WoodWeek – 27 November 2019

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Greetings from your WoodWeek news team. This week we have a couple of stories where Government ministers and officials are reverting to a practice generally known as ‘picking winners’. Shane Jones says the Government will further strengthen New Zealand’s wood processing sector as part of our focus on ‘value over volume’ in our forestry industry. Minister Jones will soon meet with forestry representatives in Northland to signal new measures to help the industry, including a log buyer registration scheme that would see more logs processed onshore and provide better job certainty in regional communities.

We want to send out a big ”Thank you” to everyone who attended and supported our ForestTECH conference series over the past two weeks. The event received our highest feedback ratings ever which is a credit to all of our speakers on new technologies really coming into their own for disrupting how forest inventory is done and the information it now produces. Also, we would like to thank those presenters who shared their case studies on how the new LiDAR and satellite technologies are bringing practical results for forest managers in many countries. This conference series, which also includes ForestTECHX, our Vancouver event coming in March, is becoming truly international in its scope … as industry leaders recognise the value to be gained from these new technologies for forest management.

Moving to big iron and as a direct result of the continued growth of the steep slope logging market, John Deere have released a new machine – the 959ML Shovel Logger – designed for felling and log handling in difficult terrain. Available in one of two configurations from the factory - shovel logger or directional feller - the 959ML machine boosts productivity, even in the most challenging of applications.

Back to men in funny, but practical, hats (well, just one actually) hanging around in the forests – we have news that Forestry Minister Shane Jones wants to create a log barging facility at Hicks Bay and turn the area into a Special Economic Zone. The move would be part of protecting New Zealand's forests from being depleted by India and China, he said.

Almost finally, we’ve got another story in a picture today with a quick snap of the volume of wood exports since 1989. What a ride it’s been eh – look at the growth that our industry has had. Many people in other industries would love to have that sort of export volume growth. It’s been even more stunning since 2010. And it happens with lots of people and largely on the back of the radiata pine tree and it’s fantastic growth in our skinny little country. Maybe Mr Jones is right to be picking our industry as a winner …

RDO Equipment is excited to announce the consolidation of its business interests in Australia and the appointment of Julie Whitcombe as CEO of the newly formed RDO Australia Group. The changes come as the business acquires 100% ownership of Queensland-based machinery dealer Vanderfield and Vermeer Equipment Holdings. It currently owns 50% of each of these businesses.

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New measure for boosting wood processing

The Government will further strengthen New Zealand’s wood processing sectoras part of our focus on ‘value over volume’ in our forestry industry, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

Minister Jones will today meet with forestry representatives in Northland to signal new measures to help the industry, including a log buyer registration scheme that would see more logs processed onshore and provide better job certainty in regional communities.

“Our commercial forestry and wood processing sector faces significant challenges,” Shane Jones said.

“It is a fragmented industry and there is significant value to be gained by increasing cooperation between those who own the land, own the trees, process them, and export them. The focus has historically been on volume rather than adding value and high export prices have created strong incentives to export unprocessed logs.

“The Government is also well aware of looming log supply constraints for domestic processors over the coming decades,” Shane Jones said.

Today, two research reports commissioned by Te Uru Rakau from Forme Consulting and Scion into log supply issues in Northland were also released. The reports note the region will see restricted supply worsen in the early 2020s, with shortages in Canterbury, Southland and the southern North Island emerging in the late 2020s.

“The package of measures I have asked my officials to explore won’t fix things overnight but they will help provide surety of supply and assurance of the sustainability of New Zealand wood for markets.

“The most significant initiative would be the introduction of a professional registration scheme for log buyers as well as a standardised sales and purchase contract. This would ensure small growers receive impartial and comprehensive advice from log buyers and provide for redress in the event of unprofessional behaviour."

“I also propose to create a national definition of wood legality, which will support access for our forestry exports internationally. The global illegal log trade is a substantial and an ongoing challenge, which is undermining and threatening progress on sustainable development and climate change objectives."

“We’re also going to increase the flow of transparent information for the sector such as publishing a harvest and sales information series and help small forest growers pool their resources to achieve economies of scale. From my regular discussions with those in the industry, I know they understand the need for this nationally-focused approach to provide certainty and longevity for the wider sector."

“Cabinet has directed officials to pursue these measures and I intend to report back early next year. This Government is committed to forestry as an industry that can play an important role in regional economic development, help Maori fulfil their aspirations for their land and deliver environmental benefits,” Shane Jones said.





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Hazard alert: Slip could have been far worse

A reminder to all drivers to take extra care when unchaining log loads at log yards - There has been an incident where a log has slipped off a truck while the driver was walking away from it, after releasing the last chain of the bunk. In other circumstances this could have been a very serious incident indeed.

As the driver has unchained, he has noticed the log was moving so has taken precautions to unchain it carefully. When he has completed unchaining and ‘flicked’ the chain at the rear of the truck while walking towards the trailer, the log has slid forward, falling out onto the ground. This has left the log leaning against the front bolster of the truck, missing the driver by approx. 1-1.5 meters.

For the full Hazard Alert, click here.

To keep up to date on all the latest trends and new innovations in forest safety gear, make sure you get along to FIEA's Forest Industry Safety & Technology conference series.

Running in May 2020 in both Rotorua and Melbourne, you won't want to miss this! Visit www.forestsafety.events to subscribe to our updates and be the first to know when registrations are open.






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John Deere: New steep slope felling model

A direct result of the continued growth of the steep slope logging market, the new John Deere 959ML Shovel Logger is designed for felling and log handling in difficult terrain. Available in one of two configurations from the factory - shovel logger or directional feller - the 959ML machine boosts productivity, even in the most challenging of applications.

“We are continuing to see loggers moving into steeper terrain, and, understanding the demands and unpredictability of these conditions, we want to provide them with equipment that is specifically designed for this challenging application,” said Jim O’Halloran, global product marketing manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry. “The new 959ML Shovel Logger leverages the top features from our M- and MH-Series models, including the best-in-class leveling control system, to produce a new machine specifically designed for steep slope operations. We are excited to bring a new solution to the market that helps our customers be more productive, regardless of where they work.”

One of the key features of the 959ML machine is the boom geometry. Available in two configurations, the 11-meter (36 foot) live heel shovel logger boom and the 9.12-meter (30 foot) and 10.34-meter (34 foot) directional feller booms are specifically designed to ensure high performance in challenging steep slope applications. All boom options have excellent downhill reach capability, ensuring that each boom configuration can reach the downhill side of the ground, even at a full leveler tilt. Equipped with a strong, purpose built live heel, the 11-meter shovel logger boom is designed to incorporate grapples up to 1.5 meter (60 inches) or mid-sized directional felling heads. There is also an option available to quickly switch between the two. The directional feller booms, available in either 9.12- meter or 10.34-meter reach, is specifically designed to support any large directional felling head applications. “Providing multiple solutions for steep slope felling and log handling is key to helping our customers become more efficient in these challenging applications,” says Jim O’Halloran.

The patented leveling control system uses sensor technology, maximizing the forward tilt angle (26 degrees forward), while electronically preventing any possible mechanical interference when tilting to the side. The leveling envelope boundaries are set automatically and the patented system provides a smooth transition when approaching the leveling limits.

The 959ML Shovel Logger is equipped with a powerful 9.0-liter, John Deere Final Tier 4 engine, boasting 330HP and lower Diesel Exhaust Fluid consumption. A proven solution, the John Deere engine results in lower daily fluid costs. The cab on the 959ML machine was designed with the challenges of the steep slope environment in mind. The roomy operator cab includes a large, upward viewing skylight and downward viewing window for increased visibility and awareness in challenging terrain. The high leveling capability of the patented system increases overall operator comfort and productivity, especially in severe downslope, tethered conditions.

The 959ML machine offers increased durability and reliability. The industry-leading, best- in-class, serviceability design features full opening enclosures and walkthrough access. Additionally, standard walkways allow access to all areas of the enclosure without climbing down. With these features, maintenance is easier and faster, and there is no need to take the machine off the hill for service.

The 959ML machine can be equipped with a variety of optional add-ons specifically designed for steep slope applications, including a weld-on, tether-ready hitch field kit, slope indicator, and four-point seat harness.

To learn more about the new 959ML machine, as well as the full line of John Deere forestry equipment, visit your local John Deere Forestry dealer or www.JohnDeere.com.

Source: John Deere


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Jones: Make Hicks Bay special zone

Forestry Minister Shane Jones wants to create a log barging facility at Hicks Bay and turn the area into a Special Economic Zone - The move would be part of protecting New Zealand's forests from being depleted by India and China, he said.

It follows his announcement on Friday that the Government would strengthen New Zealand's wood processing sector with new measures to help the industry, including a log buyer registration scheme that would see more logs processed onshore and provide better job certainty in regional communities.

Jones also proposed to create a national definition of wood legality and to increase the flow of transparent information for the sector.

"I sought a Cabinet mandate to stop the wholesale loss of our raw material to India and China, and insist that anyone selling overseas must be registered."

Cabinet had directed officials to pursue the measures and Jones said intends to report back early next year.

On Sunday, he told Stuff he wanted to make the Hicks Bay area a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), which would see the area's business and trade laws differ from the rest of the country.

Under this he would get an act of Parliament to open up the "blue highway" to barge logs up north or to other parts of the country.

The isolated area had huge amounts of land that already have some forestry assets, but people were struggling to harvest profitably because of the distance to key port infrastructure, he said.

Jones accepted some locals would fear the proposal but said there were others who were already keen but were overwhelmed by the red tape associated with consents to open up the "blue highway".

"I've become exasperated by small minority groups catastrophising economic development and using environmental legislation to frustrate economic development," Jones said.

The blue highway proposal could not make headway prior to the 2020 election because it would take time to pass the special legislation but it was something that could be fuelled before then, he added.

In the meantime, Jones will seek an endorsement from NZ First to include it in its 2020 election campaign.

The majority of the country's forestry industry was foreign-owned and historically had a free hand in sending logs overseas, but felt no obligation to support local jobs or local processors, he said.

Click to read more

Source: Stuff


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SnapSTAT - Industry growth in a picture




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Mills in Guangdong feel policy pinch

Chinese mills in Guangdong region production reducing or ceasing production - Many timber processing plants in Guangdong Province have stopped or limited their production recently due to local environment protection policy and supervision and this will likely lead to a sharp rise in the price of construction timber in the domestic market.

November is the peak season for Guangdong wood processing enterprises and reduced production will cause delays in deliveries to construction projects. Timber processors are being encouraged to move to Huizhou (also in Guangdong Province), but many have not yet done so.

Efforts are being made to meet the shortfall from Belt and Road Initiative countries, but this is only a stopgap measure. Local analysts are telling traders they should exercise caution in signing contracts in Guangdong province to avoid large increases in production costs. At the same time, customers should place orders early to ensure adequate supplies.

Source ITTO TTM Report


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Fines in East Coast flood aftermath

Juken Fined for RMA breach - Juken was sentenced recently in Gisborne District Court for discharges of slash, logging debris, waste logging material and/or sediment to watercourses arising from harvesting of radiata pine trees at Waituna Forest.

The discharges occurred following major rainfall events on 3 and 4 and 11 and 12 June 2018 at Waituna Forest, 30 kilometres southwest of Gisborne. Juken was sentenced under Sections 338(1)(a) and 15(1)(b) of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

The company was fined $152,000. The Judge also awarded Court costs of $130, and that the Council’s legal costs be set by the Registrar. During sentencing, the Judge adopted a starting point of $200,000. From that, the Judge ordered a 5% reduction as a result of remedial actions taken post the event, and a 20% reduction for the company’s early guilty plea.

Juken expresses sincere regret for its failure to comply with the law in this instance, and for the damage caused. Juken self-reported the discharge and cooperated with the Council at all times. Genuine efforts were also taken to carry out remedial works required in an expeditious manner.

To date, Juken has expended approximately $600,000 remediating the damage caused and the only affected land owner is satisfied with Juken’s actions and efforts. The company spokesperson sats Juken is committed to ensuring complete compliance with all Resource Consent conditions moving forward and to relationships of trust and confidence with the Council and all of its neighbours.

Juken continues to work hard in and for the community and is one of the leaders in forestry in terms of the action and investment it has made to prevent damage from forest slash.

The company has no forestry plantations related to any of the damage that Tolaga Bay suffered in June last year.

Juken is conducting a detailed review of the judgment released earlier today, in conjunction with its legal advisers.

Source: Juken


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PGF boost for NZ Bio-Forestry

PGF boost to future-proof Manawatu-Whanganui economy - The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) is investing $772,000 in opportunities for growth in Manawatu-Whanganui, Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones announced yesterday.

NZ Bio-Forestry Limited will receive a $380,000 boost for game-changing research which could unlock significant growth in the wood processing sector, while Horizons Regional Council will receive $200,000 for the refresh of the region’s economic action plan, Accelerate25.

“The Coalition Government wants less raw logs shipped overseas and more processing happening domestically, particularly in our regions. We also know that trees play a huge role in reducing our greenhouse gas emissions not just by absorbing carbon, but through innovative use of wood fibre,” Shane Jones said.

“Research led by NZ Bio-Forestry Limited could lead to New Zealand’s first bio- plastics facility in Manawata-Whanganui, and put New Zealand radiata pine at the centre of solving recycling challenges.”

“The research will consider whether our radiata pine is a viable alternative to carbon-based plastics like food packaging and single-use cups, and can be used for high-value plywood. The could lead to a processing facility being built to manufacture these products and enable more efficient processing by making use of the entire log, thereby reducing waste.

“Nationally, this research is a key step in developing technology which could help New Zealand meet climate change targets and transition to a low emission economy. For the wood processing industry, this would lead to increased productivity, new jobs, and growth across many regions which could also use the technology. Given the majority of forests in Manawatu-Whanganui are on iwi-owned land, there is also an opportunity for this project to improve economic returns for Maori.

The PGF will also provide funding support to Rangitikei District Council to develop its plan to establish a rural water supply scheme for its region, and provide funding to assist Tararua and Whanganui with support to undertake economic development projects.

Jones says, “we’ll also invest $200,000 in Horizons Regional Council to refresh the Accelerate25 economic action plan. This will make sure priorities for the area reflect recent changes in regional economies, keeping local people front and center of spearheading Manawatu-Whanganui’s pathway to a stronger regional economy."

NZ Bio-Forestry Limited is based in the central North Island and connects to a network of businesses and groups in Singapore and Taiwan.

The network started in early 2018 to spearhead the development of this project, and brings together scientific, technological, business and investment expertise.



NZ Bio-Forestry Limited’s regional alliance team includes representatives from district councils, Horizons Regional Council through Accelerate25, and iwi.

The full list of the regional projects announced yesterday were:
• NZ Bio-Forestry Limited $380,000
• Horizons Regional Council $200,000
• Tutaenui Community Agricultural Water Scheme $120,000
• Capability Funding Support for Tararua District Council $32,000
• Application Funding Support for Whanganui $40,000

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Two key acquisitions for RDO Equipment

RDO Equipment is excited to announce the consolidation of its business interests in Australia and the appointment of Julie Whitcombe as CEO of the newly formed RDO Australia Group - The changes come as the business acquires 100% ownership of Queensland-based machinery dealer Vanderfield and Vermeer Equipment Holdings. It currently owns 50% of each of these businesses.

RDO is a family-owned company established in the US in 1968 by Ron Offutt. It is one of the world’s largest John Deere dealers. RDO Equipment recently took over as the John Deere Forestry and Construction equipment dealer in all Australian states apart from WA.

As the acquisitions are completed, a new umbrella business called RDO Australia Group has been created to overarch the Vanderfield, Vermeer Australia and RDO Equipment Australia businesses. The new group will include 18 dealership locations and 520 staff across several businesses.

Julie Whitcombe will transition from her current role as COO of RDO Equipment and Vermeer Australia to become CEO of the RDO Australia Group. She says the creation of the group, and the investment in the two acquisitions, reflects a long term commitment to the Australian market.

“By increasing our holdings in Vanderfield and Vermeer Australia to 100%, we are continuing to build a powerful brand in Australia. RDO Australia Group is ready to help shape the future of the agricultural, mining, construction and forestry sectors in this market, through a combination of exceptional network reach, range of product and quality of experience and support. This deal is big news for the industry and is a sign of our confidence in the Australian sector.”

RDO’s relationship with Vanderfield in Australia stretches back to 2012 when it made its first investment in the business. A strong commitment to the Vermeer and John Deere brands is well established by RDO in the United States, and the group aims to bring that same focus to Australian operations.

“The RDO team and the Offutt family have a genuine commitment to the Australian market, running their business for the benefit of all stakeholders, and they remain committed to the values that have made them successful the past 50 years. I am excited to have the opportunity to bring these three companies together as one team,” Ms Whitcombe says.

On a recent visit to Australia, RDO founder Ron Offutt expressed excitement about the future of the company here.

“We are grateful to have had the opportunity to invest in Australia, for the partnership we have had with the Vandersee family, and for the continued commitment of Bruce Vandersee along with Peter Pullan and Ian Jensen of Vermeer Australia to our consolidated business. In bringing our three operations together, we are building a stronger, more diversified enterprise that will allow us to better serve our customers.”

Ms Whitcombe says RDO Australia Group will benefit from the deep experience of Bruce Vandersee, Peter Pullan and Ian Jensen, as shareholding directors of the RDO Australia Group.

“The new RDO Australia Group will be built on the strong legacies of the Vanderfield and Vermeer Australia businesses, focused on their customers’ long-term success. Peter, Ian and Bruce have committed decades of hard work to serving customers across Queensland and eastern Australia, and I know their continuing contribution to RDO Australia Group will be incredibly valuable,” she says.

Ms Whitcombe says RDO Australia Group is focused on ensuring the transition is smooth for both customers and staff.

“We’re planning the transition carefully and working closely with our teams across all our businesses,” she says, “We're proud of reputation for exceptional customer experience and for being a good employer, and this is not going to change.”

For more about RDO Equipment visit www.rdoequipment.com.au





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NZIF hosts Prince of Wales meeting

NZ Institute of Forestry hosts meeting with His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales - Last Friday members of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry hosted a small round-table meeting in the presence of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales.

The opportunities and challenges facing the forestry sector in New Zealand were discussed with His Royal Highness by eleven forestry professionals; those present included the 2017, 2018 and 2019 recipients of The Prince of Wales Award for Sustainable Forestry.

The discussion covered the challenges presented by climate change, pest and disease incursions and the need to strengthen the forestry sector’s social license to operate. The potential contribution of forestry to the New Zealand bio-economy along with the promising and varied career opportunities offered by the forestry sector, were identified as significant opportunities.

Dr David Evison, President of the New Zealand Institute of Forestry, says “It was an immense privilege to participate in this discussion with His Royal Highness and to facilitate an exchange of views with some of our outstanding forestry professionals. The participants were inspired by the importance that His Royal Highness places on sustainable forest management and its contribution to society.”


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...and finally ... Life's too short for the wrong job






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

John Stulen
Editor

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