Friday Offcuts 19 January 2018
To start the year on we’ve included a number of key stories that have featured in the news over the break as well as some R&D related articles that we think you’ll find interesting. Wood export figures released late in 2017 reconfirmed what we all knew – that last year was a record breaker for the NZ forest products industry. Log export figures and log prices reached all-time highs on the back of continued demand out of China.
The country exported NZ$2.41 billion of softwood logs in the first 11 months of last year, surpassing all previous records for any full calendar year. The downside here of course is the real issue that's currently being faced by domestic wood processors to secure logs for their own operations. The New Zealand Timber Industry Federation (see article below) says log prices have risen by 25% over the past five years and they're projected to increase further over the first half of 2018. Local sawn timber prices unfortunately haven’t kept pace with the log price increases having risen by just 7% in the last five years.
As part of the new Government’s plans to boost the forestry sector in New Zealand, Crown Forestry, the commercial trading organisation that manages the Crown's commercial forestry assets, has also been given the go-ahead to enter into new commercial arrangements to plant trees on privately-owned land. NZ$14 million of funding is being provided to support tree planting this year and the purchase of seedlings for 2019. This is all part of the new Government’s "one billion trees planting programme" that they've ambitiously set as one of their cornerstone policies.
In Australia, in a first for the country’s plantation forestry sector, Forico and CO2 Australia have just been given the green light to enter into a long-term contract to sell carbon credits generated from plantation forestry activities. This is part of the Australian Government’s new AU$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund. The new project is not only a significant milestone for the country’s plantation forestry sector but the collaboration between the Tasmanian based forest management company and CO2 Australia is an important pilot project for the sector for the upcoming year.
Finally, in the R&D and tech space we have stories on; early results of an international benchmarking project on terrestrial LiDAR scanning methods in forest inventories, a trial on eucalyptus species creating “boxed-heart” posts from small-diameter plantation thinnings and an update on a new pest that’s been detected in some Eucalyptus species in New Zealand. Enjoy this week’s read.
This week we have for you:
Australian first for Forico PlantationsIn a first for the Australian plantation forest sector, Forico and CO2 Australia have secured the opportunity to enter into a long-term contract to sell carbon credits generated from plantation forestry activities to the Australian Government under its AU$2.55 billion Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
“This is a significant milestone for the plantation forest sector in Australia as the carbon market is recognising the ability of Australian timber plantations to be a part of the country’s response to climate change. This also adds carbon credits to the balance sheet of plantation forests, supporting Forico in how we manage our forests for multiple values and providing economic incentives for increasing carbon sequestration,” said Bryan Hayes, CEO of Forico.
The Australian Government recently approved a Plantation Forestry Method under the ERF, which, for the first time in the history of federal Australian climate change policy, allows for the recognition of carbon sequestration in new and longer-rotation plantation forests as well as the carbon stored in wood products.
“Once a project complies with the eligibility criteria of the methodology, and you are establishing new plantations, or converting from short-rotation to long-rotation management, then there can be some real opportunities to generate additional revenue through carbon credit sales,” said James Bulinski, Managing Director for CO2 Australia, an experienced ERF project operator that worked with Forico to secure the opportunity for this first-of-its-kind plantation project.
Forico is the first forest manager in Australia approved under the ERF, with an application to register a project in north-east Tasmania approved by the Clean Energy Regulator and a Carbon Abatement Contract secured at the latest ERF auction. The project will see Forico assign 630 hectares into a new project based on developing long-term pine plantations – which means a greater volume of carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and stored in the plantation and ultimately in the wood products it produces. In total the project is expected to deliver up to 68,959 tonnes of CO2e climate abatement over 10 years.
“Forico is pleased to have achieved project registration so quickly after the release of the method earlier this year. The collaboration with CO2 Australia is an important pilot project for Forico to demonstrate proof-of-concept, and we look forward to seeing what other carbon opportunities we might develop across the Forico managed estate,” said Bryan Hayes.
Forico is Tasmania’s largest private forest management company and manages a 180,000-hectare certified forest estate on behalf of New Forests, a Sydney-based timberland investment manager. Forico manages this extensive plantation forest estate throughout Tasmania with processing facilities in the north of the state, delivering a mix of wood fibre products. 80,000 hectares of natural vegetation within the forest estate, is managed for conservation and biodiversity values.
CO2 Australia has been operating carbon projects since 2004 and has been active developing projects under the ERF across the past two years. “The Emissions Reduction Fund is really changing the way people think about land and vegetation management across Australia, from systems as diverse as savannah in the north and now to plantation forests in Tasmania,” said James Bulinski. “It’s really great to see this translate into innovative approaches to tackling climate change and I congratulate Forico on the leadership they have shown in this area.”
NZ log exports hit new record in 2017New Zealand log exports hit a new record last year, underscoring the concerns of local manufacturers that the country is sending too many unprocessed logs overseas, posing a threat for local timber supply in the future and undermining the goal to add more value to exports.
The country exported NZ$2.41 billion of softwood logs in the first 11 months of last year, surpassing all previous records for any full calendar year, according to the latest Statistics New Zealand figures. Data for the full year will be released on 30 January.
New Zealand is experiencing strong demand for logs from China, which has clamped down on harvesting its own forests and reduced tariffs on imported logs to meet demand in its local market. In the first 11 months of 2017, New Zealand exported NZ$1.81 billion of logs to China, above the level for any full calendar year and accounting for 75 percent of softwood exports.
Increased shipments of raw logs goes against the aim of successive governments to add more value to commodities and riles the wood processing sector, which says more manufacturing needs to be done at home to sustain the local industry. It says an upswing in demand for wooden housing could see supply having to be met from overseas if the current situation prevails.
Prior to the election, the wood industry, representing New Zealand’s third-largest export commodity group, was annoyed at the lack of attention it received from the Ministry for Primary Industries which it felt was more focused on food safety, agriculture, horticulture and biosecurity of the border. Forestry, it was felt, was at the bottom of the MPI pile and fronted by junior ministers and officials.
The industry starts this year in a more upbeat mood with the new coalition government’s commitment to re-establish the Forest Service, plant more trees, focus on regional economic development, require greater scrutiny of overseas investment in forestry, and improve the Emissions Trading Scheme for forestry amid industry concerns that foresters couldn’t compete with rival land users such as dairy farmers under the current system.
“We are certainly on the radar now with the government very much pushing in the right direction. The whole industry has a much higher profile now,” said Jon Tanner, chief executive of the Wood Processors & Manufacturers Association of New Zealand. “Forestry worldwide has to have the hand of government.”
While government initiatives gave the industry more optimism about the long-term future, Tanner said uncertainty remained around the shorter-term issue for the domestic market of more unprocessed logs heading overseas. “We are still very concerned about the competition in the market right now and where that is going and how that is going to be regulated and tackled,” he said. “We have got a major problem in the set-up of the market. We have got a lot of logs being exported, and it’s being increased.
“The demand out of China, all the pundits are saying, it’s just only going to increase.” Other wood exporting countries such as Canada and Russia support their local industries while Chinese wood manufacturers benefit from subsidies, creating an uneven playing field for New Zealand processors, according to the WPMA which would like to see the government take a complaint to the World Trade Organisation.
Tanner said the WPMA was contacted by its counterparts in Australia late last year who were starting to experience a similar problem of increasing log exports to China.
Record-level lumber prices expected in 2018In Wood Markets’ new five-year softwood lumber forecast, the continuation of U.S. duties on Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. is expected to cause more short-term market and price volatility. The preliminary duties launched earlier in 2017 rocked the U.S. market and more of the same is expected in 2018. The Wood Markets outlook report predicts more chaos and the chance of further record-breaking prices in North America, while global lumber supply tightens and exports grow.
The recent announcement of final countervailing (CVD) and anti-dumping (ADD) duties on Canadian lumber exports to the U.S. will cause lumber prices to remain near record levels in 2018 and even higher at various points over the next five years, Wood Markets/FEA Canada predicts. This is because Canadian lumber production and Canadian exports to the U.S. are forecast to ease in 2018.
“Simply put,” said Russ Taylor, managing director, Wood Markets/FEA Canada, “by restricting incremental Canadian lumber exports via import duties, there may not be enough lumber supplies to adequately balance with projected U.S. demand. There will need to be major increases in U.S. lumber capacity (which is starting to build), more offshore imports, and/or record-level prices to stimulate more supply. The question that we have seen coming for a number of years is: Where will the U.S. get all of the lumber it needs, and at what price?”
While the timing of supply and demand forces is always unpredictable, the group forecasts that the first real “supply gap” could occur as early as 2019. This is when there may not be enough incremental lumber supplies that are readily available to meet overall projected U.S. demand, without seeing an increase (versus the forecast decrease) in Canadian lumber imports.
“What this all could mean,” said Taylor, “is that ongoing price volatility can be expected again in 2018, and even more so in 2019 and/or 2020, when further record-level lumber prices are forecast in the U.S. market.”
Some of the regional trends for North America are summarized here:
- As the import duties on Canadian lumber imports will give many U.S. mills a substantial cost advantage, a surge of capacity expansions has already started and more are expected. This should allow American mills to increase their market share of its home market.
- From near 34 billion bf in 2017, total U.S. output is forecast to increase by around 10 billion bf by 2022, depending on the mill capacity increases in the U.S. This forecast production surge is considered to be a very aggressive and will be difficult to achieve, but it is considered possible given the improved competitive advantage of U.S. mills as lumber prices rise.
- Canadian lumber production is expected to dip slightly in 2018 and potentially in 2019 from the impact of U.S. import duties and tight timber supplies. Exports to China are forecast to increase slightly, but this will depend on lumber price levels as compared to the U.S. price, net of import duties.
- The B.C. Interior timber harvest will drop as import duties marginalize some sawmills, as well as from the impact of lower output from uneconomic mountain pine beetle-killed timber.
- As a higher cost region in Canada, Eastern Canadian mills could have difficulties, at times, to absorb import duties when lumber prices soften. However, is it expected that by 2020 (and maybe sooner), more exports will be required to fill the expected U.S. “supply gap”.
European structural softwood lumber imports are forecast to ramp up dramatically to take advantage of the pending supply gap, that should keep lumber prices at high levels. The magnitude of European softwood lumber exports to the U.S. is difficult to predict, but higher prices will attract more volumes to the U.S.
Source: Wood Markets/FEA Canada
Rubicon gives green light for Tenon saleShareholders have voted in favour of Rubicon's proposal to sell a 45 percent stake in Tenon Clearwood Partnership, a large clearwood sawmill and manufacturing operation in Taupo, New Zealand.
In December it said the proposed buyers are Dorset Management Corp and Libra Partners NZ LLC, who will each take 20 percent, with the existing owners of the Clearwood partnership taking the remaining 4.88 percent. Dorset is affiliated with Rubicon's biggest shareholder Knott Partners, which owns 28 percent of the company, while Libra is its second-biggest investor with an 18 percent stake.
The sale will allow it to make two deferred-settlement payments for ArborGen, totalling US$15 million and which will now be Rubicon's sole asset. "We have great belief in the potential future upside in ArborGen," chair Stephen Kasnet said at a recent meeting. It will also put the company in a position to achieve significant cost savings, he said. Rubicon took full ownership of ArborGen in June, after buying out its partners for US$29 million.
ArborGen is a global leader in advanced forestry genetics and has a pre-eminent intellectually property position with a portfolio of advanced products that do not require regulatory approval, he said.
Ad campaign launched for wood in bushfire prone areasYou can use timber framing and wood in other applications in BAL (Bushfire Attack Level) rated locations, that’s the message of a new newspaper campaign launched by industry body Forest and Wood Products Australia Ltd (FWPA).
With the height of bushfire season approaching for many Australians, thoughts turn to designing and building to minimise the risk of damage to homes in areas that may be affected. While many people imagine that doing so would preclude the use of wood, it is not the case.
Designing to ‘build out’ bushfires requires minimising the risk of ember, radiant heat and even flame damage. With appropriate design decisions, attractive timber homes can be built, using sustainably sourced wood and wood products both inside and out.
“Understanding what is required for each BAL is actually quite straightforward,” said Boris Iskra, an engineer who is the National Manager of Codes and Standards at FWPA. In Australia, the Standard AS 3959–2009 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas has the benefit of many years of scientific development and provides an extensive guide to building homes to minimise risk for different levels of bushfire vulnerability.”
Through the WoodSolutions website, FWPA provides a range of resources to help owners, designers and builders enjoy the aesthetic, functional and environmental benefits of wood in BAL locations, while meeting the requirements of the Australian Standard.
These free resources, which are referred to in the newspaper ad, include a comprehensive free design guide, Building with Timber in Bushfire-prone Areas, a calculator that allows people to estimate the BAL of their site and an expert advice service through which people can seek answers to their bushfire design-related questions.
“I encourage people to go to the web address in the ad – naturallybetter.com.au/BAL – and look at the resources,” said Mr Iskra, “it would be a great pity if people missed out on gaining all the advantages of wood just because they didn’t have the information about how to use it in ways that comply with the Standard.
Photo: Woody the Woodbot who features prominently in the new ad campaign
NZ timber prices set to soarSteady and strong competition from foreign buyers for New Zealand logs is forcing raw material prices up for local timber processors. The New Zealand Timber Industry Federation says that log prices have already risen by 25% to the local market over the past five years and sawmills are preparing for further predicted log cost increases over the first half of 2018.
Logs are a sawmill’s biggest single cost so the financial impact is significant. Local sawn timber prices have not kept pace with the recent log cost increases. Timber prices have risen by just 7% in the last five years.
Log volumes and prices for export and domestic markets are now reaching the highest levels ever recorded in a market that appears to be stable and not speculative. Log supply to local sawmills is competing with the strong export markets, especially China, as that market continues to grow.
New Zealand exporters have spent decades pushing Radiata Pine as a species and product. Overseas buyers now understand and appreciate the many potential uses of Radiata Pine. This is fuelling the demand and making Radiata Pine a preferred species in many cases.
The latest survey conducted by Scion (www.scionresearch.com) “New Zealand Log Price Outlook – November 2017” released 1 January 2018, predicts that log prices will rise in February and continue to increase until May before levelling out.
The New Zealand Timber Industry Federation says that timber prices will increase as sawmills look to secure sufficient log supply to keep mills running and to recover the increased log costs. Buyers of finished timber products anticipate future price increases.
Terrestrial laser scanning for forest inventoriesTerrestrial laser scanning (TLS) is an effective technique for acquiring detailed tree attributes in forest plots. During the last two decades, tremendous effort by national mapping agencies, companies, universities and research organisations has been put into developing methods for tree attribute estimation using TLS. There is, however, still a lack of proper understanding on TLS performance.
Different data collection methods and processing standards have led to a large range in tree detection and measurement accuracy. This article explains the early results of an international benchmarking initiative for TLS methods in forest inventories. The study has identified important differences in methods that should lead to operational work guidelines.
Measuring Tree Attributes
A terrestrial laser scanner automatically documents its surrounding environment in three-dimensional (3D) space with millions to billions of 3D points. In forestry, TLS is an effective technique for measuring forest plots and is anticipated to be used in national forest inventories, leading to more sustainable silviculture and savings for forest owners and industry alike.
During the last two decades, significant research has been conducted on developing best practices around TLS for forest inventories – to evaluate, for example, whether one scanning position at the plot centre (single scan) or several scanning positions inside and outside of the plot (multi-scans) should be used to measure a sample plot and estimate tree attributes (tree height, diameter, taper, crown width).
Impressive results have been reported in recent years that are automatic, repeatable, accurate for practical applications and comparable to results from national allometric models. There is, however, still a lack of proper understanding on TLS performance, especially in forests with varying structure and development stages (complex forest structures).
Currently, the results obtained from TLS data for plot-wise tree attribute estimation have varied significantly from study to study. The percentage of correctly detected trees from reported multi-scan data has ranged from 50 to 100%. The differences between varying detection rates arise from different TLS hardware, scanning set-up, forest structures and processing methods.
To clarify the current status of the TLS application in plot inventories, an international benchmarking study was launched in 2014, led by EuroSDR and partly funded by the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme. The main objective of this current benchmarking study is to understand recent developments of TLS methodologies in plot inventories by comparing and evaluating the quality, accuracy and feasibility of the automatic and semi-automatic tree extraction methods based on TLS data.
To read more on the study and progress, click here.
Crown Forestry to get plantingNew Zealand’s Forestry Minister Shane Jones has welcomed a renewed mandate for Crown Forestry to enable it to kick-start the Government’s tree planting programme. Cabinet has given the green light to allow Crown Forestry to enter into new commercial arrangements to plant trees on privately-owned land and to provide NZ$14 million of funding to support the planting of trees in 2018 and the purchase of seedlings for 2019.
“The ambitious one billion trees planting programme is one of the Government’s cornerstone policies,” Mr Jones says. “It will help encourage regional economic growth, create sustainable, high-quality jobs, provide opportunities for Maori to develop their land, help meet our climate change targets and support more sustainable use of land, water and other natural resources.
“Quick action has been required by the Government to ensure Crown Forestry can purchase seedlings from nursery stock and get planting during the winter season. “While there are limited surplus radiata pine seedlings available for 2018, discussions with members of the New Zealand Forest Nursery Growers Association have indicated that nurseries have the ability to scale up significantly for the 2019 planting season.
In addition to the trees that Crown Forestry will plant, work is under way to determine the potential to boost the number of native trees planted as well as ensuring that the number of trees being planted can be accurately counted. “Crown Forestry has the capability and connections with landowners in the regions to get new forestry plantings underway immediately.
“Work is also under way to develop a comprehensive afforestation programme that takes various issues into account, including the supply of labour, improving the Emissions Trading Scheme for forestry and afforestation and incentivising land use”.
“This is the first in many milestones in the tree planting programme. As further work is progressed to establish a Forestry Service, I will take proposals back to Cabinet covering the more fundamental considerations on future funding for Crown Forestry, its role and governance structure,” Mr Jones says.
NZ export log prices hit new highNew Zealand export log prices edged higher to a new record, buoyed by continued strong demand from China, a weaker currency and historically low shipping rates.
The price for A-Grade export logs reached $129 a tonne, up from $128 a tonne last month, and $127 a tonne the month earlier, marking the highest level since AgriHQ began collecting the data in 2008, according to the agricultural market specialist's monthly survey of exporters, forest owners and saw millers. All of the main log grades tracked by AgriHQ either held steady or lifted as much as $2 a tonne on the previous month, AgriHQ said.
New Zealand is experiencing strong demand for its logs from China and is set to hold that way until at least the Chinese New Year in February next year. "Strong and constant demand out of China is the main factor which has pulled wharf-gate log prices to record levels," said AgriHQ analyst Reece Brick. A weaker local currency, which had been trading around seven-month lows against the US dollar for most of November and early December, as well as historically low shipping rates had also supported wharf-gate log values, he said.
Brick noted that the main issue for the export market at the moment is shipping logistics, with massive volumes of logs heading to the export market creating congestion at ports. Beyond China, export markets have had mixed fortunes, he said. "All signals point to stable-to-firming domestic log prices through Q1 next year".
Still, Brick noted that rising wharf-gate prices over the past 18 months have forced mills to be more price competitive and more mills are battling to make a profit margin, even with strong end-user demand for processed wood.
"Although short-term cash flow is an issue, part of the concern is the mills' inability to invest in new technology," Brick said. "Many are unable to front the cash to invest in more efficient machinery that would allow them to make larger margins on logs. This calls into question the longevity of these mills, especially if there’s no reprieve in competition from overseas traders."
Recent graduates do well in NZ forestry sectorRecent tertiary graduates are earning good incomes from their employment in the forest industry, according to a recent survey by the New Zealand Institute of Forestry (NZIF). A survey of 600 NZIF members indicates recent graduates in the forestry sector are attaining a median gross salary of $58,520, which increases to $62,725 for a total remuneration package.
NZIF spokesperson Tim Thorpe says many of the graduates would have a degree from the University of Canterbury Schools of Forestry and Engineering. But he says others would be included in the recent graduate category as holders of New Zealand diplomas in forest management or similar, from Toi Ohomai in Rotorua, NorthTec in Whangarei or EIT in Gisborne.
“For a diploma qualification, a starting salary of more than sixty-thousand dollars is a good start up the career ladder and shows that there is a good future in forestry. There are many skillsets that make up a forestry career,” Tim Thorpe says.
The survey, conducted in October last year with a third of those surveyed responding, also shows people with diploma qualifications (at $117,500) were earning slightly more than those with a doctorate ($115,404).
“This could be that the PhDs are new to the industry and lack experience, while the forestry people with a diploma have a number of years in the industry. As time goes on, those who have spent the extra time getting their doctorate will be rewarded after they have also gained experience on the job,” Tim Thorpe says.
The survey also shows the median gross salary of NZIF members in the private sector was $110,000, which was up to $20,000 a year above members employed in the public sector of the industry or in scientific work.
Boxed-heart posts from hardwood eucalyptusGrowers of spotted gum and yellow stringybark could potentially increase income from small-diameter plantation thinnings by creating “boxed-heart” posts, according to a trial supported by FWPA.
However, sugar gum and southern mahogany produced a lower proportion of posts of acceptable quality. (“Boxed-heart” posts are timber posts milled to include the pith, the soft core at the centre of the log.)
Jon Lambert and Dean Severino tested approximately 80 logs of each of the four species in plantations their business manages – and also trialled four different drying treatments – and measured the proportion of acceptable-quality posts after a year’s drying.
Posts were deemed to be of unacceptable quality if they had splits of over 5 millimetres on the ends or any surface. Across all four drying methods, the following proportion of posts made the grade:
- Spotted gum – 30 per cent acceptable quality
- Yellow stringybark – 24 per cent
- Sugar gum – 13 per cent
- Southern mahogany – 8 per cent
The pass rate was even higher at 50 per cent for spotted gum that was end waxed and plated before being dried.
The posts produced could be used in a range of feature products such as bridges, boardwalks, playground equipment, parks and gardens and a range of constructions in marine and tourist areas. Squared off and sold green, they could also be sold for use in natural hardwood fences.
The final report will be released in late January 2018. More >>.
Source: FWPA R&D Works
Forest owners concerned with OIO proposalThe Forest Owners Association in New Zealand is against the proposal the Overseas Investment Office should approve or decline sales of forest cutting rights. The FOA says it would jeopardise the government’s ambitions of both seeing a billion trees planted and of meeting its Paris Agreement obligations to reduce carbon emissions.
Treasury has invited submissions on a proposal to expand the scope of the OIO to include forest cutting rights for blocks of forestland larger than 50 hectares. But FOA President Peter Clark says overseas investors will look elsewhere if cutting rights came into the OIO.
“We entirely get the idea that any investment into New Zealand is a privilege. We know and accept that overseas investors who wish to buy or lease substantial areas of land in New Zealand to plant trees for harvest have to go through the OIO application process.”
“But this proposed change of direction goes well beyond land ownership into another interest entirely. The government issued a ministerial directive to the OIO back in late November. The directive separated approval criteria for forestland from that for farmland.”
“That separation was a clear signal that the government believed it was vital to attract investors to plant some of the extra 50,000 hectares of land a year which would be necessary to meet the government’s own billion tree target.”
The ministerial directive for forestland told the OIO to give high relative importance to the criterion for an investment which would ‘advance significant government policy. “This is a crucially important message” says Peter Clark. “This criterion was specifically not applied by the government to the sale of farmland.”
“The purpose and message of that ministerial directive was clearly to get enough investment in tree planting to use plantation trees’ ability to lock up large volumes of atmospheric carbon. This quality applies to every tree which is planted in every forest - not just by some investors, in some places, at some times.” More >>
For more comment on the suggested changes and potential impact on the forestry industry, click here.
Source: Forest Owners Association
Lonza Wood Protection’s Graeme Rees retiresGraeme Rees, long serving Managing Director of Lonza Wood Protection Asia Pacific, announced his retirement effective from 31 December 2017. Originally from Gore in the far south of New Zealand, Graeme has had a long and distinguished career in the wood protection industry starting over 30 years ago with Hickson Timber Impregnation as manager of the Mataura roundwood treating plant.
In 1986 Graeme transferred to Auckland to take up the role of marketing manager for Hickson Timber Preservatives and was instrumental in the restructuring of the Hickson’s New Zealand business into separate preservative supply and wood treatment operations and subsequently the formation of the Koppers-Hickson Timber Protection joint venture company in 1989.
In 1997 Graeme transferred to Brisbane to become the marketing manager for Koppers-Hickson Timber Protection in Australia. In the year 2000 with the acquisition of Hickson by US based Arch Chemicals, Graeme became the general manager for the renamed Koppers Arch Wood Protection company in Australia. Moving forward, when Arch Chemicals bought out the Koppers share of Koppers Arch to become Arch Wood Protection in 2007, Graeme became the regional managing director for the Asia Pacific region from the start of 2008.
The next change was the acquisition of Arch Chemicals by the Swiss based Lonza Group in 2011 and again Graeme was heavily involved in the local aspects of the integration of the Asia Pacific wood protection business with the new owners. Most recently Graeme again took a key role in a transformative stage of the business with the acquisition and integration of New Plymouth based Zelam in 2015.
Graeme said, “After 32 years I wonder where all that time has gone. It has been a great journey working with many different customers, industry colleagues and dedicated staff over the years. In the time I have seen many changes in the industry and the company. I wish everyone well going forward and I am sure that the business under the new leadership will go on to further success.”
Melbourne based Angelo Hrastov will take over as Regional Director for Lonza Wood Protection Asia Pacific from the New Year. Angelo has been with the group for 22 years and has had a series of roles in account management and customer support, general management and most recently as the sales and business manager for Lonza Wood Protection Asia Pacific.
Source: Lonza Wood Protection
New eucalypt feeding insect established in NZThe red gum lerp psyllid, Glycaspis brimblecombei is now established in New Zealand. The psyllid was originally detected on 5-year-old Eucalyptus camaldulensis in northern Canterbury in early winter 2017. A well-established population appeared to be present and MPI has now stood down its response, opting not to eradicate in this instance.
This psyllid is native to Australia and has invaded eucalypt growing regions around the world, including North and South America, Africa, and Europe. Its hosts are in the Symphyomyrtus sub-genus (favourite food for most euc pests here). The preferred host species is probably E. camaldulensis, while other notable, but less susceptible, hosts are the adult leaf forms of E. nitens and E. globulus.
Red gum lerp adults are efficient dispersers and known overseas to spread rapidly once established. Numbers can rapidly increase, with females recorded laying up to 700 eggs in total in clusters of 50-75. This pest uses its piercing mouth parts to suck sap from its host tree, thereby damaging the host. The juveniles (nymphs) also secrete a distinctive waxy protective cover over themselves, called a lerp. It is unknown how many generations a year this psyllid will complete, but anywhere from two to four is likely based on overseas data.
The most common damage from this pest is leaf discoloration. However, in heavy infestations, severe leaf drop and twig dieback can occur. In California, the severe infestations of this psyllid facilitate the attack of secondary pests, such as long horn beetles (e.g., Phoracantha spp.), and without proper management, severe, repeated attacks can result in tree death. Other nuisance impacts may come from the honeydew the psyllid secretes and the associated sooty mould that grows on it, as well as wasps attracted to the honeydew.
Eucalypts in New Zealand are already hosts to numerous sap sucking psyllids, including the closely related species Glycaspis granulata. Glycaspis granulata is attacked by the self-introduced parasitoid Psyllaephagus bliteus. This very same parasitoid has been introduced into multiple countries to control G. brimblecombei with variable success. Lab experiments overseas have shown this parasitoid can attack and complete development on all juvenile life stages. We consider there is a high likelihood that this parasitoid will be effective here against both hosts. Generalist predators such as ladybirds and spiders are also likely to feed on this psyllid but are unlikely to have a significant impact on pest numbers.
Source: Forest Health News, Scion
Buy and Sell
... and one to end the week on ... a few from Ireland
Paddy and Mick found 3 hand grenades and decided to take them to the police station. Mick "What if one explodes before we get there?"
Paddy: "We'll lie and say we only found two!"
And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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