Friday Offcuts – 16 July 2021

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In New Zealand, for a number of years now, Wood Councils have worked together with local log transport companies at primary schools in their regions. They were originally run as part of a “Share the Road” campaign and more recently, under the “Wood is Good” branding. Very strong programmes have been set up and are being delivered to schools (most of which have been selected where log trucks are being encountered by students and their families on local roads) throughout the East Coast, Northland and Central North Island. The concept has been picked up now by other regions with funding being supplied through the Ministry for Primary Industries and the Forest Growers Levy Trust.

The concept though has always been the same, focusing on road safety and also picking up the opportunity, at a very early age, of sharing with students what forestry is all about and what it means to the local community. The campaign has been very successful in reaching out to the hearts and minds of the communities in which our industry is operating. We’ve included this week a small snap shot of three school visits that have been recently held in the Otago region of New Zealand. Links to the “Wood is Good” site, the current programme and resources that are available, are contained in the story below.

This week we’ve covered Australia’s recently opened wood processing plant, the world’s first certified plantation hardwood CLT plant. In it we take a closer look at the company’s founder - a pretty rare insight you’d have to admit into an industry that’s traditionally been rather guarded in speaking out publicly and business owners who usually keep pretty much to themselves. Ron Goldschlager’s family has worked in the timber industry for more than seven consecutive generations. He plans on creating a new industry based on Eucalyptus plantations. The new operation, Cusp Building Solutions he says is not just about engineered timber, “it’s a concept with an appetite for smarter solutions – it’s pursuing the cutting edge of the built environment and it’s aiming to make dreams into realities”. Check out the link to the full story in this week’s issue.

And finally, New Zealand Ute owners, land owners, farmers and tradies, are protesting today on what they say are “unworkable Government regulations”. The tipping point for the rural community has been the “Clean Car Discount scheme” that was announced for electric vehicles on 13 June. Despite their opposition to the Ute tax, the first factory built commercial electric truck in the southern hemisphere has just hit the road in New Zealand. It’s the first of many being planned by the company. The TR Group, which leases heavy vehicles to transport and logistics companies across the country has also just ordered 110 electric trucks that are expected to be delivered over the next two years.

And in Europe, three trucking heavyweights have just announced that they’re investing 500 million Euros to install and operate at least 1,700 high-performance green energy charging points close to highways as well as at logistic and destination points over the next five years. For all these companies, they’re banking on the future of trucking being electric, especially for long-distance heavy-duty transport.



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Behind the scenes of the new hardwood CLT operation

In a recent issue we covered details on the world’s first hardwood Cross Laminated Timber (CLT), along with their new brand – Cusp Building Solutions. Cusp CLT is made from Tasmanian Plantation Oak (Eucalyptus Nitens) sourced from certified sustainable plantations grown in Tasmania. It’s the first CLT in Australia to have achieved Engineered Wood Products of Australia certification (EWPAA).

On 29 June, the world’s first certified plantation hardwood CLT was officially launched. Over 75 people gathered to celebrate this milestone and some highlights have been posted for those unable to make it. This week, in addition to covering the official launch, we profile the company’s founder, Ron Goldschlager.

Ron Goldschlager is a problem solver. A qualified chemical engineer of Jewish faith, he is driven by an intense ethical compass and an intrinsic need to improve the world. His family have worked in the timber industry for more than seven consecutive generations.

Ron continues in this tradition, innovating and adapting his businesses within the ever-changing marketplace. Ron has diversified his Hermal Group into the new world economy of sustainability. Initially inspired by the political environment of protecting & conserving old-growth hardwood forests from commercial harvesting, Ron sought to create a new industry based upon Eucalyptus plantations.

Recognising that there was a global shortage of timber and that Australia was importing vast volumes of building material and exporting vast volumes of plantation Eucalyptus hardwood logs & woodchips, he could see a problem that needed to be solved.

As timber has risen to the fore as a solution in the fight to tackle climate change, offsetting its enormous carbon storage benefits by freighting it across the planet seemed absurd. Turning his attention to our country’s vast hardwood plantation resource, he has done what none other has achieved before him.

As timber has risen to the fore as a solution in the fight to tackle climate change, offsetting its enormous carbon storage benefits by freighting it across the planet seemed absurd. Turning his attention to our country’s vast hardwood plantation resource, he has done what none other has achieved before him.

Ron has turned a forest-based raw material being sold as woodchips into the world’s first plantation hardwood CLT. Ron called this CLTP, the ‘P’ emphasizing the “New Supply Line” approach from plantation to projects by and for the people.

Cusp Building Solutions is not just about engineered timber. It is a concept with an appetite for smarter solutions, founded to pursue the cutting edge of the built environment and to make dreams into realities.

More>>

Source & Photo: Cusp

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Largest seedling dispatch following $1M upgrade

A record four million seedling dispatch has kicked off from Forestry Corporation of NSW’s Grafton nursery, which following the site’s AU$1 million expansion in 2020. The nursery expansion was part of the NSW Government’s stimulus funding and will fast-track efforts to replant timber plantations affected by fires in the 2019-20 Black Summer.

The work has meant the nursery will have the largest dispatch on record this year, said Forestry Corporation’s Nursery Manager, Kath French. “We’ve now doubled our Grafton production by installing new growing frames and irrigation systems, thanks to the stimulus funding from the NSW Government,” Ms French said. “The expansion means the nursery can grow up to four million seedlings for replanting, eclipsing the record 2.3 million dispatched earlier in 2020.

“The expansion also meant we could employ seven more people in seasonal positions, supporting local employment.” The Grafton Production Nursery grows a mix of pine and eucalyptus seedlings to replant State Forest timber plantations on the north coast. “These seedlings will be grown for around 35 years to supply renewable timber for the next generation’s homes and infrastructure,” Ms French said.

This work is part of the AU$46 million equity injection and is part of the larger NSW Government AU$100 million COVID stimulus package, designed to directly stimulate economies in regional NSW. This equity injection has seen investment to support the forestry industry and support recovering regional communities, said Forestry Corporation Acting CEO Anshul Chaudhary.

“Over the last 12 months, the equity injection has seen Forestry Corporation repair priority damaged public infrastructure, expand our Grafton and Blowering nurseries and start replanting bushfire-affected State forests.”

Photo: Forestry Corporation Nursery Manager, Kath French

Source: Forestry Corporation NSW



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Aussie sawmills lead employment surge

Australia’s timber framing sawmills have increased employment by up to 25 per cent to meet demand fueled by the COVID-induced building boom, according to new analysis by the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA). This stands in stark contrast to reported OECD global trends suggesting timber processing employment will fall by 18 per cent over 2019-2024. AFPA Chief Executive Officer Ross Hampton said forest product processing in Australia is booming with the insatiable demand for Aussie-made sustainable building products.

Source: AFPA



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Unique opportunity for young foresters & students

Very rarely do you get anything for free. Here is one offer though. This new opportunity comes with a free conference registration for two days, refreshments and for those outside of the central North Island of New Zealand, travel and accommodation costs that could be met as well. Last year, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) teamed up with the WIDE Trust, a charitable Trust formed in 2018 that supports the development and education in New Zealand’s forestry and wood industry sectors to make the special offer.

FIEA conferences and exhibitions have set a benchmark for years. They’re the leading series of technology related events in this part of the world where new and emerging technologies, operating practices and research are able to be regularly showcased to local companies. They’re always well supported. After 20 years, they’ve been able to build up strong communities of like-minded individuals that meet up once a year – or every second year. Newsletters, have been set up to complement the tech events with three industry-focused monthly newsletters going out each month now to around 6,000 readers for each newsletter.

So, what’s being offered?

To help out younger employees, recent graduates and new entrants into the industry, places for six young employees or students to attend this year’s ForestTECH 2021 technology event are being offered. So, free beer and food as well as the opportunity of learning about new technology, staying abreast with the very latest in research and operating practices, learning about emerging technologies (within and outside our own industry) and networking (with senior management, tech providers and your counterparts from across the country). Now that’s an offer just too good not to look at further.

The event, ForestTECH 2021, is planned to run in Rotorua, New Zealand on 23-24 November 2021. Details can be found on the event website, www.foresttech.events/ft21.

Conditions:

Applicants for the six places have to be actively employed within the forestry industry or in a recognised training scheme, apprenticeship or course. To ensure the package is targeting the right person, the applicants should also be 35 years or younger.

What do I do if interested?

Places will be filled on a first in-first served basis, provided the eligibility criteria have been met. So, if keen on picking up one of the six available spaces for the upcoming ForestTECH 2021 event, please make contact with brent.apthorp@fiea.org.nz BEFORE Friday 30 July. In addition to expressing your interest to attend, we’d also like you to provide us with a couple of paragraphs (no more) on;

1. Why the content within this year’s ForestTECH 2021 event is of interest to your current studies/current duties or plans for your future career? and,

2. What you hope to get out of your attendance at this year’s ForestTECH 2021 event.

We look forward to hearing back from you.





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Nominations called for Richard Stanton Award

Responsible Wood is calling for nominations for this year’s coveted Richard Stanton Memorial Award for Excellence in Forest Management or Chain of Custody. This is the seventh year of the award which pays tribute to a man who devoted his life to sustainable forest management in Australia and internationally.

Richard Stanton was CEO and national secretary of Australian Forestry Standard Ltd (now Responsible Wood), and had a number of key roles with the Australian Plantation Products and Paper Industry Council, the Australian Paper Industry Council, Plantation Timber Association of Australia, National Association of Forest Industries, and State Forests NSW.

Nominations for the award are open to individuals who have contributed significantly to either forest management or chain-of-custody certification under the Responsible Wood certification program. The award nominees will be those who have contributed to sustainable forest management under AS4708 or chain of custody under AS4707.

The award is open to, but not restricted to, forest owners and managers; chain-of-custody certificate holders; staff of certification bodies; forest scientists and researchers; and designers of products manufactured from sustainable timber.

The award also carries a $2000 bursary prize. Nominations for the award close at Friday 5pm (AEST)1 October 2021. For more information on the award (including criteria), click here

Source: Responsible Wood

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Restocking fish in US lakes – from the air

Thought this story would appeal to the fishermen, fisherwomen and land managers out there. Fish are being dropped by the thousands from planes over lakes in Utah, US, and footage of the aerial descent has become a guilty pleasure on social media.

State officials say the strange, but officially sanctioned, practice is part of an ”extreme fish stocking” programme that dumps up to 35,000 fish at a time over “high elevation lakes across the state”. The video below of a recent drop shows the fish are literally spewed from the underbelly of planes – and then free-fall to earth.



“The fish are between 2.5-7.6cm long, so they flutter down slowly to the water,” the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources reported. “These lakes are not accessible by vehicle and other means of stocking.” Officials say they’ve been air dropping fish into lakes since the 1950s, and the survival rate is more than 95 per cent.

The state’s video has got nearly 100,000 views, inspiring every imaginable “skydiving fish” pun. There has also been growing speculation over what it’s like to get smacked in the head by the fish, with some people trying to calculate the force at which fish hit the water.

State officials didn’t say if anyone had ever been hit in a fish drop, but noted the hefty payload of fish and water weighs several hundred pounds.

Source: Stuff



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European charging network for electric trucks

Leading European commercial vehicle manufacturers have signed a non-binding agreement to install and operate a public charging network for battery electric, heavy-duty, long-haul trucks and coaches across Europe. The agreement lays the foundation of a future joint venture (JV) - equally owned by the three parties; the Traton Group with its brands Scania and MAN, as well as Daimler Truck and Volvo Group.

The commercial vehicle partners will together invest 500 million Euros to install and operate at least 1,700 high-performance green energy charging points close to highways as well as at logistic and destination points, within five years from the establishment of the JV.

With time, plans are to increase the number of charging points significantly, by seeking additional partners as well as public funding. The future joint venture is planned to operate under its own corporate identity and be based in Amsterdam, Netherlands.

The joint action addresses the urgent need for a high-performance charging network to support truck operators with their transition to CO₂-neutral transport solutions, especially in heavy-duty long-distance trucking. High-performance charging infrastructure enabling long-haul trucking is a cost-efficient way towards significant, fast-to-realise emission reductions.

“For the Traton Group it is clear that the future of transport is electric. This requires the rapid development of publicly accessible charging points, especially for long-distance heavy-duty transport,” says Matthias Gründler, CEO Traton Group, continuing: “We now make the first step to accelerate the transition towards sustainable, fossil free transport. The second step should be a strong engagement of the EU for the full scale-up of a charging network across Europe.”

As a clear signal towards all stakeholders, the charging network will be open and the charging points will be compatible with all commercial vehicles in Europe, regardless of brand.

Source: Scania



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Proposal for Australian forest growers levy rate increase

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has submitted a proposal to the Assistant Minister for Forestry and Fisheries Senator Jonno Duniam for an increase to the forest growers levy rates and the introduction of a new threshold.

At the request of forest growers, AFPA undertook extensive consultations in accordance with the Levy guidelines: How to establish or amend agricultural levies (2020) with potential forest grower levy payers. The issues covered were a new RD&E levy, increasing the PHA biosecurity levy and the introduction of a 20,000m3 exemption threshold.

Over 95 per cent of forest growers levy payers by log volume supported:

• A new RD&E levy component to be set at $0.035 per m3 in the first year of introduction, $0.06 per m3 in year two and $0.085 per m3 in the third and subsequent years;

• an increase to the Plant Health Australia biosecurity levy component of $0.045 per m3; and

• the creation of a volume-based levy exemption threshold for growers producing less than 20,000 m3.

In addition to the above, AFPA is also seeking the removal of the regulatory cap on voluntary matched funding. Since 2015, the forest and wood products industry has been the only rural industry subject to a regulatory cap on voluntary matching funding, currently set at $1.659 million per annum. AFPA members are seeking to have this cap removed so that additional research, development, and extension projects can be funded within the limits of the 0.5 per cent of Gross Value of Production of the sector, in line with other primary industries.

30 Day objection period

As part of the process to increase the levy, AFPA must hold a minimum 30-business day objection period.

This period will run from the 14 July to 28 August 2021

If you are a potential forest growers levy payer and you have any objections to the proposal, you can provide your feedback via three options below:

• AFPA (02) 6285 3833 or forestgrowerslevy@ausfpa.com.au
• Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment leviestaskforce@awe.gov.au
• Assistant Minister Duniam duniam@aph.gov.au

Any feedback can be provided anonymously if preferred or it will be responded to directly. If submitting an objection include the reasons for an objection to part or all of a proposal. The submission can be found here.

Source: AFPA

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Re-imagining the forest products supply chain

In the latest episode of FWPA’s WoodChat podcast series, listeners will hear about a research project that took an in-depth look at the various elements of Australia’s log and woodchip export supply chain, and how it can most effectively be managed.

The team behind the comprehensive FWPA-supported study reviewed optimum conditions for logs during storage, haulage and at ports. Their findings are now being used to identify solutions and innovations for an enhanced and more cost-effective timber export process.

Dr Mohammad-Reza Ghaffariyan of the University of the Sunshine Coast, who oversaw the multi-pronged project, said there had been a lack of research into the forestry industry’s export supply chain in Australia and globally. “We wanted to identify and implement innovative methods, technologies and management practices to help build a more efficient and sustainable supply chain in Australia, with a particular focus on exports,” Dr Ghaffariyan said.

Extensive industry consultation was undertaken with a steering committee comprising representatives from 12 partner organisations to determine the most important and relevant research activities. These activities were then progressed to the research and testing phase.

During the episode, hosts Sam and Georgia speak to a number of researchers involved with various aspects of the project. These include the potential benefits of various tag, track and trace systems, and the accuracy of automated measurement methods for stacked logs on trucks.

The researchers also discuss work around the impacts of factors such as debarking and storage location on moisture content and sapstain incidence in pine log stacks, as well as the potential of wood loading technologies and the use of containers at port.

WoodChat represents FWPA’s ongoing commitment to engaging ways of communicating news and innovations to the industry and beyond. Each episode includes in-depth conversations with experts on recent discoveries and current initiatives.

You can listen to WoodChat on Soundcloud, iTunes and Spotify.

Source: FWPA

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Wood is Good on the road down South

The first day of the forestry industry’s Wood is Good roadshow in the lower South Island started at Outram School for 176 Students, Principal Kim Allan and about 8 other teachers. Dynes Transport provided a log truck and manager Calum McCreath along with their driver to spend the whole day showing classes around and though their log truck.

Wenita Forest Products kindly sponsored high vis vests for the entire school and H&S manager, Willie Sinclair spent the morning talking at the whole assembly, providing a drone flying demonstration on the sports field for the entire school and going class to class explaining what a forester does. The purpose of these sessions is to explain to both students and teachers how forestry works in New Zealand, what a forester does, how much forestry contributes to their local community and how wood products are made and used in everyday life in New Zealand.

Bringing a log truck to a school provides much excitement for students, many of whom have never seen one up close, and day two of our roadshow at Port Chalmers School was no exception. Teachers and 115 students lined up to have a turn sitting in the truck and touching and counting the growth rings on the logs. Giving out spot prizes of rolls of toilet paper created great hilarity in the assembly and City Forests staff Kent Chalmers and Matt Cotterrell were excellent ambassadors for our sector handing out the sponsored vests, with Matt flying his drone on the tennis courts and walking classes round the grounds giving tree talks on the differing exotic and native species.

MPI staff member Erica Smith entertained younger students with book reading from our “Fred the Forester” series, getting students to point out things in their class made of wood, and answering questions like, “How is paper made?” Older classes were treated to careers talks from Kent Chalmers and class discussions on how forestry works in Otago along with tree measurement. Dynes Transport staff Des and Dray were very patient showing classes around their truck and giving a whole day of time off the road, these volunteer sessions are not without cost to these businesses.

Day three of Wood is Good saw the team travel to the old forestry town of Tapanui, where Ernslaw One staff Phil de la Mare and Mark Dean attended the assembly for 85 students and completed the drone flying demonstration along with the sponsored vests. Dynes Transport local office is located in Tapanui and when students were asked who had family members working in forestry, many put their hands up. Part of including the local forestry and transport companies in these sessions is to reinforce the fact that these local communities have many working in our sector.

Erica Smith from the Invercargill MPI office attended and gave her time reading to younger students and participating in tree walks around the school grounds, adding her knowledge to the facts about native and deciduous trees. Again, Dynes Transport donated a whole day of their loaded log truck to rotate classes out while Calum talked them through the logs and safety issues.

Wood is Good is an MPI and FGLT funded national primary school’s program. Coordinated by all 8 Wood Councils across New Zealand and lead by Erica Kinder and the Southern North Island Wood Council. Erica has travelled to most of these days across NZ, bringing forestry books, wooden toys, colouring in competitions and brochures designed for primary schools around forestry. There are always rolls of toilet paper to hand out at assemblies along with showing the “Log Truck Safety Video” designed for the program by Erica.

For Southland there are 2 further days planned for later in the year around Invercargill with forestry company Rayonier, McNeil Distribution and DT King Transport. These are nearly always a full day at a school with an assembly followed by drone flying demonstration, then classroom sessions with Erica and the forestry team while classes view the log truck and talk safety.

The future of this pilot program is unknown as IBT funding runs out in 2021. The huge update in schools across New Zealand has shown the great need for these presentations and explanations around our sector, and with a waiting list of schools for 2022, we can only hope that this program is continued to be supported with funding. Follow the journey of the team on Facebook as they travel across New Zealand.

For further information check out;

www.woodisgood.co.nz

https://www.facebook.com/Woodisgoodnz

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Labour shifts goalposts on forestry goal

Labour has quietly shifted the goalposts on its first campaign promise of the 2020 campaign, a policy that would make it more difficult to plant swathes of New Zealand’s prime food-producing land in trees to harvest carbon credits.

Last July, Labour's rural communities spokesman Kieran McAnulty and Forestry spokesman Stuart Nash promised that within six months of the next Government being formed, Labour would amend National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry to allow councils to determine for themselves what classes of land can be used for plantation and carbon forests.

Resource consent would have been required for plantation forests to be grown on land known as "elite soils", land which has a Land Use Capability Class of 1-5. Land of a higher ranking, deemed less essential for food production, could still be used for forestry as now.

The policy responded to fears from some rural communities that the high price of carbon under the emissions trading scheme was encouraging swathes of the countryside to be planted in pine trees. As the price of carbon rose, it became more economical to convert productive farmland to pine forests.

That original policy has been canned, as has the six-month deadline, which expired two months ago. However, both Nash and McAnulty said the Government will still enact policy to get the right trees planted in the right parts of rural New Zealand. The Government is delaying the work while it worked up a response to the Climate Change Commission's advice on how to meet the country's emissions reduction commitments.

Nash said the task of changing land use rules for forestry was bigger than he first anticipated. "You scratch the surface and actually we understand that there's a little bit more work to do than I had initially planned," Nash said.

Source: NZ Herald

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US lumber prices drop for 9th straight week

Prices for lumber in the US suffered another weekly loss and descended to levels not seen in roughly six months as the market contends with signs of softening demand and easing shortages. Lumber prices on Friday fell about 4% to trade at $689 per thousand board feet. That move brought lumber below $700 for the first time since mid-January.

Prices have tumbled by roughly 60% since their peak of $1,670 per thousand board feet on May 7. One potential factor in pushing lumber lower is consumers allocating funds to businesses such as those specializing in hospitality and travel as more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19. About 48% of the population has been fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Our recent research … suggests a combination of high housing and wood product prices and the shift of expenditures to services in the reopening (from do-it-yourself [DIY] home projects) has negatively impacted new and repair/remodel construction expenditures," wrote Bank of America analysts on Friday.

Meanwhile, dealers and builders are likely decelerating purchases leading up to a slowdown in construction that's typical in summer months, they said. "This is especially true given long lead times - the concern being that today's order of lumber shows up at the beginning of August just as prices move down at an even stronger pace."

Signs of easing in lumber shortages have also fostered the pullback in prices. Sawmills have reportedly ramped up output after the pandemic prompted producers to stop work. Lumber prices leapt to nearly $1,700 this year in part on a surge in demand for the building material as people stuck at home by the pandemic took up home improvement projects.

Source: Business Insider

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Jobs



Buy and Sell



... and one to end the week on ... really?



















And one more to go with the escalating lumber prices (sent in by a reader) from a month or two back.







And on that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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