WoodWeek – 13 February 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. Today’s issue is bursting with news of a wooden nature. New Forests has just announced it will acquire Hikurangi Forest Farms’ estate comprising 35,000 hectares of freehold, forest rights, and leasehold land.

With all the hype about one billion trees it seems odd that there is now a ‘crisis’ in the native plant industry. Today we have comments from someone of behalf of those left in the industry who are competing for huge tenders in an environment where undercutting is common and delivering to timelines requires ‘magic’.

With the whole country being “driza-bone” we have expert commentary today from Grant Pearce, fire scientist, Scion Rural Fire Research Group. "Fire managers have reported that current fire danger levels are the highest they’ve seen in almost 20 years and NIWA’s soil moisture maps are showing significant soil moisture deficits across the region."

The first half of the year is all about forest harvesting developments in technology and machinery. We are hosting HarvestTECHX in March in Vancouver (Earlybird discounts end this week!) and HarvestTECH for our New Zealand and Australian loggers in June in Rotorua. Both of these events are very popular with loggers and forest managers alike. We are well on the way with registrations flowing in fast for the Vancouver event. We have regular updates coming soon on what we have in store for you here.

Also, news just in that John Deere is launching updated G-Series swing machines as a direct result of customer feedback to improve operator experience. Changes include new features to improve serviceability.

Finally, in the lead up to Valentine’s Day we have a love story for you – not what you were expecting though. We all know that loggers, foresters, hunters and fishermen (and women) all love their utes. Indeed, forestry is among the many outdoor industries where a ute is an essential tool for the job. Well there are a couple of new models on the horizon - and it’s going all electric – no surprises there I guess. Have a look at the new kids on the block: Atlis and Rivian. We can’t wait to see how these new entrants might disrupt markets for these vehicles. Watch this space!

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New Forests to acquire Hikurangi Forest Farms

New Forests has just announced it has agreed to acquire Hikurangi Forest Farms (HFF), based in Gisborne, on behalf of its investment clients - The company anticipates that the purchase, from current owner Samling Group, will be complete by mid-2019, subject to consent from the Overseas Investment Office, with the intention to launch a rebranded business at that time.

HFF is one of the largest forestry estates in the Gisborne region and includes around 25,000 hectares of radiata pine plantation on 35,000 hectares of freehold, forest rights, and leasehold land. Significant investment has been carried out since the assets were acquired in 1997, building a high yielding and sustainable forest estate that is a significant contributor to the regional economy.

New Forests is currently working through an ownership transition plan incorporating continuity of operations and New Forests' forward-looking management plans, and will be undertaking engagement with key stakeholders, including local businesses, Tangata Whenua representatives, councils, and community groups.

New Forests’ objective is to manage investments to ensure long-term sustainability. “New Forests looks forward to engaging with stakeholders during the ownership transition to chart the future for this business and ensure the long-term sustainability of this regionally significant forestry asset,” New Forests’ CEO David Brand said.

Brand continued, “The HFF acquisition secures a cornerstone asset for New Forests’ Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 3, complementing the fund’s existing New Zealand forestry portfolio in the North and South Island”.

Mark Rogers, Managing Director for New Forests’ Australia-New Zealand business said, “We are proud of our track record and commitment to sustainable forest management, and this estate has significant potential to be a preferred provider of sustainable wood products.”

“New Forests and our clients represent long-term, stable, institutional ownership that we believe will be a key enabler for the future growth of New Zealand’s forest industry,” said Rogers.


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Crisis in native plant industry

‘Crisis’ in native plant industry - Taxpayers are funding prison and community nurseries while commercial nurseries go bust. Those left in the industry are competing for huge tenders in an environment where undercutting is common and delivering to timelines requires “magic”.

Nurseries have gone into receivership, and quality control has slipped to the point where 21,000 plants had to be ripped out after an Australian weed was planted instead of the specified New Zealand native. This comes at a time when two-thirds of a $240 million Provincial Growth Fund boost to the One Billion Trees Programme is earmarked for native tree planting.

“Just when the demand has gone up, the suppliers are going broke. Now that’s a crisis in my opinion.” said landscape architect Di Lucas.

A December workshop discussed the need for an industry code of practice to tackle the current chaos in the market. Lucas has been a long-time advocate of native planting and her conservation work was recognised in the New Year’s Honour list when she received an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit.

She’s thrilled there’s a concerted effort to plant more native trees being made by government agencies and councils but has serious concerns about how procurement is being managed. She was so worried about the situation, she got 20 people into a room during the lead- up to Christmas in the hope to solve some of the issues.

Suggestions discussed included tighter rules around tendering, an accord agreed to by plant buyers, set standards of plant quality, verifiable eco-sourcing of seeds and a workforce strategy. Government attendees included representatives Ministry for Primary Industry, Department of Conservation and Department of Corrections staff. Growers, ecologists, botanists and landscape architects were also represented.

Despite the range of people in the room Lucas said the conversations were constructive.

“People, whatever side they were on, they recognised a problem. What’s happening is not sustainable.”

A troubled industry - New Zealand Plant Producers Incorporated (NZPPI) chief executive Matt Dolan has spoken in the past about how he hears about a closing or struggling plant nursery every other week. He said there needs to be better processes for managing projects and purchasing native trees.

More >>

Source: Newsroom




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China: Manufacturing growth slows

Manufacturing growth slowed in China for the first time in two years in November and December 2018. The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), was below analysts’ expectations.

An index reading below 50 indicates a contraction. The NBS reported that there were signs of weakness in new orders from domestic and overseas buyers.


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Log Export Statistics Update





Source: Champion Freight


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John Deere: Updated G-Series swing machines

A direct result of customer feedback, John Deere has updated its G-Series Swing Machines to improve operator experience. From changes to machine design to new features to improve serviceability, the updated Swing Machines, including eight powerful models, 2154G, 2156G, 2654G, 2656G, 3154G, 3156G, 3754G and 3756G, offer increased productivity and uptime, providing a reliable solution for the toughest of jobs.

“After successfully launching the G-Series Swing Machines in 2016, we wanted to continue to perfect the machines based on customer experience in the field,” said Jarvis De Groot, product marketing manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “The new features, which will be available on the 2019 models and on, will streamline serviceability and improve the machine design, while still retaining the power and productivity of the original models.”

The 2019 machines feature several improvements to the machine design. A larger travel device improves tractive effort on the 2654G and 2656G machines, as well as select 2154G and 2156G models. The new LH side door features an easy-to- remove screen, allowing for the removal of collected debris. A shovel and axe mounting provision on all machines provides a secure and easily accessible storage location.

The cabs have been changed, adding a USB port for device charging and relocating the auxiliary and USB ports to behind the seat. The side-entry cab features a larger gas strut for the door and new handrail, improving entry and exit. Additionally, satellite radio is no longer required with the Convenience Deluxe package on the side-entry and rear-entry cabs.

Serviceability has also been improved on the G-Series Swing Machines. A pre- cleaner for engine air intake of the Final Tier 4 engines improves air filter life, while fuel shut-off valves eliminate fuel leakage and spillage during fuel filter changes. A new hinged AC condenser improves access, making it easier to clean out debris trapped between the radiator and AC condenser. The G-Series machines also feature remote grease lines for the boom cylinder base pins, improving ground-level serviceability. An optional hydraulic oil level alarm provides an audible and visible alarm that the hydraulic oil level is extremely low and requires immediate machine shut down.

In addition to the new changes, the G-Series machines still incorporate the most popular features from the original models, including improved cabs, better machine performance and a more durable design. The John Deere swing machines come standard with JDLink™ telematics five years in base, offering owners and operators remote diagnostics and streamlined connectivity.

To learn more about the updates to the G-Series Swing Machines, as well as the full line of John Deere Forestry equipment, visit a local John Deere or www.johndeere.com.


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Loggers and foresters: Two events you can't miss!

Full details of the two-yearly wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2019 have been set in place and registrations are now open on the event website, www.harvesttech.events.

The 2015 harvesting event, HarvestTECH was a SELL OUT. The 2017 event likewise sold out. Both at the time were the largest gathering of harvesting contractors, forestry managers, forest owners, harvest planners and all of the major equipment suppliers to the logging industry seen in New Zealand. Around 450 met up in Rotorua, New Zealand.

And for those based in (or wanting a bucket list trip to) North America, HarvestTECHX is on in March.

Proven industry developments are at the core of the 2019 “HarvestTECHX” Conference. It runs on March 13 at the Sheraton Vancouver Airport Hotel in Richmond, BC. Delegates are also invited to an evening welcome reception on March 12. Register at: www.harvesttechx.events. On March 14, limited places are available for an in-forest workshop hosted by BC Forest Safety Council and WorkSafe BC on steep slope safety guidelines and practices.

Register your team by Thursday February 14 to get Early-Bird rates. Registrations are already pouring in as loggers and logging managers prepare for the next phase of technology breakthroughs in the forest. This biennial meeting is very popular; it sold out last time we ran it in BC in 2016.


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Scion: Science insight into Nelson fires

As we all now know, a large forest and bush fire is burning near Nelson, which has experienced warm and extremely dry conditions this summer.

The Science Media Centre asked experts to comment on conditions that may have influenced the fire.

Grant Pearce, fire scientist, Scion Rural Fire Research Group, comments: "Media coverage of this week’s major forest fire at Pigeon Valley, near Nelson, showed what a dramatic and devastating event wildfires can be. "The Nelson region has a history of significant forest fires, with major ones occurring in February 1981 at Hira, on the outskirts of Nelson city (which burned 1972 hectares); in October 1997 at Harakeke, in the Moutere Hills (535 ha); in December 2004, in Irvines Forest (200 ha); and in November 2009, near Tadmor (600 ha). The 1981 Hira fire occurred at a similar time of year (5 February), and is closest in size to the current event. Many smaller wildfires have also occurred across the region, both in plantations and other vegetation types.

"The region’s fire climate severity isn’t as high as neighbouring Marlborough but, based on weather data for Nelson Aero, the region still experiences 9-10 days per year on average of very high and extreme forest fire danger. However, in a bad fire season as many as 16-17 days of very high and extreme fire danger may occur. This year alone, Nelson has seen seven days of very high, and eight days of extreme forest fire danger, since the beginning of January, with the recent heatwave being a major contributor to this.

"Fire managers have reported that current fire danger levels are the highest they’ve seen in almost 20 years and NIWA’s soil moisture maps are showing significant soil moisture deficits across the region.

The current level of extreme dryness can be seen in a comparison of fire danger code levels with previous years, as for example shown by the Buildup Index component, which describes the overall fuel dryness and amount of fuel available for consumption (with a value of 60 being very high, and 80 extreme).

"The very hot, dry and windy weather over the past month has had a major effect on the drying of forest fuels in particular, including slash and prunings, understorey scrub vegetation, pine needle litter on the ground and organic material in the soil, which all contribute to the amount of vegetation fuel available to burn. These dry, elevated fuel loads contribute to easy fire ignition and spread, and to high fire intensities including crown fires that are very difficult, if not impossible to control, especially in steeper terrain often favoured for forestry plantings. Surrounding grass fuels are also dry, but the lower fuel loads mean that fires are usually easier to control once they spread out into these grass areas.

"Modelling of potential future changes in fire danger indicates that the number of severe fire weather days is likely to increase in many parts of the country. This includes the Nelson region, where the number of days of very high and extreme forest fire danger could increase to more like 12-13 days per year on average, and maybe 20- 25 days in the worst years, with climate change.

"So the Nelson region, as well as other parts of the country, are likely to see more of these types of wildfire events in future."

Conflict of interest statement: Scion’s Rural Fire Research programme is funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), and receives co-funding from Fire and Emergency New Zealand, NZ Forest Owners Association/Forest Growers Levy Trust, Department of Conservation and NZ Defence Force.

Ben Noll, meteorologist, NIWA, comments:
"The start to summer (December 2018-January 2019) was the third warmest on record for New Zealand. The warm pattern has been a result of very warm sea surface temperatures both in New Zealand coastal waters and in the Tasman Sea as well as a lack of cooler southerly winds.

"Richmond (Tasman District) had two consecutive days with high temperatures of 33.8?C on 27-28 Jan 2019, the warmest of the summer to-date.

"January came with abundant sunshine and it was the sunniest month on record for any location in the South Island, with Richmond (Tasman District) recording 355 hours.

"With the warm, sunny pattern, Nelson (1 December-5 February), has recorded just 84 mm of rain. The summer normal (1 December-28 February) is 224 mm.

"As of 6 February, Richmond (Tasman District) was on a 22-day dry spell. A dry spell is defined by consecutive days with less than 1.0 mm of rain.

"The New Zealand Drought Index is reporting 'extremely dry' conditions in the Tasman- Nelson area, indicative of long-term dryness that began in November 2018. According to the Index, drought conditions were also reached last summer (2017-18).

"According to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC): Heatwaves and fires are virtually certain to increase in intensity and frequency (high confidence). Droughts are very likely to become more frequent and intense (high confidence)."

For more fire weather details, see the NIWA-FENZ Fire Weather website.

Scion have have also released this smoke forecast.

More information from Scion:
Trends in fire danger levels for stations in different regions
Predictions of potential changes in fire danger for other parts of the country
Smoke forecast for Nelson forest fire


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ANZ Commodity Price Index

The ANZ World Commodity Price Index started the year strongly with a 2.1% m/m lift, arresting the downward trend present throughout the second half of 2018.

Dairy was the main driver behind the lift in the index, with meat also making a substantive contribution. The NZD index lifted further, up 2.9% m/m in January.

The NZ dollar retraced 1.4% in trade-weighted terms in January. In local currency terms the ANZ Commodity Price Index has increased 3.8% y/y.

ANZ Commodity Price Index



Source: ANZ


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Concern at pine forests' environmental impact

Freshwater advocates concerned at adverse impacts by a pine forest monoculture on rivers, streams and their ecosystems – Concern in Marlborough by the Marlborough Tramping Club about the high country spread of pine seedlings known as wilding pines and the question of the pine monocultures effect on river life, was supported by the Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA). Graham Carter president of NZFFA said the federation had long held deep concerns over the detrimental environmental effect of planting large-scale pine plantations.

He pointed out that several years ago a NZ Federation of Freshwater Anglers (NZFFA) annual meeting, a paper on the subject was presented and adopted, detailing the adverse impact of forestry on stream and in particularly trout spawning streams.

“Pine trees use much more water than native trees so from the first stages of planting exotics, runoff is decreased and increasingly less water flows in streams. The adverse effect continues as pine plantations cause acidification of soils. Invertebrate aquatic insect larvae are greater numerically in alkaline waters(opposite of acidic) and provide food for both native and trout and salmon species. So acidic tending waters will carry less fish,” he said.

The practice of clear felling at logging harvest stage, often on steep slopes, exposed soil to rains with resultant heavy silting of streams that in turn smothered important native invertebrate larvae.

“In summary exotic plantations mean much less water flow, much less food for fish and destruction of the freshwater aquatic ecosystem,” said Graham Carter.

He said adverse impacts on rivers by development varied significantly from region to region. Fish and Game NZ has rightly highlighted the nitrate leaching and water abstraction for dairying, a major problem in many regions.

“This occurred particularly in low rainfall areas like Canterbury and the MacKenzie Basin where large scale corporate dairying interests were given an open door by the previous government, notably John Key, Steven Joyce and Nick Smith,” said Graham Carter.

NZFFA viewed with considerable apprehension, current Minister Shane Jones mega billion tree programme which inevitably would contain much exotic forestry. He said the Resource Management Act failed to protect the environment and had allowed dairying and forestry to have uncontrolled expansion.

Graham Carter said the silence from the Department of Conservation was of concern as native aquatic invertebrates were adversely affected while the silting of rivers was adverse to both trout and native fish. In some Marlborough valleys the department had done little or nothing to control the spread of wilding pines.

Source: Scoop news



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Loggers and foresters love their utes

Indeed, forestry is among the many outdoor industries where a ute is an essential tool for the job. And as the vehicle sales statistics show, we are quite attached to new utes as well with ute sales beating long-time leaders like the Corolla to occupy the top spot in sales numbers.

As an engineer, I’m impressed with the new electronic mirrors on the dash of the Atlis XT truck. Say 'goodbye' to side mirrors. With side cameras replacing the conventional wing mirrors, the Atlis XT has superior viewing angles allowing you to stay in total control of your surroundings. With screens either side of your steering wheel, the screens are large and provide a high quality video feed.

Given that relationship between man and ute, we’re quite sure you would like to see what the future may hold when the workday ute goes electric: Enjoy!

www.atlismotorvehicles.com/xt-truck (Atlis XT Pickup with service body shown below)


www.rivian.com/ (Rivian R1T shown below)


Source: Carbon Match



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IPO proceeding for Napier Port

Hawke's Bay Regional Council has hired Deutsche Craigs and Goldman Sachs to run the planned partial privatisation of Napier Port.

Earlier this week, the local body appointed the two investment banks as joint lead managers of the planned initial public offering and listing of the port operator on the NZX. It also hired corporate advisory firm Flagstaff Partners to advise on the process.

Both Deutsche Craigs and Goldmans had similar roles in the government's mixed ownership model of selling minority stakes in the state-owned electricity generator- retailers, while Flagstaff advised on the privatisations of the Melbourne and Darwin ports.

"We are looking forward to working with these advisors with a view to maximising priority allocation of shares to locals while protecting the short and long-term success of any IPO and the Port," council chair Rex Graham said in a statement.

In December, the council voted to go ahead with plans to sell as much as 45 percent of the port company in an IPO to help fund the construction of a $142 million wharf and meet the local authority's own growing capital needs.

Council spent two years of working on and consulting with the public before, and has indicated the share sale could raise $181 million. The local body would end up with $83 million after settling almost $87 million of port-related debt and sale costs of about $11 million.

On Jan. 30, the council discussed the proposed corporate structure to support the float, with PwC and Belly Gully advice recommending a holding company structure to provide a simple, tax efficient, and suitable liability framework for the listing process.

PwC and Bell Gully also noted that the port could declare a fully imputed dividend of up to $51 million, left outstanding as a payable until the IPO, as a more tax efficient way for council to extract funds by accessing imputation credits.

Hawke's Bay Regional Council is also seeking communications and stakeholder advisers, while the port wants to hire an investor relations specialist. Council also said it has two directors to appoint to Napier Port.


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Trees that Count brings timber to Tinder

Conservation programme Trees That Count has launched a Valentine’s Day campaign featuring native trees looking for love on the dating app Tinder. Three trees - Pohutukawa, Kowhai and Miro - will be on Tinder in the lead up to Valentine's Day chatting with New Zealanders about why native trees are important.

“One of our goals is to raise awareness of all of the reasons to love native trees, and it’s important to include younger people in that conversation,” says Chief Executive Adele Fitzpatrick, citing that while children and older people often get involved with conservation, younger New Zealanders seem less interested.

“We know that more than five per cent of New Zealanders are using Tinder, and the majority of those users are aged 18-34, so we decided to sign up some native trees and help them find love.”

The reception so far has been overwhelmingly positive, with Tinder users finding humour in the approach and asking lots of questions about native trees.

“One of our talking points is that pohutukawa and rata were almost extinct in the 1990s, and people have been shocked to hear that. It’s lead to some great conversations about native tree conservation, which is fantastic,” says Fitzpatrick.

Trees That Count is also encouraging people to gift a native tree on behalf of their loved one for Valentine’s Day instead of buying chocolates or flowers. Each gifted tree will go to a community planting project and help New Zealand’s environment.

“Over Christmas, we asked people to gift with our environment in mind and we were thrilled that New Zealanders rose to the challenge and gifted over 6,000 trees. We want to keep encouraging people to gift ethically for celebrations and milestones, and offer them an easy way to do that.”

Trees That Count is managed by Project Crimson, which has been leading native tree conservation in New Zealand for 30 years.


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You can’t have pudding til you've ate your trees

No, seriously, this is hot news (but for animal feed not human consumption) - The people at a new company, called Arbiom, are keen to let us know they are driven by innovation, inspired by science, and passionate about contributing to a more sustainable and healthy food system.

Our core team of engineers, scientists, researchers and key advisors has been critical to our success. Arbiom’s team brings a range of expertise, including animal nutrition, bioprocessing technology, engineering, fermentation and molecular biology.

Arbiom has operated our pilot plant in Norton, Virginia (US) since 2013. Arbiom’s pilot plant has allowed us to test, optimize and validate our pre-treatment and enzymatic hydrolysis process technology and produce various end products, specifically hydrolysate streams.

In 2018, Arbiom expanded our R&D Center with the completion of our fermentation facility where we are producing and optimizing the sustainable protein product.

More >>


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Buy and Sell



... and finally ... some Valentine's Day fun

One morning Emma woke up with a start. Her husband Jim asked what was the matter, she told him, “I just had a dream that you gave me a pearl necklace for Valentine’s day. What do you think it means?”

“You’ll know tonight,” Jim said.

That evening, Jim home with a small package and gave it to his wife. Delighted, Emma opened it – only to find a book entitled “The meaning of dreams”.

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“You came home early from your date,” John observed to his roommate. “What happened?”

“Well,” said the flatmate, “after dinner she invited me up to her flat. We had a couple of drinks and she put on some soft music. Then she reached over and turned out the lights.”

“So, what next?” asked John, eyebrows raised.

“I can take a hint,” said his flatmate. “I came home.”

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AN OLDER WOMAN runs into her friend at the mall. “You’re not going to believe this,” she said. “I found an old lamp the other day. I rubbed it and a genie popped out. He explained that genies don’t give three wishes anymore, but he did offer me a choice between one of two wishes. He could give me a better memory or turn my husband into the greatest lover ever.”

“Tough choice,” said her friend. “Which one did you choose?”

“That’s the thing. I can’t remember.”

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Thanks for keeping up with the latest wood news with us!
Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen Editor

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