Friday Offcuts – 14 June 2024

growing info milling transportation forest products

Click to Subscribe - It's FREE!

Welcome to this week's edition of Friday Offcuts.

Mount Gambier continues to invest, with the announcement of a new research facility dedicated to genetically enhancing plantation trees. This exciting development, spearheaded by the South Australian Government in partnership with Tree Breeding Australia, promises to boost productivity and fortify our forests against biosecurity threats.

Meanwhile, the highly anticipated ForestTECH 2024 programme has been unveiled, featuring a global lineup of experts showcasing cutting-edge technologies in remote sensing, forest data capture, inventory management, and more. 

In other news, artificial intelligence is making waves in the industry with its ability to detect individual dead trees from aerial imagery, a breakthrough that could help forest management and wildfire prevention efforts. We also bring you updates on sustainable land use initiatives in Gisborne, Hawke's Bay's award-winning waste management practices, and the latest developments on New Zealand's Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

Finally, with Environmental Forestry 2024 just over a week away, the timing couldn't be more crucial for in-depth discussions on the challenges posed by the current weather, market fluctuations, and evolving regulations. This two-day event in Rotorua promises to be a pivotal gathering for the forestry community.

Read these and more in another packed edition of Friday Offcuts. Enjoy.

Subscribe a friend | Unsubscribe | Advertise Here

Our Partners & Sponsors

Friday Offcuts is made possible through the generous support of the following companies.
We are grateful for this support.

This week we have for you:

Recent Comments

Mt Gambier to lead nation in forestry genetic research

Tree Breeding Australia in Mount Gambier is set to continue to grow as a leader in Australia’s forestry genetics research with thanks to funding committed by Minister for Forest Industries, Clare Scriven.

“Today, the State Government and Tree Breeding Australia (TBA) announced a jointly-funded A$900,000 nationally significant, purpose built and dedicated research facility at Kilsby Road, Mount Gambier, that is set to genetically improve plantation trees to increase productivity and protect against biosecurity threats”, said Mr Nathan Paine, Chief Executive Officer of the South Australian Forest Products Association.

“TBA manages the national cooperative tree improvement programs for radiata pine (softwood) and blue gum (hardwood) plantations and provides scientific expertise and genetic valuation on crops to ensure our foresters are planting the best genetically blessed trees, which in the long-term increases forestry productivity and the supply of wood- fibre to both domestic and international markets”, said Mr Paine.

“Growing plantations isn’t just about planting a tree, watering it, and watching it grow – plantation health and resilience is a major priority for the forestry sector and Tree Breeding Australia, and without TBA’s expertise and valuable input to improve tree genetics, our forest and timber industries would be years behind in innovation and adoption” continued Mr Paine.

“Over the last two years, Minister Scriven and the South Australian Government have invested significantly into the States forestry sector, particularly through the establishment of a Forestry Centre of Excellence, the development of a Wood Fibre and Timber Industry Master Plan, and now the funding needed to deliver Tree Breeding Australia’s research facility expansion”, continued Mr Paine. “Mount Gambier is nationally recognised as a softwood manufacturing hub and is now fast becoming a premier hub of forestry innovation, and we are so pleased to have the Government, industry and stakeholders supporting the future innovation of the forest and timber industries”, concluded Mr Paine.

Source: South Australia Forest Products Association

Comment on story    

Environmental Forestry: Practical people working together

People across the forest industry are facing some of the toughest challenges in the past decade, with weather, markets and regulations all seeking answers. One way for people to make positive change in the face of adversity is to network with others and gain inspiration from sharing success stories that can lead to motivating others in similar roles and circumstances.

On 25-26 July 2024, FIEA’s 3rd Annual Environmental Forestry Conference will do just that. We bring practical foresters together with local regulators and national policy makers to debate and bring constructive change for production forestry and our environment with a focus on practical actions and measurable outcomes. We’ve used your feedback to bring more of what everyone wants to see at this 2024 conference.

We are pleased to announce we have another speaker from Zero Invasive Predators (ZIP). Courtney Hamblin is an experienced pest management specialist. In her role as Adaptive Management Director she works with teams on the ground.

Courtney’s presentation on the Predator Free New Zealand by 2050 (PFNZ) mission which seeks to eliminate predators from the mainland of Aotearoa – a challenge beyond any scale attempted anywhere in the world. ZIP has been instrumental to innovating the tools and techniques that will get us there. She will highlight developments that are enabling predator elimination at scale, and the potential of this work to uplift the carbon sequestration of our native rainforests.

Another key role in supporting sustainability is fostering native species in production forests while carrying our harvesting and other commercial operations.

Meanwhile, a lesser known falcon population has also been studied to monitor health and development in South Island forests. So we are pleased to be hosting Graham Parker, a specialist from Parker Conservation South. The New Zealand falcon / kārearea interacts with plantation forestry operations throughout New Zealand. Sometimes, the results of these interactions are negative for this threatened bird species.

Through FSC many forestry companies are required to mitigate their impact on New Zealand falcons. However there is a shortage of data to guide improved mitigation practices for falcon - forestry interactions. Graham and his team have worked with seven forestry companies in Otago to better quantify the falcon population, the nature of interactions, and provide updated management recommendations for use in FSC, and beyond.

More >>

Environmental Forestry 2024

Comment on story    

Timber framed 91.1% of approved houses in Victoria

Timber framing accounted for 91.1% of all framing in houses approved in Victoria over the year-ended April 2024. The latest analysis of the most comprehensive data available in any Australian jurisdiction shows 30.972 house approvals included timber framing, with ‘no information’ coming in second (4.4%) and steel framing third (3.7%). Over the same period, timber also framed 83.8% of townhouses and an aggregate 89.5% of all dwellings approved in Victoria, including apartments.

IndustryEdge has laboriously reassembled the massive dataset available for Victoria, cleansing the entire data series back to 2009, to inform subscribers and clients of the trends in building materials use in the State’s dwellings. The data is updated monthly in the IndustryEdge database and a range of datasets are being provided to clients interested in timber framing, roofing materials, flooring materials, cladding types and other relevant features.

More >>

Source: IndustryEdge

Comment on story    

ForestTECH 2024 November series programmes live

The eagerly awaited 2024 ForestTECH programme is now out. It’s live. Details on the content and coverage for the 20-21 November Rotorua, NZ event and 26-27 November 2024 event running in Melbourne, Australia the week after, can now be found on the ForestTECH 2024 website.

The annual end-of-year forest technology series every year, continues to draw in foresters and resource managers from across Australasia. In recent years, well over 300 delegates have been involved. As evidenced by recent growth and turnouts of delegates, both live and virtual, from over 15 counties, it has a well- deserved and now truly international standing amongst the global forest community.

Feedback from last year’s ForestTECH 2023 delegates overwhelmingly said that the 2024 event should stick with the same two themes that have been developed and used so successfully over the last few years. Remote sensing, forest data capture and inventory management have been the core focus since the annual Australian technology series began back in 2007. And since 2020, with remote sensing and machine automation increasingly being integrated into silvicultural operations, new innovations around tree crop management, automated silviculture (including mechanised planting, thinning and pruning operations) and forest establishment have again been added to the series.

ForestTECH 2024 will include research and trial results, insights into new and developing technologies and key lessons from industry early adopters on the practical integration of some of these new technologies into their forest operations. This year, we’ve also delighted to be able to bring the local industry some truly innovative approaches that have just been developed from technology providers and users from across New Zealand, Australia, Finland, Sweden, USA, Canada and South Africa. If interested, take an early peek and check out the programmes for both countries on the ForestTECH 2024 website.

Further details and regular updates re content will follow. Note: Exhibition spaces at this event often book out. If looking early on at saving an exhibition space, either in Rotorua or Melbourne, please make contact with FIEA’s Marketing & Sponsorship Manager, Gordon Thomson or Tel: +64 27 275 8022.

Comment on story    

Gisborne District Council seeking feedback on future land use

Moving towards more sustainable forestry and farming practices on our steep and erosion-prone land is at the forefront of environmental concerns in the Tairāwhiti region. Recent severe weather events have highlighted the urgent need to align land use practices on this land to protect our rivers and coastal environments.

Gisborne District Council Chief Executive, Nedine Thatcher Swann, says one of Council’s goals is to identify the worst eroding land across the region and transition it to permanent vegetation cover.

“However, we have a lot of work to do before we get to that point. Our community is well aware that during heavy rain events, our land and rivers face significant risks. For the last 10 years, forestry harvesting on steep and erosion-prone land followed by severe weather events has generated excessive sediment and woody debris in our waterways."

“The aftermath of cyclones Hale and Gabrielle in 2023 have revealed the limitations of the National Environmental Standard for Commercial Forestry (NES-CF) in addressing these risks for Tairāwhiti,” Ms Thatcher Swann said.

Since Cyclone Gabrielle there has been more than $16 million spent of central government money removing the large woody debris from rivers and other coastal areas in Tairāwhiti.

“The only way Council can manage land use sustainably is through the review of the Tairāwhiti Resource Management Plan (TRMP).”

Ms Thatcher Swann says because of the complexity of the issue, a multifaceted approach to improving our waterways has been proposed.

“Council’s approach is to establish long-term vegetation on slopes where clear-fell harvesting is simply not sustainable, while supporting plantation forestry on land where clear-fell harvesting regimes can be sustained.

Council is still in the early stages of consultation and feedback from the forestry sector, other stakeholders and the wider community and this will be considered before making decisions on the rule changes.

More >>

Source: Gisborne District Council

Comment on story    

June 2024 NZ market update

Opinion Piece: Marcus Musson, Director, Forest360

Brace yourself folks, we’re entering new territory. June export prices have come out with only a very slight rise on May, which was only a very slight rise on April, so basically flat at the bottom of the cycle. This is the first time in the last 15 years that we haven’t seen a price bounce once the bottom of the market is hit. Sure, there have been instances where it was a dead cat bounce which resulted in a double dip, but this time Fluffy’s stayed flat on the deck. Fortunately, the bottom of this cycle (which it hopefully is) is around $15/m3 higher than any of the dips in the last 8 years but, nevertheless, it’s still painful.

There has been positive movement in the CFR price (sales price in China) with a lift of around $US10/m3 over the past three months but increases in shipping and FOREX have taken the fun out of the party. Chinese on-port inventory has moved lower in June and currently sits around the 3.4Mm3 mark, down 600K/m3 from May. Uplift from ports is running at around 70K/m3 per day, although this is expected to drop as China enters its hot season and some of the workforce return to home to harvest crops during June. In addition, construction sites must cease work for a few days in early June during the high school exams to reduce noise pollution – imagine trying that in NZ!

As expected, the NZ supply is starting to wind back as the Taupo windthrow salvage finishes and what’s left of the woodlot sector slows as the rains start. There are still some older cargos in China that will need to be worked through, but with reduced supply we would expect to see inventories continue on a downward trajectory. It may not be heading down as fast as Synlait’s share price, but any movement is good for potential price increases.

There has been some good news on the Chinese construction front with the Government putting their ‘Three Major Projects’ development plan into action. This plan includes construction of affordable housing, renovation of urban villages and construction of recreational facilities that can be converted into emergency hospitals or accommodation. 

NZ will see three vessels’ head to India in June and there is the potential that demand may increase somewhat in that market. It’s still only early days with supply back into India, and volumes are pale in comparison with China’s monthly tally of 40 odd vessels, but from a supply perspective, anything that’s not heading to China will have a positive effect in the long term.

Domestic sawmills continue to wade through a softening market with NZ residential construction spending reducing from 6.1 billion to 5.3 billion over the past three quarters. This softness is likely to continue as long as our esteemed Reserve Bank Governor keeps the OCR in top gear, and it doesn’t look like the clutch will start slipping until we’re well into 2025. Domestic pruned log supply remains higher than expected as export pruned prices stay subdued and sales that would normally go over the wharf are diverted into the domestic market. This trend will turn quickly once export prices regain some momentum.

More >>

Source: Forest360

WoodTECH News banner

Comment on story    

AI used to detect dead trees before 2020 California wildfires

Scientists at the University of Copenhagen may have uncovered a hidden factor behind California's devastating 2020 wildfires. By applying artificial intelligence (AI) to high-resolution aerial imagery, they created an unprecedented dataset mapping the mortality of individual trees across the entire state. This revealed widespread tree death, both in clusters and scattered among living trees, on a scale far greater than previously understood.

Climate change has thrust forests into the global spotlight, with both positive and devastating consequences. While initiatives to plant trees and expand forests gain momentum for their carbon-capturing potential, massive wildfires fueled by drought and rising temperatures have impacted communities and ecosystems. California, a state hit hard by these dual threats, saw 4% of its land consumed by flames in 2020.

Now, in a study published in Nature Communications, researchers present a new perspective on the health of California's forests. Their findings expose a significant undercount of dead trees throughout the state, potentially offering a critical new explanation for the extent and intensity of the 2020 wildfires. This AI-powered model not only deepens our understanding of tree mortality but could also pave the way for better forest management and wildfire prevention strategies worldwide.

More >>


ForestTECH News banner

Comment on story    

Guulabaa Place of Koala wins international design award

Guulabaa – Place of Koala in Cowarra State Forest has won the Gensler Community by Design Award, thanks to the collaborative efforts of Gensler Australia, Forestry Corporation of NSW, Koala Conservation Australia, WildNets, Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council and Hello Koalas Sculpture Trail. The Gensler Community by Design Award recognises projects that showcase the transformative impact of design excellence in a community.

Guulabaa – Place of Koala is a tourism precinct on the NSW Mid North Coast offering visitors opportunities to learn about koala conservation, Aboriginal culture, modern forestry, have a treetop adventure, relax and enjoy forest walks or picnic under the eye of The Big Koala sculpture. Guulabaa means ‘place of koala’ in local Gathang, the language of the Biripi people, the Traditional Owners of the land on which Guulabaa sits.

Architectural firm Gensler Australia assembled talent from diverse design fields to inform the project for client Forestry Corporation of NSW, whilst also fostering close collaboration with Guulabaa project partners, local community and the timber industry.

Integral to the award is the Gensler-designed ‘The Hub,’ a series of unique hardwood timber decks which draw the visitor into the trees and provide a koala’s perspective of the forest. ‘The Hub’ links Koala Conservation Australia’s wild koala breeding facility, Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council café and gallery, Wildnets Adventure and Hello Koalas ‘The Big Koala’, whilst also providing an outdoor amphitheatre and connection to the forest picnic area and walking tracks.

“Winning the 2024 Community by Design Award for Guulabaa Hub underscores the power of regenerative design. This project not only honours Aboriginal cultural heritage and 60,000 years of innovation but also exemplifies our commitment to environmental stewardship and community-based architecture. We are thankful for the valuable knowledge and experience gained through our partnerships with Koala Conservation Australia (KCA), WildNets, Forestry Corp., builder Frank Maione, TTW, E- Lab, Cundall, MBM and Tensile,” said Gensler Design Director, Ken McBryde

“Engaging with native forest product manufacturers including Big River Timbers and Coffs Harbour Hardwoods allowed us to harness their specialist expertise and capabilities, significantly reducing our project's carbon footprint. A standout experience was learning and designing on Country with Bunyah Local Aboriginal Land Council, which profoundly enriched our understanding and design approach. We are immensely grateful for the invaluable insights gained from all our partners,” Mr McBryde said.

Forestry Corporation of NSW is integral to the project, having gained NSW Government grant funding for creation of ‘The Hub’ and engineering partnerships with local timber suppliers.

A video is also available.

More >>

Source and image credit: Forestry Corporation of NSW

Comment on story    

Recovery taskforce recognised for clean-up effort

Hawke’s Bay’s Silt Recovery Taskforce has been recognised by New Zealand’s waste minimisation body for its sustainable approach to clean up silt and debris after Cyclone Gabrielle. The Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) and Hastings District Council (HDC) initiative received the ‘Most Sustainable/ Innovative Waste Disposal Initiative’ award at last week’s WasteMINZ conference in Hamilton.
The Government-funded Taskforce has collaborated with a number of organisations to re-purpose, re-use or recycle materials collected from productive land impacted by flooding. Silt has been used to level out or elevate sites, woody debris has been mulched, composted, or chipped for road cover, damaged orchard posts have been repurposed by Repost into 90kms of farm fencing, and tyres and water tanks shredded and recycled.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council Chair, Hinewai Ormsby said that through collaboration between the two councils and a range of local organisations, the Taskforce has been able to take a leadership role in the region’s recovery. “By working alongside impacted communities, championing community clean-up days and finding innovative solutions, the Taskforce has demonstrated that, even in the wake of a disaster like Cyclone Gabrielle, a sustainable approach to waste management is possible,” said Chair Ormsby.

Hastings Mayor, Sandra Hazlehurst said about 2.76 million tonnes of flood waste has so far been separated and removed from more than 800 affected properties. “From the start, the Taskforce has been committed to diverting as much away from landfill as possible, which has not only reduced the burden on the landfill, but has kept costs down, while creating materials that have helped others in our community as our region recovers,” said the Mayor.
Taskforce lead, Darren de Klerk collected the award alongside HDC and HBRC staff who have worked with the taskforce and says the calibre of entries was outstanding. “We were so proud to have the efforts of all the contractors and locals that have helped achieve this sustainable approach recognised on a national stage,” he said.
The Taskforce aims to complete all silt collections by the end of July, and collection sites fully de-commissioned by the end of 2024.

Source and image credit: Inside Government

Friday Offcuts Advertise Here

Comment on story    

SnapSTAT - New Zealand Log Exports: by Port

New Zealand Plantation Forestry Highlights: We had 1,757,451 ha in estimated net stocked plantation forest area at 1 April 2022. This was an increase in the plantation forest area of 17,480 ha from 1 April 2021.

Source: 2022/23 NZ Facts & Figures, Forest Owners Association

More: here 

Comment on story    

Farming to remain outside NZ’s ETS

Expert Reaction

The NZ coalition government has announced greenhouse gases from agriculture will not be covered in the country’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) next year. Cabinet is also disestablishing primary sector climate action partnership He Waka Eke Noa from today, and will instead develop a new “Pasture Sector Group”. The announcement also included further investment in technologies to lower on-farm emissions.

The SMC asked experts to comment on the news.

Dr Sebastian Gehricke, Director, Climate and Energy Finance Group; Senior Lecturer, Finance, University of Otago, Ōtākou Whakaihu Waka, comments: “Agriculture, making up about half of our national emissions, has never been included in the ETS, so this is really just a stop in plans to price agricultural emissions. These were meant to be priced in their own scheme or enter the ETS by 2025. Really what is happening now is just avoiding the pricing of these emissions.

“The National Party has previously stated that the ETS is their single policy tool to fight climate change, yet they are not enabling it to be that tool, by fixing the issues in the ETS. Further, if half our emissions remain outside of the ETS and are not priced, how can this tool impact those emissions at all?

More >>

Source: Science Media Centre

Comment on story    

Kenworth unveils futuristic SuperTruck 2

Kenworth showcased its SuperTruck 2 demonstrator vehicle at the Advanced Clean Transportation (ACT) Expo in Las Vegas last month, a project developed over six years in collaboration with the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) SuperTruck programme. The aim of the project was to challenge truck makers to improve freight efficiency using a diesel engine as the main power source.

Jim Walenczak, general manager of Kenworth and PACCAR vice president says the goal was a 100% freight efficiency improvement over the 2009 Kenworth T660. “We surpassed that model’s performance to improve efficiency by up to 136%.

The SuperTruck 2 achieved this through a combination of enhanced fuel efficiency, up to 18.3 litres per 100km, and a reduction in weight by around 3175kg, enabling greater payload capacity with an ultra-fuel-efficient tractor-trailer combination. “SuperTruck 2 allowed us to investigate new technologies early on, enabling quicker commercialisation,” Walenczak added.

The distinctive look of the Kenworth is striking, but the powertrain and driver amenities are equally impressive. Joe Adams, Kenworth’s chief engineer, says the team “started with an ideal aerodynamic shape for the SuperTruck 2, aiming to push the limits in reducing aerodynamic drag while incorporating a new powertrain”.

Kenworth’s SuperTruck 2 employs a PACCAR MX-11 engine, rated at 440hp, paired with a PACCAR TX-12 automated transmission. It also features a 48-volt electric generator, creating a mild hybrid system that leverages next-generation lithium-ion batteries recharged through regenerative braking. The system powers electric fans, steering, and coolant and HVAC pumps, previously driven mechanically, while also offering an overnight engine-off ‘hoteling’ solution.

The truck also features a “centre driver” cab and a new sleeper compartment, resembling a bullet train. Jonathan Duncan, Kenworth’s design director, remarked, “We wanted to show something dynamic and futuristic. Our headlamps occupy the entire front fender, making it striking on the road.”

The design allows for a 48% reduction in drag compared to Kenworth’s baseline vehicle, and the layout is powertrain agnostic, supporting zero and near-zero emission solutions like fuel cells and hydrogen tanks. Meanwhile, Adams highlighted the importance of payload efficiency, noting the combination weighs 11,838kg, saving over three tonnes compared to a typical tractor-trailer. “This enables fleets to carry more goods or reduce weight for better efficiency.”

More >>

Source: transporttalk

HarvestTECH News banner

Comment on story    

AFPA welcomes newly appointed VFPA CEO Andrew White

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) is pleased to welcome new Victorian Forest Products Association (VFPA) CEO, Andrew White to the role ahead of his commencement in late August 2024, AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Diana Hallam said.

“On behalf of AFPA and the broader industry, I welcome Andrew’s appointment as VFPA CEO and look forward to his advocacy for Victoria’s forest products sector as it seeks to meet numerous challenges and opportunities,” Diana Hallam said.

Andrew has spent his career working with peak bodies in the NFP sector, including as Deputy CEO of AUSVEG, and he brings considerable expertise in government and media relations, corporate strategy, crisis management and business development. We are delighted to have Andrew on board,” VFPA Chair Rob Hescock said.

“I’m very much looking forward to joining VFPA and working with what is one of Victoria’s most important primary industry sectors. From growers through to processors and right across the supply chain, VFPA has an important role representing forestry industries that will only become more critical in the future,” Andrew White said. “I also thank outgoing VFPA CEO Deb Kerr for her commitment to bettering the Victorian sector through some very challenging times for industry over the past few years. Deb has worked tirelessly on behalf of industry,” Diana Hallam concluded.

Andrew White will commence as VFPA CEO on 26 August 2024. 

Source: The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA)

Comment on story    


Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on… the hotel bug

The hotel bug

A honeymooning couple is in the Watergate Hotel in Washington. The bride is concerned about the room being bugged.

The groom says, "I'll look for a bug."

He looks behind the drapes, behind the pictures, under the rug. "A-HA!". Under the rug was a disc with four screws. He gets his Swiss army knife, unscrews the screws, and throws them and the disc out the window.

The next morning, the hotel manager asks the newlyweds, "How was your room? How was the service? How was your stay at the Watergate Hotel?"

The groom says, "Why are you asking me all of these questions?"

The hotel manager says, "Well, the room under you complained of the chandelier falling on them!"

And one more... hard work pays off

  1. Hard work pays off in the future; laziness pays off now.
  2. I intend to live forever... So far, so good.
  3. What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
  4. My mechanic told me, "I couldn't repair your brakes, so I made your horn louder."
  5. Why do psychics have to ask you your name?
  6. Experience is something you don't get until just after you need it.
  7. The hardness of the butter is proportional to the softness of the bread.
  8. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism; to steal from many is research.
  9. The problem with the gene pool is that there is no lifeguard.
  10. The sooner you fall behind, the more time you'll have to catch up.
  11.  Everyone has a photographic memory; some just don't have film.
  12. If at first you don't succeed, skydiving is not for you.
  13. If your car could travel at the speed of light, would your headlights work?

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Ken Wilson
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Web page:

This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

Brand Partners

Our Partners & Sponsors

Friday Offcuts is made possible through the generous support of the following companies.
We are grateful for this support.

We welcome comments and contributions on Friday Offcuts. For details on advertising for positions within the forest products industry or for products and services, either within the weekly newsletter or on this web page, please contact us.

Subscribe! It's Free!
Advertise Here
Copyright 2004-2024 © Innovatek Ltd. All rights reserved