WoodWeek – 22 April 2020

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Greetings from the last week of lockdown! Well for many people anyway, as you can’t fell trees or saw lumber while working from home. Forest owners and contractors are preparing machinery and logging sites ahead of the resumption of harvesting next week. Recently appointed FOA president Phil Taylor said a lot of good work had been completed in recent weeks developing safe working protocols to comply with the reduced lockdown requirements effective next Tuesday.

“Come Tuesday we’re going to get up to speed pretty quickly across most of the value chain,” he said.

Clarity was sought from officials on whether the government’s injunction to firms to get “work ready” this week included operators and drivers getting machines and trucks serviced and ready. Clearing skid sites – spaces for handling felled logs – this week could also help make the transition smoother next week. Taylor said that while some wood processors had been able to continue supplying essential industries, most of the sector now had a month of virtually no production to catch up on.

Moving to the supply chain, here are the key updates: Port of Tauranga, the country’s largest, handled 13 log ships in the first half of April. One sailed yesterday and another is expected next Thursday. Northport has handled seven log ships so far this month, including one that sailed on Sunday. The next is due on Thursday.

The first vessel in a month is expected today at Eastland, the country’s second-largest log port. Two more are due Sunday and Tuesday, according to the port’s shipping schedule. Port Marlborough expects a log ship on Thursday. PrimePort Timaru has a log ship booked to arrive next Tuesday.

Next up, we report on a debate most of us never imagined would happen in New Zealand where the vast majority of forests are owned by private industry. So, now the question is, “If a tree falls in the forest ... can it be exported?” Last week, Forestry Minister Shane Jones warned of impending restrictions on New Zealand’s international trade in logs.

Finally today, we have a counter argument from western Canada, where log export regulations do exist, but mainly because the Crown is the largest forest owner by far. It’s a common refrain in Canada: we shouldn’t be mere drawers of water or hewers of wood, but should support and even subsidise the creation of “value-added” manufacturing jobs. But primary resource industries like mining and oil and gas extraction actually produce far more added value than most manufacturing and processing sectors. The problem with value added, writes Trevor Tombe, is that most of its advocates chronically misrepresent the concept, which leads to bad policy decisions that cause more economic harm than good.

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MPI Covid19 update: Restart preparations guide

This update from Te Uru Rakau update covers Preparing for Level 3 - Kia ora, We announced last week that a number of forestry sector businesses were able to begin a phased restart under Alert Level 4. This included activities such as loading and cartage of existing log stockpiles in the forest, and other points of the supply chain.

Sawmills were also allowed to start production to support the supply of domestic essential service inputs - eg, pallet material. Dispatch of goods to support essential services was also allowed.

Now as we prepare to move to Alert Level 3 on Tuesday 28 April businesses can begin to prepare to open for a wider range of forestry and wood processing services. Preparing means it is okay to go into your business premises now to do the minimum to begin preparing for Alert Level 3.

Businesses and other organisations can:
> clear, unpack and sort freight
> clean your premises, and
> rearrange your workplace for physical distancing between workers.

Regular maintenance should wait until Alert Level 3.

For the forestry industry we are also comfortable that so long as it is done safely preparation such as beginning to heat up boilers can begin with a minimum number of employees. You can also move harvesting equipment into place and start it up to ensure it is ready to operate under Alert Level 3 if it can be done safely and with the minimum number of workers. You cannot start harvesting until after we move to Alert Level 3. Employers and workers can travel to their workplace if it is in the same region where they are currently domiciled.

When we go to Alert Level 3, people can move between regions to get back to their home or place of business. Until then, because we are still at Alert Level 4, people need to stay in the region that they are in unless you meet one of the limited criteria for inter- regional travel. https://www.transport.govt.nz/about/covid-19

Bringing employees in to help prepare - You must only ask the smallest number of workers possible to come in to help prepare, and only if you are meeting all health and safety and public health requirements for Alert Level 4.

Everyone must stay 2 metres apart, and follow appropriate hygiene measures.

Remember that Anzac Day is this weekend, and the normal Holidays Act rules apply.

What safety assurances does MPI need? - Under Alert Level 3 all businesses that are permitted to resume operations need to have a COVID-19 safety plan that sets out how they’ll operate safely.

For businesses operating as an essential service under Alert Level 4, a start up plan is not required. However, the controls they have in place need to continue once we transition to Alert Level 3. You can find more about what you need to include in your safety plan on the Worksafe website.

At Alert Level 3, businesses are not required to register - However, businesses are required to develop a safe working plan, details of which can be found here : https://worksafe.govt.nz/managing-health-and-safety/novel-coronavirus-covid-19/your- covid-19-safety-plan.

We have also updated the MPI forestry Alert Level 3 web page to include the link to the forestry industry safe working protocols. https://www.teururakau.govt.nz/protection- and-response/coronavirus/covid-19-in-the-forestry-industry/forestry-during-alert-level- 3/.

Note: Under Alert Level 3, businesses do not need to register with MPI.

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NZ: Back to work in the forest

Forest owners and contractors are preparing machinery and logging sites ahead of the resumption of harvesting next week

- Phil Taylor (pictured), president of the New Zealand Forest Owners’ Association, said a lot of good work had been completed in recent weeks developing safe working protocols to comply with the reduced lockdown requirements effective next Tuesday.

But clarity was being sought from officials on whether the government’s injunction to firms to get “work ready” this week included operators and drivers getting machines and trucks serviced and ready. Clearing skid sites – spaces for handling felled logs - this week could also help make the transition smoother next week.

“Come Tuesday we’re going to get up to speed pretty quickly across most of the value chain,” Taylor told BusinessDesk.

Major employer

Forestry and wood processing is a major employer and export earner but was shut down with most manufacturing last month as the government attempted to keep as many people as possible at home to contain the spread of covid-19. Food producers and firms supplying them, including pallet makers and packaging firms, were able to operate regardless of whether they were supplying domestic or overseas markets.

Taylor said that, while some wood processors had been able to continue supplying essential industries, most of the sector now had a month of virtually no production to catch up on.

“There will be thousands of work sites around New Zealand which are anxious for new timber supplies and construction workers keen to get back on the job and earning incomes as soon as they can.”

The government last week allowed some limited processing to restock timber supplies for things like pallets and fruit bins. It also approved the moving of some felled logs from harvest sites to supply those mills, wood pellet plants and Oji Fibre Solutions’ pulp mill at Kinleith.

But harvesting - which employs up to 10,000 people as felling crews, drivers and equipment suppliers - remained banned. Including processors and logistics chains, the sector is estimated to employ about 35,000.

Deteriorating logs

Taylor said there is probably $40 million worth of felled logs stacked in forests. They are deteriorating the longer they are left and need transport to processors or ports “pretty much immediately,” he said in a statement.

Taylor expects processors will be ready to start picking up operations as log flows resume, and they can do that almost on a truck by truck basis.

But he said the export log trade will take a little longer to resume. Volumes for March and April are likely to be half those in the same period last year.

He said the government had been “pretty smart” in freeing up the movement of non- essential freight – including logs - last week.

That would help clear supply chains ahead of the restart and many bigger ports had already cleared export log consignments to make room for non-essential freight.

He estimated there could be as much as 250,000 tonnes of logs at some ports, such as Timaru, Picton and Eastland, but vessels would already be booked for much of that.

Consignment requirements

Shippers typically needed 25,000 tonnes to 40,000 tonnes of logs for a consignment, he said. How quickly a shipment could be organised from other ports would depend on the scale of the forestry in the regions they serve.

“It could vary from a week or so for one of the bigger catchment ports – like Tauranga – to three or four weeks for some of the smaller ports.”

The first vessel in a month is expected today at Eastland, the country’s second-largest log port. Two more are due Sunday and Tuesday, according to the port’s shipping schedule.

Port Marlborough expects a log ship on Thursday. PrimePort Timaru has a log ship booked to arrive next Tuesday.

Port of Tauranga, the country’s largest, handled 13 log ships in the first half of April. One sailed yesterday and another is expected next Thursday.

Northport has handled seven log ships so far this month, including one that sailed on Sunday. The next is due on Thursday.

More from RNZ - Listen to an interview with Phil Taylor >>

Source: BusinessDesk and RNZ

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AFPA BREAKING NEWS - Calamity in housing timber demand

AFPA forecasts a calamitous decline in housing construction: CEO says urgent recovery package needed. The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) is calling on Australia’s leaders to urgently put in place a stimulus recovery package for the housing construction sector to counter the massive reduction in new house starts and therefore the timber products used in their construction.

AFPA CEO Ross Hampton said, “Australia’s softwood timber processing industry supplies most of the renewable timber products for new houses built in Australia and a substantial portion of multi-unit and commercial construction. A survey of our members has laid bare the massive impact CoVid-19 is about to wreak. New house starts are plummeting and forward orders are drying up. AFPA is estimating that the decline in sawn timber demand for Australia’s sawmills will be more than 50% over the next six months.

“This is unbelievably bad news for regional Australia where the sawmills are located. There are more than 45,000 Australian’s employed in the sector and in many cases this job is the primary bread winner of the family. If sawmills begin to reduce production in response to plummeting demand, it will mean fewer shifts, regional job losses and a flow on downturn in spending on services in vital regional towns and States like Mt Gambier SA, Bell Bay TAS, Bunbury WA, Colac VIC, Maryborough QLD, Tumut, Tumbarumba, Oberon and Bombala NSW, where forest industries underpin the economy.”

“The housing construction sector is the engine room for growth and jobs in Australia’s economy, so a large recovery stimulus package focused on increasing new housing demand immediately will positively impact jobs, businesses and communities right across the nation and support broad supply chains.”

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COMMENT: If a tree falls in the forest

If a tree falls in the forest ... can it be exported? - Last week, Forestry Minister Shane Jones warned of impending restrictions on New Zealand’s international trade in logs.

Even if you don’t really care much about forestry, the Government’s response here may signal what’s in store for the rest of the economy after lockdown. Will New Zealand continue as a trading nation and open economy, building on the recent success in setting a free trade agenda in essential goods with Singapore? Or, will it retreat to a more Muldoonist policy in which people like Minister Jones decide what can be exported?

This matters.

BusinessDesk last week reported that Minister Jones is considering levies on log exports to fund some kind of “re-setting” of local industry, or a variety of regulations to ensure domestic lumber processors have their needs met before logs are exported.

The story noted how local lumber processors are struggling to compete with processors elsewhere when international prices for logs are high. Minister Jones viewed protections were necessary to ensure a viable domestic log processing sector in New Zealand. But it’s worth explicitly stating what that means. Minister Jones would effectively be setting a price cap on logs, restricting exports whenever international demand is high. This would be a transfer of money from timber farms, which would otherwise profit from higher prices, to sawmills.

It would also mean a substantial shift in New Zealand trade policy. If another country banned the export of raw materials to New Zealand to subsidise its own processors, New Zealand’s processors might see that as basis for a complaint about unfair trade practices. New Zealand’s trade negotiators can boast about New Zealand’s clean record in following trade rules. If Minister Jones has his way, those negotiators will have New Zealand’s trade restrictions in lumber thrown at them any time they object to trade practices which disadvantage Kiwi companies.

So it is misguided on pragmatic grounds that it will disadvantage New Zealand as the world leans toward greater protectionism – New Zealand has more to lose than most from a weakened rule-based international trading system. Wellington should be working to support that system rather than help tear it down.

But it is also misguided in principle, falling afoul of what Canadian economist Trevor Tombe called the “value-added mythology”. See the following story.

While some business commentators will argue that New Zealand firms must ‘move up the value chain’, international prices really do reveal important information. If giant, efficient sawmills abroad can process logs far more cheaply than domestic mills, even taking shipping costs into account, then forcing logs to stay here for processing isn’t value- creating – it’s value-destroying.

Putting it another way: forcing that processing to happen here, when it is more efficiently done abroad, means we can afford fewer houses.

Canada, where comparative advantages often lie in raw material production rather than processing, has long had similar debates – particularly about oil processing. As Canadian columnist Andrew Coyne asked in that context, “which offers the better returns: to sell crude whatsit for $6 that costs you $2 to produce, or to ‘move up the value-added chain’ and sell refined whatsit for $8 that cost you $6? And who better to make these comparisons than the people whose money is actually at risk? Refining bitumen is an expensive, capital-intensive business. If it were really wiser to refine it here than to sell it to refiners elsewhere, investors are at least as capable of realising it as anyone else.” We might remember that the same kind of value-added magical thinking led to New Zealand attempts at domestic car and television manufacturing industries prior to the reforms of the 1980s. Neither made much sense in a country where the most efficient way to get cars and televisions is to buy them from places better at making them, paid for by selling them our milk, meat and fibre.

This leads to perhaps the worst aspect of Minister Jones’s proposal.

It does not just mess up New Zealand’s international trading position. It also sets a stage for a domestic economic recovery in which too much would require the permission of the Ministries. Export logs? Only if the Minister’s current political priorities have been satisfied and the exporter has received a permit. Maybe a donation to the appropriate foundation might ease the process?

Which other sectors might be next in line for this kind of central industrial planning? New Zealand simply cannot afford this kind of nonsense. The epidemic already brings enough uncertainty about supply chains, shipping, workforce, logistics and demand. Government should not add a risk that it will decide that your company’s sector will be stomped upon for the benefit of other sectors preferred by Minister Jones or his colleagues.

Cabinet this week will weigh Minister Jones’s logging proposals. Its decision may signal how the government intends on proceeding more broadly. We should all be paying attention.

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OPINION: The value-added myth

The Dangers Of ‘Value Added’ Mythologies

It’s a common refrain in Canada: we shouldn’t be mere drawers of water or hewers of wood, but should support and even subsidise the creation of “value-added” manufacturing jobs. But primary resource industries like mining and oil and gas extraction actually produce far more added value than most manufacturing and processing sectors.

The problem with value added, writes Trevor Tombe, is that most of its advocates chronically misrepresent the concept, which leads to bad policy decisions that cause more economic harm than good.

It’s a common refrain in Canada: we shouldn’t be mere drawers of water or hewers of wood, but should create “value-added” manufacturing jobs. This sentiment shapes policy debates right across this country. In British Columbia, there is a slogan: “BC Logs for BC Jobs”, which calls for restricting raw log exports in favour of local processing. In Ontario, some are concerned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership will destroy value-added jobs in the auto sector.

In Quebec, the government recently bailed out Bombardier – an aircraft manufacturer whose marketing material often touts its “high value added jobs”. The province provided $1 billion, taking a 49 percent stake in the struggling C-Series jet project, and there is pressure on the federal government to chip in too. If Ottawa bites, it will likely be because some “business case” touts the “value added jobs” associated with the firm.

Striving for more value added is perhaps nowhere greater than in Alberta. Ever fearful of being overly “dependent” on primary oil and gas production, the province has long subsidized refining and processing activities – most recently with billions for the Northwest Upgrader project – all in the name of supporting value added.

It’s worth exploring what value added actually is, and some of the consequences of policies meant to promote it.

Something has “added value” if it creates output that is worth more than the total cost of its intermediate inputs. That is, if the price of the good exceed the cost of material or service inputs required for its production. Manufacturing activities that transform various parts into a more valuable finished product clearly add value. But the phenomenon is by no means unique to manufacturing or processing.

A trucker adds value by transporting a product from Montreal to Ottawa, so long as the product is valued more in Ottawa than Montreal. A logger adds value by making a log from a tree. An oil rig adds value by pumping oil from under the ground to the surface. From the perspective of the economy as a whole, it does not matter how value is added, so long as it is.

Sectoral added value is essentially measured by the total amount of income a sector generates. Wages paid to workers, profits collected by firms, rent earned by building or land owners, all add up to a sector’s value added. There are some subtle complications, but this intuition is almost always sufficient.

Conveniently, Statistics Canada collects and organizes this data for anyone to see. For each dollar of output from the mining sectors, for example, 71 cents of income – and therefore 71 cents of value added – is created. In other sectors, it is much lower. For wood products manufacturers (the “value added processing” of logs) 32 cents of income is created for each dollar in output. Refineries have the lowest, with only 11 cents of income on the dollar.

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Photo credit: CBC.ca

Source: C2C Journal, Canada

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Safetree: Covid-19 protocols - endorsed by WorkSafe

Forest industry Covid-19 protocols - endorsed by WorkSafe - Fiona Ewing from Safetree has a message for everyone in our industry heading back to work.

She says, "I'm pleased to be able to announce that WorkSafe has formally endorsed our Covid-19 industry guidance, after clarifying a number of points (see below for details)."

This endorsed guidance can now be downloaded from the Safetree website.

WorkSafe has also just published information on what all New Zealand businesses need to think about when planning to return to work. See the WorkSafe website.

It is great to have this high-level information from the Regulator, as well as the Regulator's endorsement for our industry-specific guidance. It will give forestry businesses greater confidence that they are doing the right things to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Thanks again to everyone who contributed to creating our guidance. It is an excellent example of pan-industry work to protect the health and safety of our people.

Share this endorsed guidance widely with people in your organisation, supply chain and industry networks, and work together to effectively implement these protocols. Please delete any copies of the original guidance that was published on Friday April 17 to ensure people are working from the endorsed version.

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CollectiveCrunch gets €500K to expand its forestry technology

The Finnish-German startup CollectiveCrunch has received €500K funding from the European Space Agency (ESA) to further develop its one-of-a-kind AI, Linda Forest, and bring its service to new markets. ESA will contribute 50% of the overall cost, as the total volume of the project is close to €1 million.

CollectiveCrunch, a startup that we recently included in a list of 10 promising European forestry tech startups to watch in 2020, was founded in 2016.

Probably one of the largest AI initiatives in this sector, CollectiveCrunch has the potential to become the “Google Maps” of the forestry industry, handling the forests in a much more sustainable and dynamic way. Its innovative AI platform, Linda Forest, was launched in 2019, and is a game changing turn-key SaaS solution that predicts wood mass, wood species and wood quality of target areas far more accurately than any existing conventional methods.

The recently raised funding will be used to further develop and pilot the Linda Forest platform for forest inventories and key aspects of forest planning, investment and management, bringing new AI-based tools to both buyers and sellers of wood and forest lands. The company already has several high-profile customers in Finland, Sweden and the Baltics and interest from Central Europe, Russia and North America.

Source: eu-startups.com

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Source: Treasury.govt.nz

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John Deere appoint NZ dealers

John Deere forestry equipment has a new home at two of New Zealand’s most respected machinery dealers to bring a greater range of sought-after machinery and cutting- edge technology to operators and contractors across the country.

From 1 July, the full line of premium forestry equipment will be available at AGrowQuip (AGQ) in the North Island and Drummond & Etheridge (D&E) in the South Island. This transition follows March’s announcement John Deere would end its former distribution agreement with CablePrice.

Both New Zealand-owned and operated, AGQ and D&E are established John Deere Ag & Turf dealers and, given the superior sales, parts, service and support systems already in place, are ideally positioned to extend their offering.

John Deere Managing Director for Asia Pacific and Africa, Jeff Kraft said, “We know both these dealers will offer world-class after-sales support because they already have a proven track record of doing so across their existing John Deere customers.”

“We’re also looking forward to working with New Zealand customers to help them take full advantage of our suite of technology solutions such as John Deere WorkSightTM for construction and John Deere ForestSightTM for forestry to make their businesses more profitable by maximising uptime and optimising machine performance, while decreasing the need for physical service call outs.”

These technologies will be further supported by in-country parts availability and machine telematics to provide the ability to monitor machine health, detect potential problems, and to provide remote diagnostics and remote programming.

“The announcement of AGQ and D&E as Construction and Forestry Equipment dealers is a new era for John Deere in New Zealand and we’re delighted to partner with them to bring our customers premium service and world-leading technology to support more efficient, productive and profitable construction and forestry businesses,” Mr Kraft said.

AGrowQuip - New Zealand-owned, AGrowQuip has four branches spanning the North Island, and with more than 120 expertly trained staff in John Deere products and services, offers exceptional customer support.

AGQ has invested in education to deliver specialised construction and forestry expertise, just as they have been providing to the Ag & Turf industry for over 50 years. Not only will operators and contractors benefit from the new extensive product range, they will also have the advice and support needed to positively impact efficiency and profitability gains at the worksite.

Drummond & Etheridge - Drummond & Etheridge has operated in New Zealand’s South Island for over 85 years. The dealership is well equipped to meet the daily needs of the construction and forestry industry with more than 200 trained staff, including a group service department consisting of more than 80 factory-trained technicians with in-house mechanical and technical support experts.

The family-owned and operated business has 10 locations across the South Island, with a centralised parts warehouse that replenishes dealerships overnight, ensuring parts are always on-hand locally. This is part of D&E’s longstanding commitment to after-sales support, guaranteeing operators and contractors the ability to maximise uptime while reducing operating costs.

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Carbon Match market update

NZU Update - NZUs have firmed a little, last trade $24.50 - Please get in touch with Carbon Match if you have been thinking of selling. We currently have good demand from a large number of buyers who are willing to pick up NZUs this side of the surrender deadline at these levels.

But many buyers will be moving forward to tidy up their compliance liabilities soon, and ahead of the end of May surrender deadline. Meanwhile, the NZ Government is still happy to effectively sell any entity with a liability under the scheme an NZU at $25 flat.

Going forward, we are a whole lot less sure about what demand will look like - or price. There are a large number of factors at play. It's impossible to pick the over- riding direction in the face of so much macroeconomic and political uncertainty.

Some of us might actually be trying not to think about that right now. What's the point of worrying about something you can't control?

For the moment, NZ has pulled up the drawbridge. And for the have-enoughs, it's not all bad in the bubble. We are sitting here surrounded by the moat of the Tasman Sea and the Pacific Ocean. The weather has been reasonable and the national payroll is being buttressed by a generous Government which has already, in a very short time, distributed $9 billion, with lots more to come.

Unfortunately it is in fact just a dream and very soon - perhaps even today at 4pm - we might see lockdown ease. When we do, we will wake up to discover the mayhem - or the lack thereof - on the high street.

In the real world, according to the IMF, we are facing the deepest recession since the 1930s. The global economy is projected to contract by 3% in 2020, with much deeper decline being experienced in the US and in the Eurozone.

China's economy is still expected to grow over 2020, but only slightly. Meanwhile New Zealand's performance is not expected to be very much better than that of the EU, with real GDP expected to decline by 7.2%.

The IMF's expectation? That this is much worse than the GFC. "The economic fallout depends on factors that interact in ways that are hard to predict, including the pathway of the pandemic, the intensity and efficacy of containment efforts, the extent of supply disruptions, the repercussions of the dramatic tightening in global financial market conditions, shifts in spending patterns, behavioral changes (such as people avoiding shopping malls and public transportation), confidence effects, and volatile commodity prices. Many countries face a multi- layered crisis comprising a health shock, domestic economic disruptions, plummeting external demand, capital flow reversals, and a collapse in commodity prices. Risks of a worse outcome predominate."

In just 3 weeks the US unemployment went from 2% to 10%. That will cut discretionary spending and rekindle frugal behaviour.

While the IMF's projections for NZ have unemployment for 2020 hitting 9.5%, the NZ Treasury is contemplating worse scenarios that would see potential rates of unemployment peaking from 13% up to 26%.

Even the low end of this range, pointed out Matthew Hooton last week, hasn't been experienced since the early 1990s, and would be a level commensurate with that experienced in the UK at the height of Thatcherism.

Meanwhile homeowners and landlords have a fresh worry, with the ANZ for example, publishing research earlier in the week that said house prices will fall by 10-15%, with further downside possible.

There's an argument that all of this hits not only our emissions, but also unfortunately our collective willingness to pay for them. That in turn heightens political risk around carbon prices. And all NZU holders should bear that in mind.

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Source: Lizzie Chambers, Carbon Match

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Scion shows off new propagation technology

Scion’s research nursery has been upgraded with new facilities and demonstrations of state-of-the-art machinery not yet used in New Zealand forestry. The facilities are pilot scale, but show how a modular, automated, lean-flow, environmentally sustainable propagation facility could work in New Zealand conditions.

Year-round propagation

With their upgraded facilities, cuttings can now be propagated at any time of year. The upgrade includes an enclosed growing area with automated climate controls. The facility will also allow Scion to do parallel testing of different environments, speeding up the research and development required to develop plant propagation solutions. Enclosed hedge tunnels and mini hedges are another new feature in the upgrade. Used for indigenous and exotic species, these miniature motherstock are novel in New Zealand. They provide savings in time, labour and space.

New machinery

An automated paper pot sowing line, on loan from Ellepot, is one of the key pieces of new technology. Paper pots will now replace plastic potting bags for most seedlings as we demonstrate this technology. Another key feature of the upgrade is the automatic tray washer that cleans so thoroughly it prevents the spread of weed seed. The nursery team is enjoying the benefits of the washer, which has led to roughly 90 per cent fewer weeds.

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SilviTECH: Automated tree planting catching on

Rooting down; standing tall!

In the beginning of March, we finished planting 77 hectares in Guardo, in the Palencia province of Spain. Between our automated Risutec planting head and rockstar staff in the field, we planted 68,000 trees, 13 different native species, 28 plots and 20 experimental sub-plots. That’s a total of 240,000 trees planted in Spain this fall.

Breaking these numbers down differently: The tally also includes 27 weeks of hard work, numerous field hiccups, 2 visits from the Finnish team to make adjustments to the Risutec and 4 visits from our technology team to finalize the planting!

“We faced extreme heat, bitter cold and snow, extremely dry soil and then huge amounts of rainfall,” said Willemijn Stoffels, Chief Operations Officer for Land Life Company. “Our field staff overcame a plague of moles and even a bee attack!”

But the show must go on, and that it did. As part of our data-driven approach, we pride ourselves on using each lesson to gather information to enhance the efficiency and health of future plantings. This is why we incorporate experimental sub-plots. These experiments include trials with different soil preparations, soil amendments and bio-repellents against herbivores, and they help us gather data on tree survival, growth and vigor.

“This planting was truly a great accomplishment and an extremely valuable learning experience for future work,” said Stoffels.

This year we will go back to Guardo regularly to monitor and maintain, while in compliance with current COVID-19 restrictions. Nonetheless, our mission to reforest degraded land across the planet persists. For more on the numbers of trees we’ve planted so far, watch this:

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Source: Land Life Company

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New CEO for Komatsu Forest

Jens Bengtsson will take up the position as CEO of Komatsu Forest AB. Jens has worked in the company for 11 years and has recently held both the role of CFO and COO.

Former CEO Mitsuru Ueno is now taking on a new role as Senior Fellow for the Forest Division of the parent company Komatsu Ltd. During his time as CEO, he has had two important focus areas; to ensure a new production facility with a safe and good working environment, that is prepared for an upcoming expansion of the business, and to broaden the forest machine business through strategic acquisitions such as Quadco, Southstar, TimberPro and Oryx Simulations.

Komatsu Forest AB is one of the world's leading manufacturers of forest machines and related services and accessories.

Source: Lesprom

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Ponsse celebrates 50 years

From a small village workshop in Vieremä, Finland, Einari Vidgrén’s dream of building forestry machines has grown into an international business with reach around the globe.

Vidgrén’s dream would materialize as Ponsse, which has become one of the world’s largest manufacturers of forestry machines based on the environmentally friendly cut-to- length method.

This year, Ponsse is celebrating 50 years since its founder first went to work on building the company’s first machine.

“The highly demanding harvesting industry calls for determination and close cooperation. To quote our company’s founder Einari Vidgrén: ’No one man could have done this on their own. It’s vital to find the right people.’ Ponsse continues to work following this same spirit, even today,” said Juha Vidgrén, chairman of Ponsse’s board of directors.

Today, Ponsse machines operate in 40 countries. As well, the family-owned company has more than 1,800 employees in 10 different countries and, in addition to the parent company, Ponsse Group consists of subsidiaries in Sweden, Norway, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Ireland, the United States, China, Uruguay and Brazil, and Epec Oy in Seinäjoki, Finland, a manufacturer of machine control systems.

According to the company, environmentally friendly harvesting and customer-driven research and development heavily steer its operations. The goal is to develop innovative products and services in line with sustainable development, with everything starting from customer needs.

“Ponsse has grown and developed, above all, thanks to its customers, stakeholders and personnel. Throughout our company’s history, our customers have given us direct feedback to steer our research and development,” Juha Vidgrén said.

“What is more, the high quality, environmental and efficiency requirements set by forest companies and sawmills have clarified the direction of our R&D activities. We wouldn’t have been able to become one of the world’s leading forest machine manufacturers if it were not for our committed and professional personnel.”

Celebrating five decades of Ponsse

Ponsse is celebrating its 50th anniversary at logging sites around the world. The company launched a massive roadshow that started in Finland in January, with an anniversary machine leading the way.

From Finland, the Together roadshow will pass through Europe on its way to North and South America, Asia and Australia, covering 30 countries and 110 locations during its journey. Demonstrations will feature the manufacturer’s latest models, the Ponsse Cobra harvester and the Ponsse Bison forwarder, and the flagship of the model series, the Ponsse Scorpion.

At home in the world’s forests

Continuous investments and development have been Ponsse’s cornerstones since the 1970s. This has helped the company to improve its competitiveness. During the past few years, Ponsse has created more than 200 jobs and invested EUR $145 million in its service businesses, R&D and production.

All Ponsse forest machines are still manufactured in the company’s birthplace in Northern Savonia, where the four-hectare forest machine factory represents the most modern manufacturing technology in the world. Last year, the 15,000th Ponsse forestry machine was manufactured in Vieremä.

The 15,000th Ponsse machine was manufactured at the company’s new factory that opened in 2018. The factory was the most significant investment in the company’s history at nearly EUR $40 million.

Thanks to the investment, the amount of testing and quality control has increased considerably. For example, the factory now features an optical 3D scanning unit, representing the latest technology, to inspect all forest machine structures at extreme precision and to ensure that all structures meet their quality requirements. At the same time, the factory has been modernized in terms of eco-friendliness and ergonomics.

Now, the manufacturer expects the 1,000th Ponsse Scorpion, the flagship of the model range, to exit the production line.

The Vieremä factory has grown to cover an area of nearly four hectares. It is still based around a 300 square metre hall from where it all started 50 years ago. The oldest still- operational forest machine factory in Finland forms the core of Ponsse’s production.

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Source: Equipment Journal

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2019 record year for Logset

2019 was record-breaking sales year for forest machine manufacturer Logset Oy – Their turnover was 48.0 million euros (2018: 40.1 million euros) and the operating profit landed on 2.5 million euros (2018: 1.6 million euros). The turnover and result were higher than ever.

During 2019 Logset invested in growth and developing its distribution network. Logset established a subsidiary named Logset Inc. in Ottawa, Canada. Three employees moved from Finland to Canada to get the business started. Also, Logset established a sales company in Sweden named Logset Sverige Filial. The sales company is responsible for the sales in Southern Sweden and Denmark, as well as supporting all dealers in Scandinavia. Logset and Pesa CAT deepened their cooperation in Brazil by including two new Brazilian states to the Pesa CAT sales area. The market areas that developed the most globally were Canada, USA, Brazil and Spain, as well as Czech Republic and United Kingdom.

In 2019 Logset launched the medium-sized hybrid harvester model Logset 8H GTE Hybrid and expanded the Stage 5 engine family to machines under 130 kw. During the year the hybrid harvester won two significant prizes: in France it was selected as the Forest Machine of the Year and in Austria the machine won an Innovation prize. The hybrid harvester has fulfilled the customer expectations and regarding the product the company can now concentrate on sales and expanding the market area.

However, during the first months of 2020 the market situation has clearly weakened. In the beginning of the year it was observed that the demand for forest machines has decreased. In Finland the demand was affected by labour disputes. The global market suffered from the amounts of force cut timber due to storms in Central Europe and insect damages in North America and Europe. The price of timber had dropped already before the outbreak of the global Corona virus pandemic. The current risks have to do with the world’s economical state and health issues, as well as how the sales will develop. Logset believes that the growth target for 2020 is still within reach, even when taking in account the disturbance of the market caused by the Corona virus.

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... last of the lockdown funnies?

Okay, its time for your mid-week laugh, but really will it be the last of our lockdown humour ... seeing the funny side of this national Go home - Stay home fun we have all been compelled to play?

Well of course now we know ...

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE... "If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION... "You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL... "If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC... "Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC... "If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me.”

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT... "Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY... "Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS... "Shut your mouth and eat your dinner."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTION-ISM... "Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA... "You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER... "This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY... "If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

Thanks again for your support of WoodWeek. We have had a jump in subscribers numbers through the lockdown period which is fantastic to see. Please pass this issue onto a mate and tell them to read (and send us a good joke or two as well). Have a safe and productive week!

John Stulen, Editor

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