Friday Offcuts 2 March 2018
The Minister also was upbeat on the progress to date on their ambitious one billion trees target that they’ve set for the country. As early issues of shortages of seedlings and land are being ironed out, the plan is to ramp up from 55 million trees this year, to 70 million in 2019 and onto 90 million trees in 2020. Plans are also underway to plant 1 million trees this winter and another million trees next year on Landcorp (a state-owned enterprise of the New Zealand government and currently NZ’s largest farming group) land. This was the very same enterprise that ripped out forests to convert to dairy not so long ago. The Minister in his statement said that he wouldn’t be ruling out some Landcorp land being converted from dairy or other activities into tree planting. How the wheel has turned. The announcements and comment from forest owners and those affected are all covered in this week’s issue.
Late last week the second of the Australian forestry research hubs, the AU$4m-plus Mount Gambier institute – hosted at the UniSA campus was launched. The Mount Gambier facility is going to be partnering with the Launceston Hub which was launched late last year. Both will be providing a much-needed boost to forestry R&D in Australia. For the Kiwis, the promised new Forestry Service (it’s going to have the prime task of getting all of these trees into the ground) is going to be located in Rotorua and is to be established after the Budget in May of this year.
We cover this week another announcement on a tall timber building - the tallest, the largest and the most exciting architecturally. Just a couple of weeks ago, Canadian studio Michael Green Architecture unveiled their latest plans to build a massive timber office complex. It’s expected to be the largest of its kind if built in the USA. The reasons given typically by the developers are that these new tall wooden buildings look good, they’re environmentally sound when compared to other building systems and materials, thermally the benefits are stacking up and they can be prefabricated and go up pretty quickly – so they save on construction costs.
This week’s story covers another wooden tower planned this time for Japan. It’s still some way off from being built though. What’s interesting are the reasons the company’s giving for their selection of wood for its construction. Sumitomo Forestry, the company behind the proposal, say they’re going big and they’re going high because they’ve got “too much wood”. Apparently, there aren’t a lot of houses being built because of the demographics of the aging population so they’re planning on moving to tall wooden buildings. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Regional growth fund announcements madeThe NZ Government has made an initial NZ$61.7 million down-payment on its promise to spend NZ$1 billion a year for the next three years on regional economic growth initiatives, with Cabinet papers signalling it will take three years for major projects to gain momentum.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones launched the Provincial Growth Fund at a ceremony in Gisborne on Friday, identifying for special attention six "surge" regions where efforts to accelerate regional growth are required and announcing a swag of funding for local road, rail, tourism infrastructure projects, along with feasibility studies for larger projects to follow.
While projects can be funded in any region, the surge regions were identified as Northland, Bay of Plenty, East Coast, Hawke's Bay, Manawatu-Whanganui, and the West Coast of the South Island.
Emblematic of the government's intention to unblock languishing regional projects is the decision to apply NZ$5 million from the fund to unblock the stalled initiative to reinstate the railway line between Napier and Wairoa, where a consortium of KiwiRail, Port of Napier, and the Hawkes Bay Regional Council had failed to move ahead after discovering higher capital costs for repairing the line than first anticipated.
The announcement was one of several amounting to NZ$9.2 million in commitments to the Gisborne and Hawke's Bay regions, which includes NZ$2.7 million for redevelopments at the Gisborne port, but does not at this stage mention any prospect of reopening the rail link between Gisborne and Wairoa, which was washed out in a storm in 2011.
Some NZ$750,000 is being granted for three feasibility studies on KiwiRail projects in Kawerau, Southland and New Plymouth, with the Kawerau study examining options for an inland hub to connect exports from Murapara and Kawerau to rail, while in Southland "KiwiRail will work with local forestry interests and ports to determine the best export flows for forestry and containers", said Jones in a statement. The New Plymouth study will focus on forestry export opportunities.
However, consideration of extending a rail connection to Whangarei's Northport, potentially as part of relocating Auckland's port to take it out of the city's central business district, will occur in the context of a wider Upper North Island Supply Chain study. KiwiRail has been asked to “put forward infrastructure proposals”.
“As of today, the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is open for business and has the potential to make a real difference to the people of provincial New Zealand,” said Jones.
Projects that contribute jobs in areas of high regional unemployment and to resilience in the face of climate change threats will be eligible, with the PGF to fund the plan for the government to plant half a billion trees over the next decade to complement another half billion to be planted by the private sector.
Using LiDAR in forest inventory – free new guides
Airborne Laser Scanning data—also known as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)—enables the accurate three-dimensional characterization of vertical forest structure. Airborne Laser Scanning data have proven to be an information-rich asset for forest managers, enabling the generation of highly detailed digital elevation models and the estimation of a range of forest inventory attributes (e.g., height, basal area, and volume).
Good practice guidance synthesizes current knowledge from the scientific literature and practical experience to provide non-experts more detailed information about complex topics. The guideline is a follow-on document to a best-practices guide that the Canadian Forest Service published previously in 2013.
With this 40-page guide, the goal is to inform and enable readers interested in using Airborne Laser Scanning data to characterize, in an operational forest inventory context, large forest areas in a cost-effective manner. Links to access the free copy of this new guide – and the earlier Best practices guide for generating forest inventory attributes from airborne laser scanning data using an area-based approach, can both be found on the story uploaded to the www.foresttech.events news site.
Source: Canadian Forest Service
WoodTECH 2018 – Early expressions of interest
WoodTECH 2017 was a SELL OUT. The WoodTECH 2017 tech series drew in record numbers with over 400 delegates attending the New Zealand and Australian events.
Exhibition booths sold out well in advance of the series being run. In fact, it was the largest gathering yet seen of sawmilling companies, saw-doctors and sawing technology providers from around the globe in Australasia. You can check out just what was covered and who was involved in the 2017 series by clicking here.
What’s being covered in 2018?
New technologies, new processing systems and case studies to showcase “smart operating practices” in dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations will be profiled at the WoodTECH 2018 series this year. At this stage, we plan on covering;
- Robotics and automation and changes being seen in wood manufacturing
- Advances in wood scanning and board optimisation
- Finger-jointing, cross cutting and ripping
- Timber gluing and laminating
- Timber machining
- Kiln drying
- Timber finishing – planning, moulding and surface coating
- Material handling operations
- Mill maintenance - Changes to timber standards
- H&S, training and skills development
Like the 2017 sawmilling event, short focussed presentations, quick-fire technology updates and a large number of exhibitions will be used to provide a unique platform for local mills and manufacturers to learn. It’s anticipated that practical troubleshooting workshops will also be set up for production and operational staff to hear how they can extract the very best performance out of their own timber manufacturing equipment.
Early details on the September event can be found on the event website, www.woodtech.events. Interest in the event is already very keen. If interested in presenting (as a wood producer or tech supplier) as part of the tech series in September, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org BEFORE Friday 16 March. Remember, if possible, case studies or more generic presentations on the technology and how implemented into wood manufacturing operations to improve the company’s operational and financial performance are preferable to product updates.
Note: Information on opportunities for exhibiting will be advertised and sent out in the next couple of months. Early expressions of interest can be made directly with email@example.com.
If wishing to keep updated on developments around the event, you can subscribe to event updates by clicking here.
Consultation starts methyl bromide replacement
The forest industry anticipates EDN could replace methyl bromide fumigation which is used on log exports to China and India. Methyl bromide is an ozone depleting chemical. Regulations due to come into effect in 2020 will make it considerably more difficult and expensive to use.
The Chair of Stakeholders in Methyl Bromide Reduction (STIMBR) Don Hammond, says approval by the EPA is the critical first step into its use in New Zealand to ensure log exports are free of pests the importing countries don’t want.
“Over the past seven years STIMBR and our co-funding partners, including the New Zealand government, have invested more than NZ$22 million in research on alternatives to methyl bromide, as well as ways to reduce the amounts that need to be used, along with recapture and destruction technologies,” Don Hammond says.
He says an extensive review of scientific literature commissioned by STIMBR in 2014 found only one promising fumigant alternative to methyl bromide.
“Plant and Food Research confirmed EDN is an effective phytosanitary treatment for insects which might be found on our logs. There are clear advantages of EDN over methyl bromide. EDN has no effect on the ozone layer. It is not a greenhouse gas. It does not bioaccumulate because it breaks down rapidly in the environment without leaving harmful residues in the soil or in water,” Don Hammond says.
EDN is currently manufactured by Draslovka a family-owned company based in the Czech Republic. Over the past three years Don Hammond says Draslovka has made significant investment to develop EDN into a commercially viable and environmentally sustainable alternative to methyl bromide for use globally as a soil and commodity treatment.
The President of the Forest Owners Association, Peter Clark, says while EPA approval is a vital first step that doesn’t mean importing countries will automatically accept its use.
“We are confident that, with the huge wealth of positive data on EDN, that EPA will give it approval. The process of assuring other countries that EDN is both effective and safe to use, must also be undertaken as a government priority.”
“Though the value of log exports is less than half of the value of our total timber exports, 71 percent of our logs go to China, and presently methyl bromide treatment is an important component of that trade,” Peter Clark says. “Further, all logs going to India require methyl bromide treatment. Resolving this issue is a clear priority for our industry.”
More information can be found on:
1. The EPA’s website.
2. the STIMBR website which includes FAQs for EDN and methyl bromide.
Source: Forest Owners Association, Photo: STIMBR
Forestry research hub launched in Mount GambierSouth Australia, the birthplace of the Australian softwood plantation industry and a leader in forestry innovation, has today been further strengthened with the launch of a new National Institute for Forest Products Innovation hub in Mount Gambier.
The Institute, which will be hosted at the University of South Australia's Mount Gambier campus, is backed by AU$4 million funding from the Australian and South Australian Governments, and will be supported by industry contributions.
Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources Anne Ruston said the new hub would play an important role in building knowledge on Australia's plantation forests and revolutionising the way they are used.
Member for Barker Tony Pasin said South Australia has a long history in plantation forestry dating back to the establishment of some of Australia's first forest plantation trials in the 1870s. "In South Australia there were 178 800 hectares of plantation forests in 2015-16 with logs produced to a value of AU$321 million. The innovation hub will enable the local industry to advance even further."
An industry led committee has been established to determine priority research projects for the forest and wood products industry in the Mount Gambier region. Industry members of the committee are Dr Charlma Phillips, Tammy Auld, Phillip Dohnt, Glen Rivers and David Oliver. The committee will also include Professor Christopher Saint from the University of South Australia, and representatives of the Australian and South Australian Governments.
Keen response to opening up logging traffic by rail
KiwiRail said contractors will start spending that money today, cutting back overgrown vegetation and then moving on to drains and culverts. The first log train is expected to run by the end of the year.
The line has been unused since storms washed out the section north of Wairoa in 2012, ending a Gisborne-Napier rail link that was uneconomic anyway. A plan to revive the southern part of it to carry logs from the Wairoa region to Napier was hatched in 2016, and was supposed to be working by the end of 2017, but stalled due to financial constraints.
Last November, Hawke's Bay Regional Council expressed optimism that the scheme could still work as long as NZ$5 million could be found, and that money has now come from the government.
This was welcomed by KiwiRail chief executive Peter Reidy. "We have estimated that using the Wairoa-Napier line to move the logs could take up to 5714 trucks a year off the road, and reduce carbon emissions by 1292 tonnes," Mr Reidy said.
In the Taranaki region, one of three regions identified where rail feasibility studies to improve rail connections in are to be undertaken, Port Taranaki says that they have the facilities and infrastructure to make logs-on-rail practical and economically viable.
The focus of the NZ$250,000 rail study in New Plymouth would be on forestry exports, Regional economic development minister Shane Jones last week. Port Taranaki had been in discussions with KiwiRail for the past 12 months about initiatives to develop a rail option for log exports, chief executive Guy Roper said.
Port Taranaki's log volumes have been increasing with exports up 36 per cent in 2016-17, and 63 per cent for half year result to December 31 2017. Last year 486,000 tonnes of logs were shipped from Port Taranaki. The trend was expected to continue as demand from overseas increased, he said.
Port Taranaki had the on-site rail facilities and storage areas and could enhance berth access to maximise operations for rail, Roper said.
"It can be handled now. We have the rail line, storage, land available and exporter interest to quickly and effectively service not just the Taranaki region but the forestry industry in the southern region of the North Island." Bringing more logs to the port through rail would result in increased ship visits and also ease the pressure on the region's roads, he said.
New Zealand Forestry Ltd Taranaki regional manager Cam Eyre? said the industry had been working on how to improve transport links within Taranaki for several years and the government's announcement was a positive sign. "We support the study and believe it would be positive for the industry if costs can be reduced transporting logs by rail from marginal forest areas," he said.
Comment on the Southland feasibility study from industry can also be found here.
Sources: radionz and Stuff.
Up to NZ$180 million for tree plantingRegional Development Minister Shane Jones says up to NZ$180 million of his new NZ$3 billion fund will end up being spent on his plan to plant one billion trees over the next 10 years - and it could see some Landcorp farms converted to forestry.
He said after the Budget in May the new Forestry Service, to be located in Rotorua, would be established. That would have its own budget line and up to NZ$180 million would go into trees.
He warned it could take some time for the tree planting programme to ramp up. About half the trees would be planted by commercial forestry operators as part of their usual business. The other half would be a mix of Crown planting, community organisations and the Department of Conservation planting native trees.
Jones plans to use Landcorp land for forestry - and Jones would not rule out some Landcorp land converting from dairy or other activities for the tree planting. He said that was up to the Landcorp Board, but he believed there were too many eggs in one basket.
"And I think that Landcorp is not only a farming enterprise, it's a land use enterprise. As we roll our climate change ... I think Landcorp has every capacity to play its role as New Zealand's best farmer. If that involves forestry, it gets a big fat tick from me."
70 Story tallest timber tower tipped for Tokyo
It's called W350, the plan being that it will be finished in 2041, the 350th anniversary of the founding of the company. I have previously wondered whether these tall towers are too much of a wood thing, but they are taking their time here and have an interesting rationale for it.
Using a hybrid 9:1 ratio of wood to steel, Sumitomo Forestry aims to replace concrete, which is one of the world’s largest carbon footprint contributors. The skyscraper would be a 70-floor mixed-use building that would include a hotel, office space, commercial space and residences. Wrap-around balconies at different intervals would be planted with lush wildlife. And greenery would extend throughout the entire complex, creating a vertical forest where humans and wildlife can flourish.
A Japan Real Estate site tells us that "the outside of the building will be encircled by balconies and fire-resistant plants." The building will have 455,000 M2 of space and be built from 185,000 cubic meters of wood.
Sumitomo claims that 2/3 of Japan is forested and that many trees replanted after the war need to be cut, or they will die and rot. Interestingly, Sumitomo is designing the building so that elements can be maintained for a certain period of time and then replaced as needed.
The used wood can be recycled and used as residential pillars and beams, and then used as a raw material for new wooden building materials, so that it can be circulated in the city. The final waste material can be used as fuel for biomass power generation and cascade usage of wood can be used such as using heat generated at the time of combustion of biomass power generation for drying wood.
There is a cute video on the Sumitomo website.
Band saw sharpening technology passes to ISELI
Guarantees and warranty obligations, as well as maintenance contracts for machines that VOLLMER concluded with customers up to the acquisition date shall remain with VOLLMER. This means that service activities and the spare parts supply, as well as the application support for all machines delivered up to 1 January 2019 from the product area "wood-cutting saws", will continue to be performed by VOLLMER without any restrictions.
The disposal of this product segment is part of the long-term corporate strategy of VOLLMER. In the future VOLLMER will focus more on its growing business areas of CNC-controlled grinding and eroding machines. VOLLMER will invest more heavily in the product areas "circular saws" and "rotary tools" and equip them with additional resources in order to develop new technologies, services and machines. Image: Vollmer
NZ’s tree planting timetable gives industry confidence
The Forestry Minister Shane Jones announced on Friday in Gisborne that the government programme will see a gradual rise of tree numbers planted out every year as seedlings become available. From 2022 planting will be in full swing at an annual rate of 110,000 hectares a year.
Forest Owners Association President Peter Clark says there are plenty of sceptics who believe that the government will not get to the billion-tree target over ten years. “A billion trees represent 100,000 hectares of plantings per year on average. The effective planting start-up year, with seedlings started off this winter, will be 2019. So, first up, 70,000 hectares represents a good beginning to grow the national forest estate which has been static for nearly 20 years.”
Peter Clark says he predicts the also announced NZ$6.5 million fund for Afforestation Grants will be over subscribed. “At $1,300 per hectare the grant will cover the total planting costs for most landowners who choose to go into it. I would also hope the scheme can be expanded in future years.”
“The scheme applies to forest plots between five and 300 hectares. This could lead to too many isolated woodlots, but if farmers amalgamated their plots it would pay off in reduced harvesting costs.” Peter Clark says he expects the next stage of the billion-tree project will be to provide details of the planned species and geographical mix.
“Millable indigenous species, such as totara and beech are obviously going to be part of the mix, along with others planted to convert grassland into native forestland. But if forest plantings are to help with reducing the pain of meeting our Paris Accord commitments then we will need fast-growing exotics such as radiata pine, Douglas fir and eucalypts. It is never too early to start providing for what will be required to manage, harvest and process large volumes of these tree species.”
“Our industry is also pleased that the government is making the development of infrastructure a priority. Roads in the Tairawhiti region in particular have been in decline and this is not good for anyone using that network, including our industry. Government undertakings to fix these roads as soon as physically possible is vitally good news.”
Source: Forest Owners Association
Oji Fibre's AU$72M paperboard mill openedOji Fibre Solutions' AU$72 million mega cardboard factory in Yatala is the state's first new manufacturing facility to open with the support of the Palaszczuk Government's AU$65 million Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund.
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick on Tuesday joined Japanese Counsellor Keisuike Nakao, Japanese Consul-General in Brisbane Ms Keiko Yanai and Oji Group CEO Susumu Yajima for a traditional Japanese sake ceremony at opening celebrations on the factory floor.
"Today's event is the culmination of years of work by Oji's leadership, the 300 workers who built this factory, the company's 70 employees and our industry attraction team who helped draw this project here rather than anywhere else in Australia or Asia," Mr Dick said.
Mr Dick said the mega factory was capable of producing a kilometre of cardboard every three minutes to produce corrugated packaging products for use by fruit and produce, meat, industrial, fast moving consumer goods, paper products and consumer durables. The factory also has five-star green credentials including a rainwater harvesting system reducing potable water consumption by 80 per cent and a 100kW Solar PV System.
Mr Dick said Oji FS' success in Yatala was now set to extend to regional Queensland, with the company announcing plans to open satellite manufacturing sites in Mareeba and two other regional Queensland locations.
Oji Fibre Solutions is part of Oji Holdings, one of the world's largest forest, paper and packaging producers with a billion-dollar-plus turnover. Oji Fibre Solutions CEO Dr Jon Ryder said the Queensland Government's support was a major factor in the company building the Yatala factory and expanding across the state.
"While demand for corrugated packaging in Australia is growing roughly at 2 per cent a year, we expect growth in Queensland to be more than twice that, driven by local and export growth in horticulture, meat and processed food segments which are well suited to OjiFS' high performance products.
Source: Australian Government
AFCA running contractor safety workshopsSafety workshops for forestry contractors will take place across Queensland, Tasmania, New South Wales and South Australia in coming months as part of a campaign hosted by the Australian Forestry Contractors Association (AFCA).
AFCA general manager Stacey Gardiner tells ATN that the three-hour workshops, which have already been held in sites in Western Australia and Queensland, provide training on truck rollover, load restraint risks and Chain of Responsibility.
The training modules, developed in consultation with engineering firm Engistics, are expected to be rolled out to more than 300 operators and loaders across the forestry supply chain.
Ms Gardiner said the workshops held so far, in the WA towns of Albany and Bridgetown and Queensland centres of Caloundra and Gympie, had been very well attended. "Industry participants have commented that this has allowed them to improve their understanding of Chain of Responsibility laws and hear about recent research and findings regarding key risks specific to industry, especially relating to load restraint," she said.
The programs have been funded in part through the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative program.
NZ log exports to China at record levelsNew Zealand exported a record volume of logs to China last year as Asia's largest economy clamped down on harvesting its own forests, and the future points to constant or better demand in coming months, according to AgriHQ's latest forestry market report.
The country shipped a record 18.8 million cubic metres of softwood logs overseas in 2017, up 18 percent on 2016, with exports to China jumping 29 percent and accounting for three-quarters of the total.
New Zealand cemented its position as China's top source of softwood logs last year, with its share of the market lifting to 36.3 percent from 34.7 percent. China's overall demand for softwood logs increased 10 percent to 31 million tonnes as the country clamped down on harvesting its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet demand in its local market. Upcoming changes to government regulations which will allow for Chinese buildings to be designed using New Zealand wood grades and sizing are likely to further stoke demand in the future, AgriHQ said.
"Virtually all information coming out of China has pointed towards constant or better demand for NZ logs in the coming months," AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick said in his February Forestry Market Report report titled 'Optimism ever-present for exports'.
Brick noted Chinese government policies and regulations are "particularly encouraging" for the New Zealand log market. "China is looking at becoming more sustainable. This has already slashed the amount of logs being harvested from native forests, while tougher enforcement of pollution policies are already clearing out the number of old and inefficient wood processors," he said.
"The newest announcement has come in the form of building regulations. As of August this year, radiata pine specifications will be included in the Chinese Code of Design, allowing buildings to be designed using NZ wood grades and sizing. The immediate impact of this change is still somewhat of an unknown, but there’s no doubt it will only be positive for NZ exporters in the long-term."
USNR acquires Mid-South Engineering
USNR President George Van Hoomissen commented, “Mid-South is a great addition to USNR because it brings into the USNR family a large group of experienced professionals who know a great deal about the many things, beyond just equipment, that go into the successful building and operation of wood processing facilities. This gives USNR much greater capacity to deliver large-scale turn-key solutions to our customers.”
In order to further develop USNR’s turn-key capabilities and processes, USNR has promoted Jeff Stephens (formerly President of Mid-South) to the position of Senior Vice President at USNR, with responsibility for leading USNR’s turn-key offerings worldwide. In this new role, Jeff will oversee both USNR personnel and key resources drawn from the Mid-South organization.
Mid-South’s long-time Vice President and CFO Marc Stewart has been appointed to replace Jeff Stephens as President of Mid-South Engineering. Although Mid-South Engineering is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of USNR, it will continue to operate as a separate business in order to preserve the company’s ability to act as an independent advisor to its clients.
Buy and Sell
...and one to end the week on ... the dead parrot
Wiremu from New Zealand moved to a small town in Australia and bought a pet parrot from one of his new friends for $100.
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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