Friday Offcuts – 21 October 2016

growing trees cutting and milling timber forest products

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Last week we covered a range of initiatives being undertaken in Australia to boost timber use with industry now working directly alongside development, design and construction professionals on timber building systems. Housing shortages in New Zealand have also spurred one kiwi prefabrication company into action. It’s already proven itself in the Canterbury rebuild since setting up in 2014 and it’s now looking to set up a similar factory in Auckland. In Adelaide, the first large scale CLT prefabricated apartment building (AU$27 million) is also now under construction. While it’s set to become the first timber apartment building in the State, it’s also the second CLT multi-level apartment building to be constructed in Australia. Details on both stories are contained below.

In the forestry technology space this week we’ve included several articles on the mechanisation of a manual job that’s been with the industry for decades, tree planting. In this part of the world, hand or manual planting is the norm – largely because of the economics and the more difficult terrain that’s often encountered. In Scandinavian countries, mechanised tree planting machines are increasingly being rolled out by the industry.

From as early as 1970, a Finnish engineer came up with a tree planting machine called the “Pottiputki” that boosted planting rates over manual tree planting. Over the last twenty years or so, several mechanised systems have been trialled using planting devices that have been mounted on excavators. In Canada, a couple of engineering students (maybe we put this one down to being experimental at this stage) have also been working away on mechanised tree planting, the objective being to develop a commercially viable, autonomous or remote-controlled tree planting robot. Videos of the Scandinavian and the Canadian tree planting systems have been included in this week’s issue for your viewing.

In North America last week, outside the circus around the US presidential debate, the legal safety net was also removed from the Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement. It will for a number of reasons be of interest to the timber industry in this region. As we’ve reported in previous issues, the trade pact had actually run past its due date more than a year ago. They’d set up though a one-year provisional roll over of the deal along with an additional standstill period during which no legal action could be taken by either side.

That deadline passed on Wednesday last week. Like the presidential campaign, the stakes on this one are high. The dispute covers about $6 billion in annual exports of Canadian softwood lumber into the US. As reported, under the last dispute which ended in 2006, the US slapped an average 27-per-cent tariff on Canadian softwood and collected US$5.3-billion over the length of the battle. Unlike the election which thankfully is due to finally come to a conclusion in just over two weeks’ time, this major and costly lumber dispute is likely to be drawn out for many months or even years into the future.

That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Forest benefits singled out in Climate Change report

We need to work together on climate change and farming, says Environment Commissioner. New Zealanders must work together and start tackling the complex problem of the biological greenhouse gases from agriculture, says Dr Jan Wright, Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

The Commissioner on Wednesday released a new report on the issue of agricultural greenhouse gases – methane and nitrous oxide – which form about half of New Zealand’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“In Paris last year the world committed to limiting global warming,” said Dr Wright. “If we are to succeed, the next few decades will be crucial. It’s time to join forces and make some progress.” Over more than a decade, there have been a number of false starts in dealing with agricultural greenhouse gases, and much controversy over their continuing omission from the Emissions Trading Scheme.

“The debate around agricultural emissions and the ETS has been polarised for too long,” said the Commissioner. “But the ETS is not the only way forward – there are other things that can be done.” Dr Wright says reducing biological emissions will not be easy, but a common understanding of the science is a good place to start.

“In a way, my report is a reality check,” she said. “There are no silver bullets here, but we need to do what we can to curb these emissions – and we need to start now.”

Immediate opportunities for reducing New Zealand’s emissions lie in new native and plantation forests, and the Commissioner wants to see real progress in this area. “It might not be the whole solution, but a million hectares of trees would make a big difference – not to mention the added benefits for erosion and water quality.”

The Government has recently set up working groups to look at these issues, and Dr Wright says this is encouraging. But she warns that change is now inevitable.

The Commissioner’s report Climate Change and Agriculture: Understanding the biological greenhouse gases is available here. A set of frequently asked questions can be found here.

Source: Scoop

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Forest Industry Safety Council honours Helen Kelly

The Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) was saddened to hear of the passing of Helen Kelly last week, former NZCTU President and passionate advocate for health and safety at work in New Zealand.

"Helen was instrumental in driving reforms of health and safety in the forest industry over the past 3-4 years," says FISC National Safety Director Fiona Ewing.

"Through our Council we will continue to work with forest owners, contractors, unions and forest workers to strongly support her goal of improving health and safety in forestry – particularly worker engagement and participation."

"Helen was a catalyst for change who motivated the forestry industry to work together to make our industry safer and more professional," says PJ & MJ Olsen Managing Director Paul Olsen, who represents forestry contractors on the Council.

"She worked alongside forest owners to implement an independent review of health and safety in forestry, and FISC is one of the positives to come out of that, says Paul Burridge from Summit Forests NZ, who represents forest owners on the Council.

"Helen’s hard work, and her commitment to fairness and justice, had a significant impact on the lives of people working in forestry. We are a better country for her achievements,” says Robert Reid, First Union General Secretary, who represent unions on the Council.

Helen Kelly will be farewelled in a public celebration of her life in Wellington next Friday, on 28 October. A private family funeral will be held afterwards.

The Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) was set up in 2015 and was a recommendation of the Independent Forestry Safety Review. The Council includes representatives of NZ forest owners, contractors, workers and unions. It has a mandate to lead and coordinate efforts to improve health and safety across the plantation forestry sector. It runs the website.

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HarvestTECH 2017 – Early Expressions of Interest

HarvestTECH 2017 – 20-21 June 2017. Mark the dates into your diary. The first inaugural harvesting event for local forestry contractors ran two years ago, June 2015. The event SOLD OUT! Well over 400 attended the event in Rotorua, New Zealand. It was in fact the largest gathering of forestry managers, forest owners, harvest planners and harvesting contractors in one place at one time. In addition to New Zealand contractors, a very strong contingent of North American and Australian contractors rolled up to Rotorua for the event.

For the many of you who attended, you’ll remember the focus for the 2015 event was on innovations around steep slope harvesting. With the huge amount of interest generated from the North American forestry companies and contractors in Rotorua in 2015, steep slope logging was expanded and run for loggers in the Pacific North West in Vancouver, Canada in March of this year. It’s also being run for North American loggers in Kelso, Washington, USA on 20 April 2017. Further details on the second international event on steep slope logging can be found here.

Two years on, logging steeper terrain will again be covered in Rotorua on 20-21 June 2017. A lot has been done in this space by local engineers and contractors in the last two years. The HarvestTECH 2017 programme though will be expanded to cover; new technologies and operating practices in small wood lot harvesting, harvest planning, advances in the mechanisation and automation of harvesting operations, issues around attracting the right people into the industry and those attending will get an insight into some truly innovative harvesting operations – from the air and from deep under water.

The practical use of data collected from harvesting operations, improving data exchange and communications in more remote locations, eliminating log sorts and landing sizes and international developments in new harvesting equipment are also going to be built into HarvestTECH 2017. It’s anticipated that site tours and field visits could also this time be built into next year’s programme. Watch this space for further updates.

With already a huge amount of interest to those we have spoken to already in this mid-2017 event, we’re looking for early expressions of interest from contractors, researchers and equipment suppliers who may be interested in presenting at this major event. In 2015 we essentially ran out of room within the allocated time to take all of those wishing to participate.

If interested in presenting, please get back to before Friday 4 November.

Information relating to exhibiting and sponsoring HarvestTECH 2017 will follow in the next month or so.

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More trees to meet agriculture’s greenhouse gas emissions

The Forest Owners Association is backing the NZ Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment’s call for more plantation forests to be planted in New Zealand to offset greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture.

The Chair of the joint Forest Owners Association and Farm Forestry Associations’ Environment Committee Peter Weir says the Commissioner has highlighted the role trees, both native and in exotic plantations, can play in reducing New Zealand’s total gas emissions.

“Dr Wright’s information is timely. Tree planting by farmers and small scale forest investors has declined in the past few years, not risen, and our log processing industry needs the extra tree planting that Dr Wright is calling for,” Peter Weir says.

The PCE Report sums estimate 26 hectares of new plantation forest every 20 years would offset a year’s greenhouse gas emissions of an average 300 cow dairy farm. “Again, that is one important positive for more trees. The other is that planting trees, especially on rolling hill country, is better than cost neutral for a farmer. Returns on harvesting logs are, over the long term, higher than hill country farming with sheep and cattle.”

Peter Weir emphasises that forest owners are not anticipating planting on marginal land classed as highly erodible. “We anticipate the National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forests being introduced early next year. That will raise a red flag on a large area of North Island hill country farms for plantation forests because the erosion risk after harvest is judged too high, and reversion to native forest may be a viable option for such land.”

“The scope for woodlots is clearly on farms, bringing in another income stream. Some parts of farms are more suitable for planting out trees than others. Water quality improves when livestock are replaced by trees in the hill country – the Waikato Healthy River’s technical advice calls for another 400,000 ha of forests in that catchment, so there are multiple reasons to see more trees on farms.”

Peter Weir says he has one issue with Dr Wright’s report, which is that tree growing isn’t reliant on technological breakthroughs. “Our industry is putting a lot of effort, science and technology into improving our standard Pinus radiata. As a result, the amount of carbon locked up by the average stand of trees planted in Kaiangaroa Forest today will be 30 percent greater than in stands planted there forty years ago. Looking forward, gene editing technology may double productivity and hence carbon sequestration rates within a decade.”

Source: Forest Owners Association

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Woodchopping champions a chip off the old block

A family of Woodchopping champions from regional Victoria took home an impressive 23 ribbons at this year’s Royal Melbourne Show. For almost 70 years now, the Meyers have been competing and making a name for themselves in woodchopping events all around Australia and the world. This year saw Brayden Meyer, fourth generation woodchopper, take home the STIHL Timbersports Champions Trophy in Austria and a number of world titles at shows around Australia.

The family tradition began in 1948 when Les Meyer first competed at the Royal Melbourne Show in the woodchopping event. Les passed on his skill and passion for woodchopping to his sons, grandsons and great grandsons and this year saw an impressive seven Meyers travelling from Romsey and Broadford to compete at the Show.

Romsey local Brad Meyer, Les Meyer’s grandson and contractor for VicForests said that wood-chopping has become a proud family tradition. “When I was younger I saw woodchopping as a way that I could really bond with my dad and I grew to love the sport. I think my boys now see it the same way.

“My brother Rod and I have been competing in events for 30 to 35years. My sons Blake and Kyle and nephews Brayden and Luke have been competing for around eight to ten years,” Brad said. But it is not just the men who compete in wood-chopping competitions. It is also a sport that is increasingly attracting more and more women to compete.

“This year my sister-in-law Janet competed in the inaugural womens cross-cut sawing at the Melbourne Show,” Brad said. “There were many women’s events this year and it was great to see so many talented women showing off their skills at such an important event for the sport. “I think the most noteworthy win for this year’s show was when Kyle won overall handicap axemen of the show” he said.

In addition to his passion for wood-chopping, Brad has also been working in the timber industry for almost 30 years now and currently contracts for VicForests along with his two sons. Nathan Trushell, VicForests General Manager Planning said that VicForests places a lot of importance on supporting the local communities they work in throughout Victoria.

“Our staff and contractors are members of many local communities throughout Victoria, Mr Trushell said. “Forestry is a vibrant and essential component to many of these communities and there is a great sense of pride among these timber communities. Many timber industry workers, like the Meyers, are the fourth, fifth or sixth generation of forestry industry workers in their family.”

“By supporting regional events such as wood-chops and regional shows, we are not only supporting the local community but also our own employees. “We congratulate Brad and his family in their success at this year’s show and wish them all the best with any future wood-chops,” he said. Brad and his sons also supplied and trimmed all 1,400 logs and 40 tree poles used for the wood-chop events at the Royal Melbourne Show this year.

Image (from left to right): Brayden Meyer, Brad Meyer, Blake Meyer, Kyle Meyer, Janet Meyer, Rod Meyer, Luke Meyer.

Source: VicForests

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Canadian’s brace for US Softwood duties

Hefty U.S. duties could be slapped on Canadian timber exports to the United States by early 2017 after a one-year standstill period expired last Wednesday in the long-running softwood lumber dispute between Canada and its biggest trading partner. Last week marked 12 months since a nine-year truce in the perpetual Canada-U.S. softwood conflict ended – with the federal government and the U.S. administration unable to clinch a successor pact despite months of negotiations.

This failure to agree probably means a costly and frustrating new season ahead for Canadian timber companies, which can expect to pay hundreds of millions of dollars to the U.S. government in order to keep shipping their product south of the Canadian-U.S. border.

The U.S. lumber lobby behind the dispute with Canada – it alleges provinces subsidize companies through below-market stumpage rates – now says it has “no choice” but to launch a trade challenge with the American government. Under the U.S. system, preliminary duties can be levied on Canadian softwood imports into the United States six months after an unfair trading case is commenced with the Department of Commerce, and tariffs stay in place while American bureaucrats investigate the allegations. They can also be retroactively applied for up to 90 days. Under the last dispute, which ended in 2006, the United States slapped an average 27-per-cent tariff on Canadian softwood and collected $5.3-billion (U.S.) over the length of the battle. The dispute centres on how much Canadian softwood the U.S. Lumber Coalition is willing to allow into the United States. Canadian officials privately say the price of the truce that the Americans are offering is too high.

The U.S. proposal for a deal to manage the softwood-lumber trade envisions a level of exports that is still far below what Canada would accept. The dispute covers about $6-billion in annual exports.

As recently as June, U.S. timber interests were demanding that Canada agree to limit softwood-lumber shipments such that the Canadian share of U.S. lumber consumption is capped at 25 per cent. That is lower than Canada’s 2015 market share of 30 per cent and well below the 33-per-cent level reached before the two countries signed their last managed trade deal in 2006.

Sources familiar with the negotiations say the Canadians favour a similar arrangement to the last softwood-lumber deal, in which an export tax kicked in once lumber prices fell below a certain level. But U.S. lumber interests would prefer a quota system that much more effectively limits Canadian imports instead of an export tax that well-heeled forestry companies could afford to absorb.

Meanwhile, the Canadian and U.S. governments announced that they will keep trying to negotiate a formal truce. Negotiations are expected to continue this week in Washington. “While our engagement has yet to produce a new agreement, our governments will continue negotiations though the standstill period has expired,” Canadian International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman said in a joint statement. The government led by Justin Trudeau, elected last October, promised “real change” in relations with the United States after the Stephen Harper years, but the softwood-lumber fight demonstrates how bonhomie between a prime minister and president is not sufficient to resolve what is perhaps the most enduring business dispute between Canada and the United States.

If this dispute is not resolved, Canada will be forced to file complaints at the World Trade Organization and under the North American free-trade agreement and pursue four or five years of litigation, costing tens of millions each year, to try to force Washington to yield. More >>.

Source: theglobeandmail

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Prefab timber apartments to boost Adelaide housing

Timber-based prefabricated apartments being built in Adelaide could give momentum to the South Australian Government's push for more inner city development, the Housing Industry Association (HIA) says. South Australia's first wooden apartments are being built on King William Street in Kent Town by the Verde venture.

About 620 tonnes of prefabricated cross-laminated timber panels have been imported from Austria and trucked from Port Adelaide to the inner city site. The building technique has been used in Europe for 30 years, but the project is just the second in Australia. Lead builder Andrew Morgan said it could be the start of a new wave of apartment developments. "I don't think we'll see that in Adelaide, but certainly Sydney and Melbourne on the eastern seaboard I think within four or five years."

HIA's Kent Hopkins said the prefabricated building technique could help push forward the State Government's plans for a boost in inner city residential development. "The cost reductions for building, the time reductions in building, the carbon credits it will achieve, it's certainly going to take off," he said.

At least one plant in Albury is planned to start making the softwood product in Australia. However, the HIA does not believe it is feasible to build a plant locally, although the wood could be provided to new factories from South Australian plantations.

Source: ABC News

Further coverage on the development can be found here

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Time to unlock carbon markets for Australian forestry

The Australian Forest Products Association has called for the Australian Government to broaden the ways in which farmers can participate in the Emissions Reduction Fund, and release the draft Carbon Farming Initiative methodology for public comment. Before the Federal Election earlier this year, the Turnbull Government committed to release the CFI methodology for consultation in time for forest industries to participate in the fourth Emissions Reduction Fund auction scheduled for 16 November.

AFPA Chairman Greg McCormack said scientists had completed work on the methodology many months ago, and now was the time to release it. "They have painstakingly done the maths and they say it is beyond doubt that plantations which are grown for 25 years or more will deliver carbon reductions and are valid participants in the ERF reverse auction process," McCormack said. "It is inexplicable to the tens of thousands who work in forestry focused electorates all over Australia that the Government is still sitting on the methodology."

The National Farmers' Federation echoed McCormack's sentiments, and president Brent Finlay said the organisation had long called for the government to release more methods to enable farmers to be part of carbon markets. "We know that the Government has a draft ERF method for commercial timber plantations sitting on the shelf waiting to be finalised," Finlay said.

"The Coalition committed to finalising this, but have failed to deliver on their election promise. The NFF holds dearly to the principle a landholder should be free to make the land use and production decisions that best suits their business - whether its plantation timber, carbon or some other commodity, the choice is one for the individual”.

"It is very disappointing that timber growers have missed the deadline for the November ERF Auction. Growers must be given the opportunity to bid into the first Auction next year, but to do this they need a finalised method." Finlay said the first step in finalising the ERF method would be the release of the draft method for public consultation.

Sources:, AFPA

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Express tree planting in Finland

Recently in Scandinavian countries, it has become very popular to use tree-planting machines. Manual planting is still the most common way, but recent improvements in technology may change this situation dramatically in the coming future. Let’s check out how this practice looks like in Finland.

Forests cover over 75% (23 million hectares) of the entire surface in Finland. There are 4.3 hectares of forest for each Finn, which is over sixteen times more than in European countries on average. This makes Finland a “forest giant” in Europe.

Private citizens own most of Finland’s forests. Private forest owners number more than 400,000. Counting their family members, about one million Finns can be estimated to be forest owners either directly or indirectly. Because of the many forest owners and high technology applied in the forest industry, an average harvested area in Finland is around 1.2 hectares.

Seedling production

In Finland, in 2000 over 60% of forest seed came from special seed orchards. Recently, this rate had dropped to around 15%, and seeds are mostly obtained by collecting cones after trees are harvested or from standing trees. One kilogram of seeds can cost around 800 Euro.

In 2012, seedling production in Finland was around 165 million. Currently, there are around 8 larger companies specializing in seedling production, which own together 25 forest nurseries. These companies supply over 90% of seedlings required for forest regeneration in Finland. The rest, 10% is produced by small, family-owned forest nurseries. There are around 70 of such small forest nurseries presently.

These 25 big forest nurseries produce mostly containerised seedlings. Each of them can produce between five to ten million seedlings per year.

Pottiputki- what’s that?

In Finland, like in many European countries, manual planting is still the most common planting method. However, traditional tools for planting have been replaced by a Finnish invention called Pottiputki. Pottiputki is a tool that was invented in 1970 by the Finnish engineer Tapio Saarenketo. Check it out in action below.

The cost of one Pottiputki is between 200 and 500 Euro, and depends on the tube diameter (more expensive for bigger plants, i.e. oak, beech etc.). During one-hour a forest worker can plant around 150 seedlings, which is impressive compared to the more traditional tools.

Mechanized tree planting

Around 3% of the area in Finland is regenerated by the use of special harvesters, with crane-mounted planting devices. This method has been developed in Finland over last 20 years. Although tree-planting machines produce high-quality regeneration, the costs related to the planting machines’ low productivity are still quite high.

The mechanized tree planting is being used on areas of over one hectare, and its productivity is around 150-160 seedlings per hour. Therefore, it is very comparable with manual planting. Unfortunately, the costs of using a specialized harvester are around 10% higher, compared to manual methods.

One of the main advantages, often mentioned, is that the harvester driver can precisely select the planting spot, because he sees more than planters on the ground. Nevertheless, the harvester operator training (up to 3 years) probably generates the highest cost in such regeneration. Here, you can watch a movie, how mechanized planting looks in practice.

Quite recently, scientists from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) examined one promising way of raising productivity of tree planting machines by reducing the time spent on manual reloading of seedlings onto the carousels of crane-mounted planting devices.

Scientists together with engineering students invented MagMat, a carousel test-rig installed on the Bracke Planter (the one showed in the previous movie), and compared its productivity with other seedling-wise-loaded carousels.

The results showed that seedling reloading was on average twice as fast with MagMat compared to today’s seedling carousel, thereby increasing the planting machine productivity by almost 10%. It was concluded that MagMat’s cost-efficiency was particularly reliant on its added investment cost, mechanical availability and how quickly trays can be switched automatically.

You can read the full article here.

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Forestry helps drive large jump in diesel demand

Diesel use in New Zealand’s primary sector has increased in the last five years, and now accounts for over half of the sector’s energy use, Statistics New Zealand said this week. The fishing and forestry industries were the main drivers of the increase. In the year ended March 2016, the country’s primary industries used about 630 million litres of diesel – enough fuel for a typical light vehicle to drive around Earth's circumference 193,000 times.

“Increases in diesel use in the primary industries reflect higher levels of production, with economic activity in the agriculture, forestry, and fishing industries rising 34 percent from 2011 to 2016,” business performance senior manager Jason Attewell said. “More than half of primary sector diesel use is in offroad vehicles and mobile machinery, such as bulldozers and tractors.”

Overall, the primary industries sector is using 26 percent more diesel than five years ago. This sector includes farming, fishing, forestry, and mining, but excludes dairy and meat processing. The main drivers of the increase in diesel use were the fishing industry (up 76 percent from 2011), which uses diesel for marine vessel fuel, and forestry (up 42 percent from 2011), which uses diesel mainly for off-road vehicles used in log production.

Diesel use in the forestry and fishing industries reflects increased production, with steady rises in roundwood log exports and volumes of fish caught since 2011. For more information about these statistics visit New Zealand Energy Use: 2016

Source: Scoop

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Forestry tastes success at NZ Food Awards

Recognition at the New Zealand Food Awards for Otago-Southland’s Keewai freshwater crayfish opens up the question of "where to next?" aquaculture manager John Hollows says. Keewai, a brand developed by forestry company ErnslawOne, received the Bite Gourmet award at a function in Auckland last week.

Mr Hollows described it as very unexpected, saying he felt both humbled and surprised. "This award is huge. It opens up a lot of opportunities for us," he said. It was in a very competitive category, which reflected the quality of the product, and the ErnslawOne team had put in much hard work to get the project to where it was today, he said.

ErnslawOne diversified into farming koura using fire ponds in its forests throughout Otago and Southland, as well as creating new ponds, after log prices dropped during the global financial crisis. This spurred the company to look at ways of creating income but it had not been an easy undertaking and had never been done on such a scale before, Mr Hollows said.

Keewai continued to supply the Hilton Queenstown and other opportunities were being looked at for the coming season, including the export market. Demand for the product was huge so it was a matter of where best to send it, Mr Hollows said. He had had some promising initial discussions with some Auckland chefs who were "very keen" on the product.

ErnslawOne was building more ponds, which now numbered about 1800 "or so", he said.

Source: Otago Daily Times

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Tree planting robot from University students

The University of Victoria team behind a prototype automatic tree planting robot have developed a second generation of their TreeRover device, with better digging ability for tough soils. One of the issues with the initial design was how the TreeRover at the time would use a pneumatic air system — with mixed results — to punch a young plant into the soil, with another arm patting down the soil afterwards, according to Iota Technologies co-founder Nick Birch, a UVic engineering student.

His idea would create a commercially viable, autonomous or remote-controlled robot that could go up to hard-to-reach areas. The new design takes advantage of a spinning soil tiller, instead of the punch, that allows the machine to break apart tough soil before placing a plant into the hole. It was the result of a crowdfunding campaign that raised $5,000.

“Last spring, we joined forces with a group of mechanical engineers who were looking for a project for their end of degree final course design class,” Birch said. “We commissioned them, using some of the money from the crowdfunding campaign, to supply hardware materials to redesign the planting mechanism.” Just this past weekend, the group did their first demonstration of the second-generation device at the Demo International 2016 conference in Maple Ridge.

“It added the digging tool and it went with an all-electric system ... the reason for that is it would have more force top soil — we wanted to be able plant in harder pack ground, which is one of the things the first version struggled with,” Birch said.

Birch said next steps include designing a new track system so the device can navigate tough terrain. The final product, he said, will likely be much larger than the prototypes — currently about the size of a lawn mower — to provide stability.

“(We need to) refine the planting process, to deal with challenging ground types and the mobility issue will be another big one. The areas, especially in B.C., we’ve got steep terrain, leftover logs and branches that make it difficult for even humans to get through,” Birch said. For more information, go to

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AFCA AGM – New Chairman & Board announced

On Friday 14 October in Mt Gambier, South Australia, the Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) held its annual general meeting (AGM) and dinner for 2016. More than 50 people attended including Mr Tony Pasin MP Federal Member for Barker and SA Member for Mt Gambier Mr Troy Bell MP.

Ian Reid who has held the position of chair for AFCA stepped aside at the AGM after four years as chairman and eight as a director of AFCA. He navigated the association through the tough times of the GFC and a downturn in forestry and his tireless work secured its future.

“At our August board meeting we reviewed AFCA’s strategic plan for 2016-19,” he said. “This plan is the basis for building a stronger and viable association. I have enjoyed my roles within AFCA however, I am a believer that one should never stay in an organization in an official capacity for too long.”

Mr Adan Taylor of GMT Logging, Queensland was voted in as the new chair for AFCA at the AGM with new directors – Andrew Mahnken, Christian Stafford, Mick Johnston and Ricky Leeson. While Ken Padgett and Dennis Smith retired from the board after many years of dedicated service for which AFCA is very grateful. Appointments to the AFCA board are effective 14 October 2016.

Source: AFCA

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Help VAFI celebrate 130 years

Be part of this special event being held on Friday, 18 November at RACV City Club Melbourne as the Victorian Association of Forest Industries (VAFI) and the industry celebrate 130 years of industry representation in Victoria. The dinner will be a great celebration of an industry and Association with a proud history and a bright future.

The industry dinner is an opportunity to continue to cultivate the strong ties with key stakeholders across all sectors, whilst recognising the hard work from everyone in the industry, in a relaxed and fun atmosphere.

Our guest speaker this year is Rachael Robertson, the youngest female leader to Antarctica and internationally renowned for her experience and knowledge on self-leadership, resilience, and persistence. Our Master of Ceremonies this year is industry’s own Tim Woods.

Visit to book your tickets now and secure your spot at the Australian gala event of the year. Alternatively, please contact Natalie Kimber on 03 9611 9005 or

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Prefab home builder looking now to Auckland

New Zealand home builder Mike Greer says he is close to setting up a prefabrication factory in Auckland similar to his Christchurch one. The planned Auckland factory is designed and he has ordered the machinery.

"All I'm waiting for is a big order. I need about 300 houses a year. I can build massive and fast." Prefabrication offers precision building and speed to help resolve Auckland's housing crisis, according to Greer.

At Rolleston, near Christchurch, he set up a joint venture factory in 2014 with Spanbild, boasting consistency, quality of construction, and economies of scale. "No one in Auckland is doing it. I can do 65 to 70 houses a month easily. But you have to control the whole supply chain. It's hard to provide the houses to another company because you have to start with your own designs and layout."

An example of what can be achieved is Greer's latest subdivision-in-waiting, on a former meat works site at Belfast. He has used prefabrication methods on about 70 homes at various stages of completion at Spring Grove to be opened in November.

"We loaded 70 houses onto the site in nine weeks." The land and house packages at Spring Grove are being advertised for $479,000. "Normally a project like that takes a year so it's a pretty compelling story.

Source: Stuff

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... the cab ride

A clearly inebriated woman, stark naked, jumped into a taxi in New York City and laid down on the back seat.

The cab driver, an old Jewish gentleman, opened his eyes wide and stared at the woman. He made no attempt to start the cab. The woman glared back at him and said, "What's wrong with you, honey? - Haven't you ever seen a naked woman before?"

The old Jewish driver answered, "Let me tell you sumsing, lady. I vasn't staring at you like you tink; det vould not be proper vair I come from."

The drunk woman giggled and responded, "Well, if you're not staring at me, sweetie, what are you doing then?"

He paused a moment, then told her..."Vell, M'am, I am looking and I am looking, and I am tinking to myselfh,'Vair in da hell is dis lady keeping de money to pay for dis ride?

Now, that's a REAL Businessman!

And on that note, have a great (long) weekend. For the Kiwis, enjoy the extra holiday on Monday. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
PO Box 904
Level Two, 2 Dowling Street
Dunedin, New Zealand
Ph: +64 3 470 1902
Fax: +64 3 470 1904
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This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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