WoodWeek 24 October 2018
Increased exports of softwood lumber from Russia to China the past decade have resulted in higher timber harvests in Eastern Russia, reports the Wood Resource Quarterly. In 2017, Russia’s total harvest reached an estimated 190 million m3, six percent higher than the previous year. Practically all of the increase was in Russia’s eastern provinces. Over time, Chinese importers have gradually shifted their historical preference for logs from Russia to New Zealand.
In a just-released video entitled “Forest for the Trees: How technology is transforming BC’s forest industry”, University of British Columbia forestry professor Dr Nicholas Coops emphasises LiDAR and drone use are just two more recent examples of the forest sectors technological revolution, and the types of technology incorporated into every-day forest management.
Dr Coops was a speaker in the recent ForestTECHX Vancouver international conference organised and run by Innovatek in conjunction with Logging & Sawmilling Journal in March. This world-leading forest technology and management conference drew a wide international audience of technical foresters from as far away as the New Zealand, Australia, Estonia, Chile and the UK.
Innovatek’s next forest technology conference in Vancouver is HarvestTECHX, running on 12-13 March 2019. This event sold out when it was last run in BC in 2016. For details see https://harvesttechx.events/.
Top primary sector employers shortlisted - Attracting and keeping the best people working in our primary industries is one of the most significant challenges for the sector, Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said as he announced the finalists in the first Primary Industries Good Employer Awards. Two forest industry companies have made the shortlist.
This week we have for you:
Logs boost Tauranga Port growthLate last week Port of Tauranga reported that first quarter trade volumes grew 8.3% on the same period last year. From 1 July 2018 to 30 September 2018, the Port handled more than 6.6 million tonnes of cargo.
The increase was driven by log exports, which were 14.7% higher compared with the previous corresponding period, and trans-shipped containers, which increased 11.4% in volume.
Dairy exports decreased due to seasonal fluctuations and were 7.1% than the same time last year. Overall container numbers increased 0.7% for the three month period, to just under 296,000 TEU (twenty foot equivalent units).
Port of Tauranga Chief Executive, Mark Cairns, told the company’s annual meeting of shareholders the unaudited Group net profit after tax for the first quarter was up 4.6% on the previous corresponding period.
“Based on the first quarter’s performance, and notwithstanding any significant market changes, we expect full year earnings to be between $96 million and $101 million,” said Mr Cairns. This compares with a record Net Profit After Tax of $93.4 million for the year ended June 2018.
Mr Cairns says the port is now looking to the next stage of cargo growth and has ordered a ninth container crane for delivery in 2020. It also intends to extend its container berths south of the existing wharves on existing port-owned land.
Of its 190 hectares in landholdings, Port of Tauranga has approximately 40 hectares of land still available to accommodate cargo growth.
Russia to China: Logs to lumberTimber harvests in Russia were close to 190 million m3 in 2017, as estimated by WRI based on forest industry production, log usage and net exports of logs. The derived timber harvest was up approximately 6.2% from 2016 primarily due to higher log consumption by the softwood sawmilling sector and the pellet industry. Domestic log demand in Russia has been on a steady upward trajectory over the past decade, while the exportation of logs has declined. The largest log-consuming sectors in 2017 were softwood sawmills (60% of domestic log usage) and pulp (17%).
The provinces of Siberia and Russia Far East are the only regions in Russia where timber harvests have gone up during the past five years, according to the government agency Rosstat. This has been driven by substantial investments in forest industry production in the region, predominantly in the sawmilling sector. From 2013 to 2017, harvest volumes in Eastern Russia were up 30%, while they remained practically unchanged in Northwestern Russia and fell in the Central provinces of the country.
The expansion of the forest industry in Eastern Russia has been driven by demand for lumber in China. Although the Chinese forest industry has a history of importing logs for its raw-material needs due to a lack of domestic sources, the trend over the last ten years has been towards the importation of softwood lumber rather than logs.
Chinese importers have gradually shifted their historical preference for logs away from the Russian Federation towards New Zealand and instead are importing softwood lumber from their forest-rich neighbour in the north, according to the Wood Resource Quarterly. The percentage of lumber as a share of total log and lumber volume (in roundwood equivalents) has gone up from 58% in 2014 to almost 80 % in 2018.
In the coming years it is expected that most of the investments in Russia’s forest industry will continue to occur in Siberia and the Far East to meet continued rising demand for lumber, plywood and pulp in China.
Source: Wood Resources International, Seattle, USA
Best crop choice: Trees or bees?Trees or bees? That was one of the questions hashed out a recent Bay of Plenty Farm Forestry field day.
The event, held at Neil Mossop's coastal hill country property at Pikowai, drew more than 40 participants keen to hear why commercial forestry had been chosen in preference to manuka honey or livestock grazing.
Mossop had recently harvested his first crop of radiata pine and although a significant manuka honey producer, he chose to replant his site in genetically improved radiata which were now just over three years old and growing like rockets.
The previous crop had netted an average of around $50k/ha for him after only 22 years, with one block exceeding $60k/ha.
The field day addressed several topics including:
• Trees or bees?
• What species?
• To prune or not to prune?
• What is the future for Carbon Forestry?
• What alternative investment structures are there?
• Why should I attend FFA's 2019 conference at Rotorua?
An experienced and diverse lineup of speakers addressed these topics.
Consultant Jeff Tombleson and Graeme Young from Tenon addressed the vexed question of whether Mossup should prune his second crop of trees. While costs have gone up and many corporate forest owners do not now prune, many felt it was still a good strategic investment for smaller forests. A demonstration of pruning tools and techniques followed with some first time foresters trying their had at pruning.
China: Growth in Guangdong ProvinceWood product output from plants in Guangdong Province has been steadily increasing in tandem with increased of domestic and international demand.
In 2017 total output from mills in Guangdong Province exceeded 10 million cubic metres. Much of the raw material is available locally and the standing forest stock in Guangdong Province is over 600 million cubic metres say analysts.
The expansion of wood processing industries in Guangdong Province has driven investment in forestry and an increase in timber imports and advances in recycling and residue utilisation.
The total value of wood product output in Guangdong province in 2017 was RMB802.3 billion, a year on year increase of 4% and accounting for 12% of the national total.
It is estimated that there are more than 20,000 wood processing plants in Guangdong employing some 3 million people and this sector has contributed to economic development and social stability in Guangdong Province.
Log imports are an important source of raw materials for wood processing plants in Guangdong Province accounting for over 50% of raw material requirements. In 2017 about 63 million cubic metres (log equivalent) were imported with about a quarter of this transported from Heilongjiang, the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region and Jiangsu Provinces.
Tasmania: Turnaround for forestryTurnaround for Tasmania’s forest industry - The Annual Reports of both Sustainable Timber Tasmania and Private Forests Tasmania paint a picture of a growing, sustainable industry.
It is pleasing that Sustainable Timber Tasmania today has announced a healthy statutory profit including an underlying profit of $6 million - a $20 million turnaround from last year’s underlying result. This is the first operating profit reported by the public forest manager since 2008-09.
STT has now retired all debt, as well as delivering a $15 million special dividend to the Government.
This is the first time in a decade that the public forest manager has been debt free. This result reflects a more efficient operating model following the restructure, improved prices for products, and increased sales volumes.
In accordance with standard accounting practices, the profit result was not directly impacted by the $60 million sale of forestry rights to 29,000 hectares of hardwood plantations, which was treated as a non-operating asset sale.
The Government thanks the Board and staff of Sustainable Timber Tasmania for their hard work in achieving this result.
In further good news, the Private Forests Tasmania annual report shows the total private forest harvest rose for the sixth consecutive year, with a 9 per cent increase to 4.25 million tonnes.
While these are positive results, the Government is aware that challenges remain in rebuilding the forestry industry.
The Hodgman Liberal Government has been working hard to turn things around since the Labor-Green disaster, and we are committed to ensuring the industry continues to grow.
Source: Guy Barnett, Minister for Resources, Tasmania
Foresters make top employer shortlistTop primary sector employers shortlisted - Attracting and keeping the best people working in our primary industries is one of the most significant challenges for the sector, Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor said as he announced the finalists in the first Primary Industries Good Employer Awards.
Mr O’Connor acknowledged those who have shown their commitment to good employment practices such as training, paying and treating staff well, and to those throughout the sector who contribute to these sustainable business models.
“Good staff are the foundation of all good businesses and I congratulate the finalists announced today who are doing their bit to keep their employees safe, motivated and with plenty of room to grow,” Damien O’Connor said.
“I’ve met exceptional employers and workers across the sector and one particular message has stayed with me: ‘First we look after the people, then they’ll look after the animals, and everything else will follow.’
“Feeding the world and creating the best ideas in agriculture to build sustainable primary industries and a strong economy is a challenge to our brightest and best,” Damien O’Connor said.
The winners will be announced at Parliament in Wellington on 27 November 2018.
The finalists in the five categories are:
• Innovative Employment Practices
o Jenny Buckley and Dave van den Beuken, Jaydee Partnership
o Stewart Weatherstone, Rotopai Farms Ltd
o Ritchie Legge, Ravensdown Ltd
o Hew Dalrymple, Waitatapia
o Bert Hughes, Forest Enterprises Ltd
o Ben and Nicky Allomes, Hopelands Dairies Ltd
o Edith Sykes, Ballance Agri-Nutrients Ltd
• Employee Development
o Heather Remnant, At the Vets
o Ben and Belinda Price, Price Trusts Partnership
o Kevin Ihaka, Forest Protection Services
o Patrick Malley, Onyx Capital Limited
o Justine Kidd, Theland Farm Group
o Julie Bassett, Constellation Brands
• Safe And Healthy Work Environments
o Duncan and Anne-Marie Wells, Huntly Road Dairies
o Kevin Ihaka, Forest Protection Services
o Michelle Cherrington, Moana
o Craig Durbin, NZSF Waikato Farms
o James Trevelyan
• Maori Agribusiness
o Zac Te Ahuru, Ruapehu Agricultural Developments
o Aaron Kurei, Te Kaha Gold Spraying
• Minister’s Award
o Michael and Susie Woodward, Woodward Farms
o Stephen Hopkinson, Taranaki Veterinary Centre
o Bruce Beaton, T&G Global, Pipfruit
o Ben and Nicky Allomes, Hopelands Dairies
o James Trevelyan
Technology transforming BC forestryHow technology is transforming forest industry in western Canada: Video just released - For forest companies, like TimberWest in British Columbia, the health of the trees and associated ecosystems are paramount. From seedling to maturity, the trees must be monitored and any problems addressed. The way in which this monitoring happens is changing dramatically through the convergence of new sensing technologies such as LiDAR, and the ability to deploy sensing technology using drones.
Once used only for air space and meteorological research, LiDAR (commonly referred to as airborne laser scanning) is now being used for forest research to more accurately examine everything from the height and diameter of trees to ground terrain evaluation and plot-level wood volume estimates.
In the just-released video Forest for the Trees: How technology is transforming BC’s forest industry, University of British Columbia (UBC) forestry professor Dr. Nicholas Coops emphasises LiDAR and drone use are just two more recent examples of the forest sectors technological revolution, and the types of technology incorporated into every-day forest management.
Dr Coops was a speaker in the recent ForestTECHX Vancouver conference organised and run by Innovatek in conjunction with Logging & Sawmilling Journal in March this year. This world-leading forest technology and management conference drew a wide international audience of technical foresters from as far away as the New Zealand, Australia, Chile and the UK.
The next forest technology conference scheduled for Vancouver in our Innovatek series is HarvestTECHX, running on 12-13 March 2019. This event sold out when it was last run in BC in 2016. For more details see https://harvesttechx.events/
Source: TimberWest & Innovatek
Michael Green: Can Future Cities be Timber Cities?At the turn of the century in the United States, when cities were booming and new construction changed city skylines daily, wood was a common building material. As fires plagued early cities, however, a shift towards steel and concrete as more trusted construction materials—both mass energy consumers and non-renewable resources— became commonplace. Michael Green, one of the world’s leading experts in building skyscrapers out of wood and principal architect at Michael Green Architecture (MGA), hopes to change that.
Cross laminated timber, a common building material for MGA, is as strong as steel and fire resistant. The panels are engineered and designed with cross directional grains that increase the weight bearing potential of the beam and allow single columns to run through multiple floors. Once these prefabricated materials are shipped to a construction site, they don’t require any cutting or machinery to assemble and can be quickly fastened with hand tools, drastically decreasing the noise and air pollution generated by the construction.
… almost finally … a wool surfboardA wool surfboard – who would have thought? - New Zealand surfer Paul Barron was laminating a board a decade ago when he accidentally spilled resin on his sweater. It gave him an idea: What if he built a surfboard shell out of wool? Traditional foam boards are typically housed in resin and fiberglass for structural integrity. But fiberglass can be harmful to workers and isn’t easily recyclable; board makers have long sought a greener alternative.
This month, the Carlsbad, California, company Firewire Surfboards is releasing Barron’s WoolLight board–showcasing a technological advance that could change how other products are designed, from yachts to cars.
WHY WOOL - Living in a country with six times as many sheep as people, Barron was familiar with the benefits of wool: It’s recyclable and biodegradable, and it doesn’t require much energy to manufacture. But wool also absorbs water and is porous and flimsy when woven. To refine his idea, Barron partnered with the New Zealand Merino Company, an organisation that incubates new uses for wool and connects local producers to retailers, such as the cult shoe brand Allbirds.
HOW IT WORKS - The wool sheared off a sheep is up to 3 inches thick, with fibers flaring out in all directions. Barron developed a vacuum-pressure technique that converts this bulky material into a thin wool-and-bioresin composite, with a compression strength that rivals that of fiberglass and polyurethane.
According to Firewire CEO Mark Price, the process reduces CO2 emissions by 40% and VOC emissions by half, compared with traditional construction. And because wool bends easily, the WoolLight is more flexible, which reduces vibrations when catching waves, Barron says.
... and finally ... in-law humour
time for a laugh ... about in-laws ...
The hunter picked up his rifle, took a swig of whiskey, and started to look for her. In a clearing not far from the camp, they came upon a chilling sight: the mother-in-law was backed up against a thick, impenetrable bush, and a large male lion stood facing her.
The wife said, "What are we going to do?"
"Nothing," said the hunter husband, "The lion got himself into this mess, let him get himself out of it."
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