WoodWeek – 14 December 2016

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Welcome to the last issue of WoodWeek for 2016. We’ve got a great good news story that featured on Radio New Zealand’s ‘Country Life’ programme to start this issue. But first we’d like to thank our loyal readers, supporters, advertisers and sponsors. You've helped make it another positive year of growing readership and interest. We appreciate your support, and of course your contributions, be they jokes or leads on new stories and updates for improving our industry. Thanks to all of you from our team here at Innovatek! Have a great holiday break!

Also this week, the folks at Safetree recently sent out information on an easy to use dashboard for forestry companies and contractors. More in-depth information is also readily available from the Safetree website. The dashboard dated September 2016 unfortunately shows that although serious injuries in New Zealand forestry fell from 2013, that they’ve risen steadily from September 2015. SafeTree resources are now being continually developed for people working on the forest floor. A number of industry-led initiatives are now underway to reverse this upward trend. One of these is of course the national Safetree Contractor Certification scheme. The scheme is currently in a pilot phase with a small group of logging and silviculture contractors. It will be fully launched in early 2017.

For FIEA, 2016 has been particularly busy with lots of people attending our Australasian conferences on new, innovative new technologies for the forest and wood products industries. Feedback from you, our delegates, shows that many of you really value their content and alignment with a myriad of other industry workshops, client meetings and user group sessions now being organised to coincide with each FIEA conference.

With a summer break beckoning (if not the weather), in this week's issue we’ve included a 2017 Planner. Note, that for two of the events early next year, the Forest Industry Safety Summit and MobileTECH 2017, special discounted rates for both events FINISH on Tuesday 20 December. If you’re planning to register yourself and your staff, you’d best get onto it before you take your holiday break.

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This week we have for you:

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2017 Technology Events – mark your diaries

Again, after an incredibly busy year, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) has in conjunction with a wide cross section of industry on both sides of the Tasman, developed an Events Planner for next year. With again very high turnouts at all FIEA technology events that have been run this year, we’re really excited with what 2017 holds.

The Events Planner will enable; forestry and wood products companies to pencil the dates into your own calendar for next year and industry associations, research organisations and those involved in setting up your own programmes for 2017 to take note of the dates (and ideally look to dovetail in to the tech events timing and location to add value to the industry and those likely to attend).

For product and service suppliers, we hope this forward planning will also enable you to schedule your involvement and to budget early on in the year to the relevant tech event and for overseas suppliers, it will enable you to lock in a time to plan visits to your key customers or distributors in Australia and New Zealand and to link in to the relevant technology events in this part of the world next year.

FIEA technology events being planned for 2017 include;

1. Forest Industry Safety Summit 2017
People, Safety & Technology
1-2 March 2017, Rotorua, New Zealand
7-8 March 2017, Melbourne, Australia
www. www.forestsafety.events

2. HarvestTECH 2017
Steep Slope Logging – Mechanisation & Automation – Harvest Planning
20-21 June 2017

3. WoodTECH 2017
Wood Scanning – Sawing – Mill Optimisation
20-21 September, Melbourne, Australia
26-27 September, Rotorua, New Zealand


4. ForestTECH 2017
Data collection & Management – Remote Sensing – Mobile Communications & GIS
15-16 November 2016, Rotorua, New Zealand
21-22 November 2014, Melbourne, Australia


Other technology events being planned;

1. International Steep Slope Logging Conference
20 April 2017, Kelso, WA, USA

2. MobileTECH 2017
Primary Industries – Disruptive Innovations Reshaping the Sector
22-23 March, Rotorua, New Zealand

Mark the dates into your 2017 calendars. At this early stage, if interested in either presenting or exhibiting, let us know and if appropriate, we can look to build you into the planned programmes.

Attached for your information is a PDF of 2017 Technology Events which provides you with further information on the schedule of tech events planned for next year.

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How are we tracking on forest safety

Safetree’s 'How are we tracking' dashboard shows that while serious injuries in New Zealand forestry have fallen since 2013, they’ve risen again over the past year. The dashboard provides a snapshot of forestry’s H&S performance, including the outcome of WorkSafe activities.

Also see more in-depth information about injury rates, critical risk areas, trends and near-hits in the latest IRIS report, which is based on data from more than 30 forestry companies.

For NZ forestry companies and contractors, you’re encouraged to share and talk about these reports with your colleagues, crews, contractors and clients.

In line with the drive for improved safety, the programmes for the Rotorua and Melbourne legs of the Forest Industry Safety Summit 2017 that will run in early March 2017 have now been released. Full details and information on the programmes can be found on the event website, www.forestsafety.events.

For the first time FIEA has teamed up with the Forest Industry Safety Council (FISC) to organise workshops as part of the NZ leg of the Safety Summit. Details again can be found on the website. Note, for a very limited time, online registrations allow you to register two delegates for the price of one.

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Good news - One to end the year on!

And one to end the year on - a GOOD NEWS story on our industry.

You can always rely on Radio New Zealand for getting the real story from people - especially on their 'Country Life' programme. So to bring our year to a positive close - here is one out of the bag!

One in four households in Gisborne is connected to forestry in some way, according to a recent study, whether that's working in the forest or the service industry (machinery repairs and tyre supplies).

As logging contractor Chris Hurring says, “Gisborne’s going off. It’s red hot.”

Forest companies are finding it hard to fill harvesting crew and forest supervisors roles and it's not as though the pay is poor.

Chris Hurring says along with the common misconception that forestry is all about chainsaws and brawn, is a lack of knowledge about pay rates.

"Some of our better operators are on $100,000 to over $100,000 a year."

Top-quality younger workers with about a year's experience are on $1000 to $2000 a week, he says.


Source: Radio New Zealand

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UDC Finance posts record profit

ANZ Bank New Zealand's UDC finance unit has posted a record annual profit, driven by booming car sales and strong growth in forestry, transport and construction.

Net profit rose 3 percent to $58.5 million in the year to Sept. 30, though ANZ said revenue was hit by a fall in the interest margin it could achieve, dropping 1 percent to $120.5 million from $122 million. Full accounts have not been published, with the only details available a one-page statement.

The Auckland-based lender has been subject to intense speculation that it will be sold. The chief executive of Heartland Bank, Jeff Greenslade, last month told investors he believe UDC would be an "ideal fit."

Wayne Percival, UDC's chief executive, said the company had looked to help businesses take advantage of the strong economic growth in New Zealand.

“The housing and infrastructure build across New Zealand, along with record new car sales, created robust demand for our asset financing expertise, and drove the good result for our business," he said.

Strong competition among banks for quality lending and deposits had put pressure on margins, he added.

Provisions for bad debts fell 29 percent to $7.4 million.

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Shelved Northland mill: Controversy continues

'No one contacted us' says Electricity Authority over blame for shelved Kaikohe pulp mill - The head of a government agency blamed for scuttling a pulp mill that could have brought 200 jobs to Kaikohe says he's surprised no one involved with the project contacted him about it.

Northland Inc, however, says it made a submission to the Electricity Authority (EA) against its proposed power price changes and their detrimental effect on Northland's economy.

Last week the Advocate revealed that Northland Inc, NZ Trade and Enterprise and the Ministry for Primary Industries had shelved plans for a $300 million pulp mill which was to have been built in a new industrial park at Ngawha.

The mill was part of the Government's Economic Action Plan for Northland unveiled in February, which led Far North Mayor John Carter to conclude one hand of Government didn't know what the other was doing. Losing the mill and badly needed jobs was "a bloody disgrace", he fumed.

The main reason given was uncertainty over future power prices caused by EA plans to change the way New Zealanders pay for power. The proposal could see users in Northland pay significantly more while those close to the country's biggest power stations will pay less.

More >>

Source: NZ Herald

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ANZ Commodity Price Index

The ANZ Commodity Price Index rose 2.7% in November, the seventh rise in as many months. The recent run of form has seen the index lift to 13% higher than a year ago (due in part to base effects).

The NZD Commodity Price Index also lifted 2.7% m/m in November, to deliver the first annual gain for exporters this year. The NZD fell slightly against the USD and GBP in November, but was still up on a TWI basis due to a stronger NZD against the AUD, yen and euro.

In terms of sector specifics:
  • Dairy prices rose 4.8% m/m in November, the sixth rise in a row. Tight global milk supplies and Chinese import demand continued this month. Whole milk powder rose 11% m/m (31% y/y), butter 3.1% and skim milk 0.8%. The index uses USDA prices, where price gains were smaller than those registered on the GlobalDairyTrade platform (i.e. WMP +24% in November). Cheese prices (-7.9% m/m) gave up some of the gains achieved over the second half of the year, due to increased Northern Hemisphere inventory levels and increased export competition, especially from the US.

  • Prices for aluminium rose 4.2% m/m and are now 18% higher than a year ago. General metal prices have been on the improve from early in the year as inefficient capacity has been shut down in China and a general lift in import demand has been seen. Metal prices received a further shot in the arm in November as investors took the view Donald Trump’s infrastructure program will lead to a further boost in demand.

  • Seafood products rose 2.3% m/m and are now 13% higher than last year. Dory and salmon prices drove the increase in November.

  • The meat and fibre group rose modestly in November, up 0.6% m/m with mixed price signals. Lamb rose 0.3%, recording its twelfth consecutive increase and is now 25% higher than the same time last year – though they are down 2% in local currency terms owing to the high NZD/GBP. Tight tradable supplies are the main driver, alongside renewed Chinese demand. Beef prices rose 2.7% m/m, but the price action remains variable from month to month. Wool has been the big underperformer in recent months and fell a further 6.1% in November. The main reason has been a lack of demand from China, which accounted for 50% of exports in 2015/16. There have been numerous suggestions as to why Chinese demand has been weaker. These include lower-end product demand in Europe/UK, the weaker RMB, changed sourcing patterns towards cheaper product from UK and Mongolia, liquidation of local cotton stocks, general high prices last year leading to fibre substitution, and changed local fashion trends.

  • Horticulture prices lifted slightly (+1.9% m/m), but the bulk of the 2016 crops has been sold already.

  • Forestry prices were fairly steady (+0.4% m/m). Both key international and domestic forestry price benchmarks have continued to trend up in recent months. Chinese demand remains firm and local demand strong due to the booming local construction sector.

Source: ANZ

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Stable economic outlook for primary sector

The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) says the outlook across the primary sector is stable for the current year, as the dairy industry begins to rebound and growth continues for the horticulture and forestry sectors. This is offset by a forecast decline in meat and wool. Total export revenue is forecast to be $36.7 billion for the year to June 2017, down $0.3 billion from the previous year.

MPI Director of Sector Policy, Jarred Mair, says the latest Situation and Outlook for Primary Industries (SOPI) shows that over the next few years, New Zealand’s primary sector export earnings are forecast to increase by an average of 5.4% per year, reaching $47.9 billion by the year ended June 2021.

"This highlights again the strength of our primary industries, and the benefits of our diversified primary sector. However, lower economic growth in trade partners creates headwinds for New Zealand primary industry export growth", he says.

Dairy export revenue is forecast to rise 3% in 2017, but is expected to increase 24% to $17 billion in 2018 as milk production is forecast to return to previous levels after 2 years of decline. In addition, recent increases in global dairy prices are forecast to be sustained into 2018.

"It's very pleasing to see the global dairy market rebounding after a difficult few years. The average payout for dairy farmers is now expected to be above break-even for most, and there is also continued strong growth for sectors like horticulture, forestry and arable", says Mr Mair.

Meat and wool export revenue is forecast to fall 10.8% in 2017 as beef production volume falls back from peak levels and prices decline as US and Australian production recovers.

Mr Mair says demand from China and an increase in wood available for harvest are expected to help forestry exports reach $5.3 billion in 2017, and exceed $6.0 billion by 2020.

"Expanded plantings are expected to increase future export volumes for wine and apples, while additional Gold3 kiwifruit licences will help drive horticulture export revenue past $6.0 billion by 2020", says Mr Mair.

Source: Scoop News

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Tasmania forestry training boost

New Training Service for Tasmanian Forest Industry - Tasmanian Minister for Resources, Guy Barnett has announced a new service to support the rebuilding and reskilling of the Tasmanian forest industry.

Minister Barnett announced the new Training and Skills Development Service yesterday afternoon, at a launch event hosted by McKay Timber in Launceston. Read Minister Barnett’s media release here.

The Training and Skills Development Service fund will assist Tasmanian forestry workers adjust to changing job requirements, brought about by advances in technology and new product development.

ForestWorks will deliver the Training and Skills Development Service. Diana Lloyd, General Manager of ForestWorks, said funding is available to current and new workers in the Tasmanian forest and timber industry.

“Funding is available for training courses that will benefit industry, that are relevant to current and future job roles, and provided by a registered training organisation.”

“We encourage all Tasmanian forestry businesses to take part in this fantastic opportunity. A qualification that consolidates practical experience and knowledge is a reward for both employees and employers,” said Diana.

Brett McKay, General Manager of McKay Timber, said the new training fund is a fantastic opportunity for all sectors of the Tasmania forest industry.

“Training is fundamental to a safe, productive and innovative workplace, and something we value highly at McKay Timbers.”

“This fund provides Tasmanian businesses with the financial support to upskill our workforce. With this funding we have the opportunity to identify any skills gaps, train staff in new activities for the future, and recognise the skills of our existing employees with formal qualifications,” said Brett.

The Tasmanian Training and Skills Development Service is funded by the Australian and Tasmanian Governments to support the rebuilding and reskilling of the Tasmanian forest and timber industry.

For more information visit www.forestworks.com.au/tsds or contact ForestWorks at tsds@forestworks.com.au.

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Equipment market outlook: John Deere

As part of it's regular reporting of earnings, operations and markets John Deere in their most recent update included comments relating to forestry equipment markets.

"John Deere has completed another successful year in spite of continuing weakness in the global agricultural and construction equipment sectors," said Samuel R. Allen, chairman and chief executive officer. "The company in 2016 had one of its ten-best years in both sales and earnings, a noteworthy achievement in light of the difficult business climate. Deere's performance benefited from the adept execution of its operating plans and disciplined cost management as well as the impact of a broad product portfolio. As a result, the company has remained well-positioned to serve its customers while making continued investments in quality and innovation that we're confident will be supportive of growth in the future."

Market Conditions & Outlook - Construction & Forestry:
Deere's worldwide sales of construction and forestry equipment are forecast to be up about 1 percent for 2017, including a positive currency-translation effect of about 1 percent. The forecast reflects the impact of generally slow economic growth worldwide. In forestry, global industry sales are expected to be about the same as in 2016 with some moderation in the North American market.

More >>

Source: John Deere

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New timber treatment from Russia

Russian scientists create coating technique to strengthen wood tissue - The new material could be suitable for electrical transmission towers, columns, building construction components such as trusses and frames, bridges, and lampposts Researchers from Institute of Engineering and Building at Peter the Great Saint Petersburg Polytechnic University (SPbPU) have invented a technique of improving wood tissue, said the media service of SPbPU.

According to the scientists, they have managed to turn wood into a hybrid wood- polymer nanocomposite with advanced properties.

"The new materials by far exceeds raw wood in durability and longevity with the best properties of wood remaining untouched, " the researchers elaborated.

Professor at SPbPU Andrey Ponomarev and PhD student Alexander Rassochin suggested impregnating the wood with an epoxy-based coating then covering it with a grid of carbon fiber-reinforced plastic and finally spreading a protective coating called "EpoxyPAN" developed at SPbPU.

The combination of the base coating, carbon plastic, and protective material makes the wood more durable and water- and fire-resistant.

The new material could be suitable for electrical transmission towers, columns, building construction components such as trusses and frames, bridges, and lampposts, as it about 40% lighter than its metal analogues and 10% cheaper.

More >>

Source: TASS Russian News Agency

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Thanks to FICA Sponsors

We would like to thank all of the organisations who support FICA, which in turn works to promote business growth and improved safety and efficiency amongst forestry contractors for the benefit of New Zealand's Forestry Industry.


Blackburne Group (Accountancy & Management Services)
UDC Finance (Banking & Asset Finance)
Sweeney Townsend Insurance Brokers (Insurance Services)
TLC Insurance (Insurance Services)

Cableprice NZ Ltd
Mini-Tankers (Z Energy)
Komatsu Forest NZ
Shaw's Wire Ropes
Woodsman Pro
Beker Findlay Allan
Minter Ellison Rudd Watts
Bridon Cookes
DC Equipment

Blackwoods Protector
Timbersaws (Levin Sawmakers)
Total Lubricants
Active Equipment
Manage Company
Aegis Oil

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Northland mill issue alarms NZ First

Mothballing of Ngawha Plan Alarming - A proposal for a major Northland wood processing plant, potentially employing hundreds at Ngawha, appears to have been killed off by a self-serving, dysfunctional electricity industry, says New Zealand First Leader and Northland MP Rt Hon Winston Peters.

“The decision of the project partners to back away from the Ngawha proposal is alarming. The fear of the Electricity Authority’s new pricing regime, which is likely to significantly raise power prices in Northland, is cited as a key concern."

“New Zealand is truly in dire straits if a proposal, which has potential to boost the Northland economy and create jobs, is stymied by an authority that is supposed to act in ‘the long-term benefit of consumers’."

“The truth is, the Electricity Authority does not serve New Zealanders at all.

“Northland desperately needs new economic projects. New Zealand First has long spoken out of the need to add value in the wood industry, which will help Northland prosper again.

“What is confusing about the Ngawha proposal, promoted by the Ministry of Primary Industries, Northland Inc and NZ Trade and Enterprise, is that it was a core announcement in Minister of Economic Development Steven Joyce’s much heralded economic plan for Northland."

“It appears Mr Joyce’s prophecy about plans has been correct. He said at the time, ‘Many have been written over the years, and they often end up gathering dust’.”

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... pre-Christmas crackups

The 4 stages of life:
1. You believe in Santa Claus
2. You don't believe in Santa Claus
3. You dress up as Santa Claus
4. You look like Santa Claus


Have you ever wondered what to do with the leftover Christmas Cake?
Here's a few tips!
  • Use slices to balance that wobbly kitchen table.
  • Use instead of sand bags during El Nino.
  • Send to U.S. Air Force, let troops drop them.
  • Use as railroad ties.
  • Use as speed bumps to foil the neighborhood drag racers.
  • Collect ten and use them as bowling pins.
  • Use instead of cement shoes.
  • Save for next summer's garage sale.
  • Use slices in next skeet-shooting competition.
  • Two words: pin cushion.


Three buildings in town were overrun by squirrels—the town hall, the hardware store, and the church.

The town hall brought in some cats. But after they tore up all the files, the mayor got rid of the predators, and soon the squirrels were back.

The hardware store humanely trapped the squirrels and set them free outside town. But three days later, the squirrels climbed back in.

Only the church came up with an effective solution. They baptized the squirrels and made them members. Now they see them only on Christmas and Easter.


Christmas in the 21st Century:

As a little girl climbed onto Santa's lap, Santa asked the usual, "And what would you like for Christmas?"
The child stared at him open-mouthed and horrified for a minute, then gasped, "Didn't you get my email?"

That's all for our mid-week wood news roundup.

If you enjoy WoodWeek - pass it on. And tell a mate to subscribe as well – it’s FREE!

John Stulen
PO Box 1230
Building X91, Scion Campus, 99 Sala Street
Rotorua, New Zealand
Tel: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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