WoodWeek – 12 June 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. Farmers say a doubling of North Island forest land prices in the last year shows forestry investors speculating on the carbon price are outbidding farmers for land. This has renewed calls from farmers for the Government to hit the pause button on policies which have led to thousands of hectares of hill country farmland being converted to blanket forestry in the last year.

Meanwhile, according to market commentators in China, importing companies been absorbing increased tariff levels on imported US timber raw materials but any further rises will hurt them. To avoid this, Chinese companies are looking for alternative sources to US logs and sawn wood. Australian log exporters are feeling the glow of hot export demand as smaller sized softwood log exports from Australia hit record average prices earlier this year.

Moving to log market logistics, as we look towards our next Woodflow Logistix Conference running in Vancouver on 22-23rd October, we’ve got the latest news on log scanning for replacing scaling. The world's first two automated logging truck scalers, commissioned by Mount Maunganui-based ISO Limited, are now scanning logs at Port of Tauranga. The new Robotic Scaling Machines (RSM) give a faster, safer and more accurate measure of logs on the trucks and trailers than the manual process. For more information on this next international forest industry technology conference see updates at www.woodflowlogistix.events

Staying with logistics, a proposed rail hub for Dannevirke could take up to 200,000 tonnes of logs off road, says KiwiRail’s Todd Moyle. Fletcher Tabuteau announced that $400,000 from the Provincial Growth Fund will go towards evaluating the potential of the hub. If successful, up to $4 million could go to KiwiRail to build the hub at Tapuata.

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North Island forest land values skyrocket

Farmers say a doubling of North Island forest land prices in the last year shows forestry investors speculating on the carbon price are outbidding farmers for land.

This has renewed calls from farmers for the Government to hit the pause button on policies which have led to thousands of hectares of hill country farmland being converted to blanket forestry in the last year.

Real Estate Institute figures show that for the year to April, North Island forestry land rose from a median of $6656 a hectare to $13,128/ha. In contrast, South Island forestry land fell 4 per cent in the same period from $6450 to $6162/ha.

Institute chief executive Bindi Norwell said buyers viewed forestry as a sought-after investment. Lobby group 50 Shades of Green spokesman Mike Butterick says forestry investors are outbidding farmers for land. Forest Owners' Association president Peter Weir says law changes have steered forest investors on to better hill country farmland, which is more expensive.

Farm sales fell by 29 per cent compared with the same time last year, while forest land sales had also fallen. Investors are holding on to their farms which is also contributing to the price rises.

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Little logs get big prices

Smaller sized softwood log exports from Australia hit record average prices in March 2019 - Averaging AUDFob162.45/m3, prices for softwood logs less than 15 cm diameter hit a new peak, sustaining their recent price advantage over the larger dimension logs.

For export, softwood logs are recorded as larger or smaller than 15cm diameter.

Exports of the smaller sized logs have fluctuated in recent months: falling in December, rebounding in January, before falling sharply again in February and again rebounding in March 2019. Exports were recorded at 79,357 m3 in March 2019.

Despite the volumes moving around, the average price of AUDFob162.45/m3 continues a long run of trend price growth for what are traditionally considered to be logs that yield lower value than the larger dimension logs.

Larger dimension (>15 cm diameter at the small end) logs dominate exports volumes, and in the month of March, they accounted for 78.6% of total exports. The reported export volume was 290,667 m3, at an average price of AUDFob144.39/m3.

With the price differential around AUD18/m3, the chart is important because it shows prices for larger dimension logs are more stable over all time periods.

Photo credit: OneFortyOne Plantations

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Chinese companies seeking US alternatives

At present, Chinese companies have been able to absorb increased tariff levels on imported US timber raw materials but if these are raised further then their businesses will be at risk.

To avoid this Chinese companies have started to look for alternative raw material sources and substitutes for US logs and sawnwood.

According to China Customs data imports from the US were mainly softwood logs such as douglas fir, spruce and fir but close examination shows there is no real price advantage over other sources. This is leading importers to look at douglas fir from Canada and more softwoods from New Zealand as well as spruce and fir from Russia.

China’s imports of douglas fir from the US, Canada and New Zealand were 98,000, 480, 000 and 380,000 cubic metres in 2017 respectively. The average price for douglas fir from the US was the highest at US$186 per cubic metre, from Canada US$172 per cubic metre and from New Zealand US$138 per cubic metre.

Source: ITTO TTM Report


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World-first robotic logging truck scalers

The world's first two automated logging truck scalers, commissioned by Mount Maunganui-based ISO Limited, are now scanning logs at Port of Tauranga.

The Robotic Scaling Machines (RSM) give a faster, safer and more accurate measure of logs on the trucks and trailers than the manual process.

Tauranga-based agritech company Robotics Plus designed and built the automatic logging truck scaler using materials from several local suppliers.

Robotics Plus co-founder Steve Saunders said he and his staff worked with ISO, which came up with the concept in 2017 and came up with a final prototype in just 12 months.

"I's a great example for New Zealand about how collaboration can really empower," Saunders said. "This is a technology company working with a well-established local company looking into the future to actually solve these sorts of problems. I think we need a lot more of that in New Zealand," Saunders said.

The technology was now being rolled out across the country, starting with two scalers at the Port of Napier, then Gisborne and at Marsden Pt next year.

ISO Limited's chief executive, Paul Cameron, said the technology offers huge health and safety benefits to staff. "The robotic scaler measuring process eliminates exposure to hazards and moves those people into a safer environment," he said.

Cameron said the existing manual system used throughout the world requires people to hand scan the logs by climbing between trucks and trailers, taking up to 40 minutes.

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Today's SNAP Story

Log Export Values: A picture is worth ... a thousand logs (or more ...)








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John Deere Announces Upgrades

John Deere Announces Upgrades to the FR22B and FR24B Felling Heads

Committed to providing the forestry industry with powerful and reliable equipment solutions, John Deere is rolling out upgrades to its FR22B and FR24B Felling Heads. Compatible with select M-Series Tracked Feller Bunchers, the updated FR22B and FR24B models have been redesigned to increase durability and extend the life of the wrist and head.

“The forestry industry is challenging and pushes equipment to the limit to get the job done, making it important for manufacturers to provide reliable solutions designed for logging applications,” said Jim O’Halloran, product marketing manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “Our new FR22B and FR24B Felling Heads provide just that – a reliable felling solution designed with the operator’s needs in mind.”

The new felling heads feature improved flow capability, increased hydraulic hose size and routing, and updated ring gear and frame welds, all resulting in increased durability.

To learn more about the FR22B or FR24B Felling Heads, as well as the full line of John Deere Forestry Equipment, visit your local John Deere Forestry dealer or www.JohnDeere.com.


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Moyle: New hub to get logs off roads

KiwiRail says a new rail hub proposed south-west of Dannevirke may be able to take 200,000 tonnes of logs off the roads - Officials have been allocated $400,000 to evaluate the potential for the hub to take trucks off local roads and better integrate freight flows through Hawke’s Bay.

If approved, the state-owned rail operator will receive $4 million from the Provincial Growth Fund to develop the hub at Tapuata.

KiwiRail is developing a forestry hub at Wairoa as part of the reopening of freight services to Napier. It has a three- year project underway to develop a new freight hub near Palmerston North and last month increased capacity on its rail service to CentrePort in Wellington from the Waingawa log hub south of Masterton.

Deputy chief executive Todd Moyle said the company had been considering a hub near Dannevirke for some time and the staged approach is sensible. It will now work with the New Zealand Transport Agency and other agencies on the project.

Ernslaw One’s Titoki forest lies about 37 kilometres to the east between Te Uri and Weber and is already sending more than 50,000 tonnes of logs to Napier Port annually.

“With harvests expected to hit 200,000 tonnes in the coming years it makes sense to get as much of that volume on rail as possible,” Moyle said.

“Not only does rail have 66 percent fewer emissions per tonne than road transport, it would also reduce the number of logging trucks on the roads, improving road safety and saving in road maintenance costs which burden the local councils and NZTA.”

Log exports are booming, with many ports working to increase capacity to handle trees planted in the 1990s. Logs and timber are the country's third-largest export and brought in $5.5 billion in the 12 months through April, 13 percent more than a year earlier.

KiwiRail is also investing heavily to capture more of that harvest for its own business. It is converting about 100 container wagons annually to carry logs and is expecting to receive an additional 200 new log wagons by the end of the year.

The rail funding was part of more than $40 million in funding just announced by Fletcher Tabuteau, under-secretary for regional economic development.

Just over half the PGF funding was allocated for upgrades of roads and bridges from Waipukurau to Porangahau to improve resilience and improve delivery of logs and farm produce to Napier.

A further $14.7 million has been allocated to Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to investigate development of storage in the Tukituki catchment to capture winter flows and replenish aquifers in Central Hawke’s Bay.

Source: BusinessDesk via Scoop news


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Landowners focus on native tree planting

The One Billion Trees Fund is ramping up native tree planting across the country as landowners take up nearly $1.5 million in planting grants, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

Launched in November 2018, the Fund includes $118 million for tree planting grants, with a target of supporting two-thirds natives. In total, $2.2 million in grant funding has been approved.

“We’re focused on supporting landowners – particularly farmers – to get the best out of their land by integrating trees into the landscape. The purpose of the Fund is not to enable whole farm conversions.” Shane Jones said.

“This is clearly reflected in the criteria of the grants scheme and all grants so far approved have been for areas of land under 140 hectares. About two thirds have been for applications under 50 hectares.

“Over 80 percent of the planting projects approved to date will support landowners to establish native trees on their land.

“All of the funding will support tree planting that allows landowners to diversify income, improve land productivity, address environmental issues like erosion, water quality and climate change, increase habitats for a range of native species and enhance our natural landscapes.

“By planting the right tree, in the right place, for the right purpose, we will see many farmers turning lower producing land into an asset. The Fund will also support our goal to move towards a low-emissions economy.

“In total, the Fund has received 237 applications for tree planting grants and approved 36 grants covering 1100 hectares,” Shane Jones said.


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Wood builds deliver climate change positives

Navigating the climate emergency: using timber in commercial buildings – OPINION: There is a significant opportunity to slash our carbon emissions that we may be missing. It's an opportunity that does not involve extra cost, just by thinking a bit differently about how we build our buildings. Currently we are most likely to build our commercial buildings by using highly energy intensive materials such as steel and concrete. These materials come at a high carbon cost that we currently all but ignore, but more than that, they come at an opportunity cost of missing out on using other materials that store sequestered carbon.

By using timber in our buildings, not only do we side-step emissions from carbon intensive materials, we also lock up carbon in the timber fabric of the building - a double whammy for attacking global warming.

We need to see our buildings as carbon banks where we can store the carbon absorbed by trees for decades into the future, if not in perpetuity. We need to have a "wood first" approach to building where you have to have a very good reason for not using timber beams, columns, floors, claddings and linings in our commercial buildings as well as our houses.

Weight for weight engineered timber is about as strong as steel, and while we need bulkier timber members for equivalent functions, we can design for that. Perhaps surprisingly, heavy timber columns and beams can perform well in fires, thanks to the charring process on the outside which protects the interior structural timber.

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ANZ Commodity Price Index

Steady as

The ANZ World Commodity Price Index was stable in May, following a revised 2.6% rise in April. The index is now 0.7% stronger than a year ago.

The NZD index lifted 2.3% m/m in May, as commodity returns in local currency terms were bolstered by the softer New Zealand dollar.



Source: ANZ


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almost finally ... Wooden beer bottles?

Yes, you heard it here first:


Wooden beer bottles being piloted by Carlsberg - The new design of the beer bottle was developed with Carlsberg’s partners in the Carlsberg Circular Community as well as CP+B Copenhagen and Kilo, a Danish industrial design studio. The prototype, which has been prepared based on the distinctive Carlsberg design, shows how the bottle might look like when it hits the market.

The new bottle design was developed with Carlsberg’s partners in the Carlsberg Circular Community as well as CP+B Copenhagen and Kilo, a Danish industrial design studio. The prototype, which has been prepared based on the distinctive Carlsberg design, shows how the bottle might look like when it hits the market.

Sustainability Director, Simon Boas Hoffmeyer, originally revealed the new design at the Sustainable Brands Copenhagen conference back in 2016. He said the new bottle is a milestone in the ambitious three-year project:

“The new bottle is a great milestone in the project, as having a physical prototype makes it easier for us to explain the new packaging format to consumers and colleagues. I think the new bottle looks great and shows how we can use innovation and design to help shape products for a better tomorrow,” says Hoffmeyer.

“The bottle has been created with input from some of the leading packaging specialists in the world, who are very excited to participate in the project. Though we still have technical challenges to overcome, we're on track on the project,” says packaging innovation director Hakon Langen.

The Green Fiber Bottle will be a landmark in sustainable innovation. Its fibers will come from responsibly managed sources, with trees replanted at the same rate that they are harvested. While the bottle will degrade into environmentally non-harmful materials if discarded randomly, the intention is that it will form part of a proper waste management system, just like today’s bottles and cans.

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Buy and Sell



... and finally ... continuing last week's theme ...

... here's one that takes the MTB tricks even further:

Danny Daycare



and Danny Daycare 'Behind the Scenes'



Go on ... it only takes 6 minutes ... put the coffee jug on and enjoy!







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

John Stulen

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