WoodWeek – 6 March 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek good wood news team. The first positive vibes come from the far side the Tasman. Earlier this week OneFortyOne said strong domestic demand means there will be no sawlog exports from its Australian forest estate until at least June 2020.

Here in New Zealand, the Eastland Wood Council is planning a survey and report into the labour and skill needs in the East Coast forestry region. Forecasts currently show the region’s wood harvest will peak at around 3.8 million tonnes through to 2035. Right now the industry is still in a growth phase and operational activity was currently being constrained by the shortage of labour and skill supply, says EWC's Kim Holland.

This week we also have a story on training initiatives in Northland and funny TV ads promoting the trades. Digging a bit deeper into our future workforce, we hear the new young generation being described as “digital natives”. Their expectations and aspirations when it comes to employment are quite different to the Millennials (Generation Y or those born between 1977 and 1995). Understanding exactly what buttons to push to get them to engage with our own industry is vital.

This is a major constraint currently to forestry and in particular, to wood harvesting operations. It’s also playing a major part in this year’s major harvesting conference. You can register now at HarvestTECH 2019. So plan to be in Rotorua in June. As delegate registrations are coming in fast it is likely to sell out well before we even get to June so don't delay.

Following hard on the heels of this week's log export report where China is still the outlier in log export volumes, comes a negative forecast from ASB. ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny said 2018 had been a "fantastic" year for the sector: 2019 had started where it left off and, in New Zealand dollar terms, the forestry index was at record levels. However, Penny questions whether prices this year will continue at the same level as 2018.

Next up , if you’re old enough to still be watching free-to-air television, you will have seen these clever new ads on the box. The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) campaign aims to break down prejudices when it comes to which direction their children's careers head. Called "A Tricky Chat", it cleverly skewers a 'coming out' type scenario where a teen admits to his parents that he wants to be a tradie.

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Australia: OFO extend log export ban

OneFortyOne to extend halt on sawlog exports - Earlier this week forest managers, OneFortyOne announced that as a result of strong domestic demand it has advised customers that there will be no sawlog exported from its Australian forest estate until at least June 2020. This is a continuation of the position taken 12 months ago by the company and is positive news for local processing.

The Company has found its customers are seeking even more fibre than ever before. OneFortyOne’s Executive General Manager - Cameron MacDonald said “This is the strongest domestic market we have seen in over 15 years. Whilst local demand remains strong, we will continue to support the local industry by retaining the sawlogs onshore, being mindful not to compromise the long-term sustainability of the forest”.


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East Coast forestry forecast healthy

The East Coast region’s wood harvest will peak at around 3.8 million tonnes through to 2035 - It will then fall to around 2.5m tonnes for several years, but the industry will continue to be a significant contributor and employer in the region, says Eastland Wood Council.

EWC was responding to a letter in the Gisborne Herald last week that suggested for “the best part of a decade there will be no trees to harvest”.

“The forestry industry is a major contributor to the regional economy,” said EWC chief executive Kim Holland.

“A significant number of our population and community are directly and indirectly employed in the wider forest industry — from contractors through to those in support services.”

A “one in four households figure” mentioned in the letter was often quoted around the economic impact of the forest industry.

“It has come from the Eastland Wood Council/Waikato University Study completed in 2013.

“It is timely to update this and provide accurate figures on the economic impact and value of the forestry industry to the region, including the number of people directly and indirectly employed,” Ms Holland said.

“For this reason, the Eastland Wood Council, in conjunction with Activate Tairawhiti, is undertaking a survey and report into the labour and skill needs in the East Coast forestry region.

“This will ensure that we have a clear picture of our current and projected skill and labour needs, based on projected harvesting and reforestation programmes.”

The industry was still in a growth phase and operational activity was currently being constrained by the shortage of labour and skill supply, she said.

“Even with our skills and training programmes, The Generation Programme and Manaia Safe Forestry School, contractors, earthworks and transport employers are struggling to keep up with the work required.

“The forestry industry is looking to recruit across all levels of the sector, including engineering, forest management and health and safety, through to on-the-ground operations.”

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Source: Gisborne Herald


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ASB: Warning to log exporters

Warning for forestry exporters following 'fantastic' record year - Amid record returns for forestry exporters, the sector in New Zealand is being warned to take notice of the global demand for logs is beginning to trend downwards.

An increased market share for New Zealand's exporters, against declining market share for both Canada and the United States, has bolstered the sector's earnings: 2018 exports receipts were up by $684 million against 2017.

ASB senior rural economist Nathan Penny said 2018 had been a "fantastic" year for the sector, 2019 had started where it left off and, in New Zealand dollar terms, the forestry index was at record levels.

However, Penny questioned whether prices this year would continue at the same level as 2018.

"We're doubtful. Global demand for logs is actually falling, with log import volumes dipping around 2 per cent in three months to November compared to the same three months a year ago," he said.

Penny is anticipating global log demand will fall further, given world economic growth was slowing, particularly in China.

"China is the world's largest importer of logs and NZ's largest market by a long shot," he said.

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Source: NZ Herald





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Log exports: Champion Freight Report

Log exports to China continue to shine - This week we've got our monthly update from the good folks at Champion Freight. The chart shows total log export values to China to the end of August are up 19 percent year-on-year contributing to overall log exports growing 17 percent across all export markets. Log exports to Japan, South Korea and India were down 13 to 32%.

For the month ended in January, China shipments are up 35 percent, compared to January 2018, taking overall log exports up 20 percent.




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Northland: Ngati Hine Trust grows training

Twenty young men from Kaikohe and Moerewa are set to start their journey in the forestry industry as trainees on the new Nga Mahuri o Ngati Hine Manuka plantation training program.

This is the first part of a 2 year program funded by the Billion Tree fund through Te Uru Rakau and supported by the Ministry for Primary Industries Economic Development Unit. Ngati Hine Forestry Trust is partnering with Johnson Contractors to deliver a “learn while you earn” approach to L2 Forestry Training.

Ngati Hine Forestry Trust Chair, Pita Tipene says “Nga Mahuri o Ngati Hine means the saplings of Ngati Hine; this is an industry training program which embodies the kaupapa of Ngati Hine Forestry Trust Mission – He Ringa Ahuwhenua, He Hanga Mahi, to actively grow our assets. These akonga (learners) are our hapu and community assets”.

Moreover, the planting of manuka is all about the Trust’s long term strategy of a mosaic approach that will see the lands being returned to native cover.

The program will see our 2019 trainees plant approx. 200ha of Manuka seedlings on Ngati Hine lands. In 2020, a course will run with another 20 trainees to plant additional Ngati Hine lands up to a total of 400 ha.

Jack Johnson of Johnson Contractors is an experienced industry based trainer. “Partnering with Ngati Hine Forestry Trust is an exciting opportunity for us; trainees will strengthen their connection to Te Ao Maori, receive wrap around pastoral support and learn while they earn”.

The programme launched on Monday Otiria Marae in Moerewa where trainees, whanau, partners and industry stakeholders gather to celebrate the commencement of the new initiative.

Source: Scoop news

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Tradies hit on parents with TV ads

If you think there’s a skill shortage in the trades now - just wait. In five or six years things are going to get dire, as a low birth year 16 years ago leaves an even bigger hole in the number of apprentices needed to replace an ageing building workforce. It’s a scenario that the industry is trying to counter with a new TV advertising campaign designed at winning over the parents of young graduates.

The Building and Construction Industry Training Organisation (BCITO) campaign aims to break down prejudices when it comes to which direction their children's careers head. Called "A Tricky Chat", it cleverly skewers a 'coming out' type scenario where a teen admits he wants to be a tradie.

BCITO chief executive Warwick Quinn says a child’s career choice is influenced 80 percent by their parents, and the prevailing attitude is still that the best career is one that starts at university. He wants to change that, pointing out that it’s no longer the case that at the end of a career the worker with a degree has earned more than the tradesperson.

"There is a long-held cultural and inter-generational prejudice against the trades," says Quinn. "It's inherited ancestry out of the UK - 'my grandparents left England so my father could go to uni'. Scandinavian countries hold the trades close to heart and accord qualifications, which are held in esteem."

Because of a population dip in 2003, fewer school leavers will be available at a time when the economy enjoys very strong employment figures. So an already labour- strapped industry will be even shorter of candidates for apprenticeships. “That needs to be understood, and that needs to change,” says Quinn.

At the moment, BCITO is running 12,000 apprentices. For the last four years the numbers have grown steadily by a thousand a year. But it’s still not enough for all the construction work in the pipeline. “We have a small window of four to five years to address some of our concerns … after that it’s going to get really tough.”

BCITO is attacking the issue on several fronts, the latest being the campaign launched this week. Hand in hand with convincing parents their child would have a good future on the tools is convincing the government to improve the recognition of the skills apprentices gain after four years of on-the-job learning. At the moment, a fully-qualified builder emerges from four years of study with a qualification that is just one step past Year 13 - a Level 4 qualification. A university degree of three years gets you a Level 7 recognition.

Quinn says it’s ridiculous that a fully-qualified mechanic with years of complex study and cognitive thinking skills emerges with an inferior qualification to that of an art history graduate.

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Source: Newsroom


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ANZ Commodity Price Index

The ANZ World Commodity Price Index pushed up 2.8% m/m in February, continuing the upward shift that commenced in January. Positive price movements were recorded for most sectors but the 6.6% lift in dairy prices was the main driver.

The NZD index lifted 1.8% m/m in February, tempered by a 0.8% lift in the trade- weighted exchange rate. In local currency terms the ANZ Commodity Price Index has increased 3.2% y/y, versus a 2.2% decline in world terms.

ANZ Commodity Price Index




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Attention farm foresters: New yarder report

Small scale forests (less than 1000 hectares) made up 30% of New Zealand's plantation forest estate in 2017 according to MPI figures. Recent forecasts indicate that the potential harvest volumes available from these small-scale owners’ forests could increase from 8 million cubic metres per year to around 15 million cubic metres per year from 2020 through to 2035. This increase will help lift the total available volume for harvest up to 35 million cubic metres per year by the mid-2020s (MPI, 2016) from current levels around 30 million cubic metres.

Market conditions, such as log and lumber prices, harvesting costs, shipping costs and exchange rates, and logistics constraints such as availability of harvesting crews, log transport capacity and harvest planning factors, will drive their harvesting decisions. Cable harvesting costs, a critical component, have steadily increased over the last 8 years in New Zealand from $32.40 per tonne in 2009 to $39.40 per tonne in 2017 (Visser, 2018), due to increasing labour and machinery costs.

The combination of increased wood availability from small forests on steep terrain, in locations remote from mills or ports means that harvesting systems must be carefully matched to these conditions to avoid high cost harvest access and harvesting. A new report, a Technology Watch report just produced by Forest Growers Research details a new excavator-based yarder, the Alpine Shovel Yarder, now working in New Zealand, that has the potential to reduce harvest access and harvesting costs, and is particularly suited to harvesting small, steep terrain forests.

Excavator-based yarders, also known as ‘Yoaders’ in North America and ‘Shovel Yarders’ in other parts of the world, are not a new development. An excavator yarder concept was described in 1990 as a response to the need for efficient and environmentally acceptable logging systems in the U.S. (Skurdahl, 1990).

Renewed interest in excavator-based yarders has lately been seen in New Zealand. Electrical and Machinery Services of Rotorua is the manufacturer of the Harvestline excavator-based yarder (EMS 2018). A recent survey of yarders in 2018 identified 20 excavator yarders working in New Zealand (Harrill & Visser, 2018). This type of cable yarder represented 6% of the total number of yarders in New Zealand, up from 3% in 2012, when the last survey was undertaken. The Alpine shovel yarder is a recent addition to the numbers stated above.

These excavator-based units are ideal for extracting trees up to 450 metres on medium to steep slopes. They are highly manoeuverable, simple to operate and less capital intensive than larger swing yarders. The full report produced by FGR can be read here.

Source: Forest Growers Research


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Australia: South West forestry hub welcomed

The South West was selected as one of four pilot Regional Forestry Hubs being rolled out across Australia with A$12.5 million of funding announced by Prime Minister Scott Morrison last week.

Forrest MP Nola Marino welcomed the announcement and said the South West’s Regional Forestry Hub had been welcomed by the industry as an opportunity to help better prepare for future challenges and opportunities.

“The assessments that come from the South West Hub will provide industry with regional data that is not currently available, bringing potential to support new investment in the sector,” she said.

“This will assist our region to identify future investment and other opportunities for the forest industries in rural and regional Australia.

“For the South West communities, the Regional Forestry Hub also has the potential to create rural and regional jobs."

Forest Industries Federation of WA acting chief executive Matt Granger said the industry had been anticipating it since last year’s launch of the National Forest Industries Plan, with its commitment of planting a billion trees over a decade, including 400,000 new hectares of plantations nationally.

"The Bunbury-Geographe Timber Hub is already a vibrant timber processing precinct, generating an estimated $490 million gross regional product per annum and over 700 jobs," he said.

"This hub is poised to benefit from new investment arising from the Prime Minister’s announcement.

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Source: Bunbury Mail


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Waverly mill closure will impact locals

The Waverley Sawmill, which has traded since at least 1932, has been sold and the new owner has decided it is no longer viable, South Taranaki District Mayor Ross Dunlop said.

"It's been a very valuable business in our district and has employed lots of people. It's pretty sad and very tough on the staff and management."

Export log prices were very high at present, making it difficult for local sawmills to compete, he added.

Sixty-five jobs have been lost with the closure of a small South Taranaki town's biggest employer.

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Source: Stuff.co.nz


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Study: Rock-'eating' trees key to forest health

Red alder trees tap nutrients from bedrock – By tapping nutrients from bedrock, red alder trees play a key role in healthy forest ecosystems, according to a new study.

The study was published Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Researchers from Oregon State University and the US Geological Survey determined red alder, through its symbiotic relationship with nitrogen-fixing bacteria, taps nutrients that are locked in bedrock, such as calcium and phosphorus. This process accelerates rock dissolution, releasing more mineral nutrients that allow plants and trees to grow.

The study addresses the long-term implications of how nutrients make their way into ecosystems, which sustain their long-term growth and productivity and ultimately store carbon, said Julie Pett-Ridge, a geochemist in OSU’s College of Agricultural Sciences and a co-author on the study.

The research also furthers the understanding of a specific set of trees that are known for their ability to naturally fertilize forests by converting atmospheric nitrogen into forms available for other plants. This process, called nitrogen fixation, is essential for natural ecosystems.

“Nitrogen mostly comes from the atmosphere, but more than 20 other nutrients mostly come from rock,” Pett-Ridge said. “We’ve established a connection between those two processes. Nitrogen-fixing trees, which we knew were special for how they bring in nitrogen from the atmosphere, also have a unique ability to accelerate the supply of rock-derived nutrients.”

Red alder is a deciduous broadleaf tree native to western North America. It is closely related to other species of alder around the world. Like all alder species, red alder can release nitrogen into soil through nodules on its roots.

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DoC’s new North Island kiwi plan

Landowners join 33,000 ha in new North Island kiwi plan - The Department of Conservation has approved a $411,000 plan by a leading Hawke’s Bay conservation trust to release up to 200 kiwi in the 11,400ha Pohokura Forest between 2019 and 2024. The move is an important third step in an ambitious plan to control predators and establish self-sustaining populations of North Island Brown Kiwi across a contiguous, 33,000 ha swathe of the central North Island.

The first kiwi was released at the property today in a ceremony led by Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust Chairman Simon Hall and attended by DOC officials, representatives of tangata whenua and conservationists from across the Hawke’s Bay region.

Pohokura is managed by the Trust. It lies to the north of State Highway 5 between Taupo and Napier and adjoins the privately-owned Ngatapa Station (9,515ha), which in turn sits alongside the Trust’s other properties in the Maungataniwha Native Forest (6,120ha) and the Maungataniwha Pine Forest (6,294ha), which is being restored to native bush in the largest project of its kind in the country.

The green light for the Trust to restock Pohokura with kiwi follows a decision last year by the owners of Ngatapa Station to start kiwi conservation and a comprehensive predator trapping programme there, and achievement of the Trust’s decade-long ambition to establish a viable kiwi population at Maungataniwha.

The impact of the conservation work now happening on all three properties is magnified by significant kiwi and whio restoration programmes underway in the Whirinaki Conservation Forest north-east of Pohokura.

The Trust achieved a viable population of kiwi at Maungataniwha in June last year. It plans to repeat the achievement at Pohokura, releasing up to 40 kiwi there each year for five years, or until 200 kiwi have been released. The primary source of kiwi will be juveniles from Maungataniwha, incubated and reared as part of the national Operation Nest Egg kiwi conservation initiative. Some may also be sourced from other appropriate locations within the eastern brown kiwi region.

The reintroduction started today with the release at Pohokura of the 300th Kiwi reared as part of the Trust’s involvement in Operation Nest Egg. It will be accompanied by extensive predator control work.

Kiwi conservation work at Pohokura will be funded primarily by the Trust, with specialist not-for-profit provider OSPRI undertaking pest management work to the value of $160,000 and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council contributing trapping equipment worth $11,500.

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Source: Scoop News


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Jobs



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...and just for laughs... For the animal lovers ...

My email password has been hacked. That’s the third time I’ve had to rename the cat.

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A man boards a plane in the US and is seated next to an Air Marshall with his ‘sniffing dog’. Soon, the plane takes off and the Marshall says, “Sniffer, search.” The dog walks along the aisle, and stops next to a woman. He then returns to his seat and puts a paw on the Marshall’s arm.

“Good boy,” says the Marshall.

“What happened?” asks the man.

“That woman is in possession of marijuana. We’ll arrest her when we land.”

Once again, Sniffer searches the aisles. He stops beside a man, then returns to his seat, and places two paws on the Marshall’s arm.

“That man is carrying cocaine,” the Marshall explains.

The dog walks up the aisle again, then races back, jumps into his seat, and poops all over it.

“What’s going on?!” demands the man.

The Marshall nervously replies, “He's just found someone with a bomb!”

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According to the Internet: The inscription on the metal bands used by the US Department of the Interior to tag migratory birds has been changed.

The bands used to bear the address of the Washington Biological Survey, abbreviated as “Wash. Biol. Surv.” —until the agency received the following letter from an unhappy camper:

“Dear Sirs: While camping last week, I shot one of your birds. I think it was a crow. I followed the cooking instructions on the leg tag and wanted to tell you it tasted horrible.”

The bands are now marked “Fish & Wildlife Service.”



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

John Stulen Editor

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