the support forestry contractors can expect, McGrath pointed to their recent appointment as distributors of Canadian-made Prinoth equipment in the form of a tracked, all-terrain dump truck and in their ‘Raptor’ mulcher, both of which McGrath said: “will appeal to contractors focused on expansion and extending their service offering”.

On a separate front, McGrath pointed also to the setting up by McHale of their online auction site. With its global reach, McGrath added “contractors and equipment owners now have access to a ‘world-wide showroom’ for the disposal of quality used equipment that still has a useful life to lead under new ownership”.