A new study shows more land was planted to forestry in Mayo last year than in four of the country's leading dairy counties combined.

531 hectares of land in Mayo were planted by private concerns in 2017 - while the total for Waterford, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Limerick was just 515 hectares.

Leitrim had the largest amount of land planted to forestry last year, followed by Mayo, Clare and Roscommon.

The figures for private planting were outlined in the Dáil this week by Agriculture Minister Michael Creed, which shows the unbalanced nature of private planting in Ireland, with most activity concentrated in the west and north midlands.

The Irish Natura & Hill Farmers Association has opposed the level of planting in the west.

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