Friday Offcuts – 7 May 2021

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More of the same this week. Lumber prices, particularly in North America, continuing their climb. What’s been seen in April is unprecedented. It’s being described by some mills as a once-in-a-lifetime event. One reader on an industry blog quipped recently, "With the price of lumber up so high, wondering if I should sell my house for parts". In the last few weeks, prices have jumped $80 per week. Does this sizzling trend and momentum show any chance of slowing? In an article this week, well known industry consultant Russ Taylor looks at the underlying supply and demand issues that might further ignite, or put a damper on runaway US lumber prices. We’ve also built in a video that sheds more light onto what’s driving the US lumber boom and who’s profiting from the rocketing prices.

And in Australia this week, a significant industry milestone was achieved and celebrated. On Tuesday, the last log truck carrying salvaged, burnt logs from the 2019/20 bushfires arrived at Hyne’s Tumbarumba Mill in NSW. It’s been a hard 15 months of salvage harvesting with a huge amount of effort been put in by industry. At the Tumbarumba mill alone, over 1.6 million of burnt plantation pine logs have been processed with 75.5 million lineal metres of timber being produced.

In addition to major interruptions to their log supply and quality, against all industry expectations of having to process logs within 3-6 months of being burnt, the Hyne mill has successfully been processing these burnt logs now for 15 months. Over 2.7 million tonnes have been salvaged across the Tumut and Tumbarumba regions making it one of the longest and the largest log salvage operations in history. The occasion and the hard work that’s been put into the fire salvage operations was celebrated this week by the mill, it’s employees, suppliers and customers.

With borders slowly reopening, vaccines being progressively being rolled out and the industry being in a “purple patch” right now, interest in technology events continues to ramp up across the region. Next month’s Carbon Forestry 2021 on 15-16 June in Rotorua, New Zealand (with live streaming) is drawing in record registrations, close to 250 already. In this week’s issue we’ve built in the details relating to this region’s two-yearly sawmilling and saw-doctoring event, WoodTECH 2021. It’s running on 3-4 August. Early details along with the programme can now be viewed on the event website.

And finally, this week we’re calling for the first Expressions of Interest to present at the annual forest technology event, ForestTECH, which will be covering recent innovations and results of early adoption of remote sensing technologies along with advancements in inventory management and mechanised silviculture. It’s going to run in late November. Full details can be found in the story below. Enjoy this week’s read.





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Tree stock sales grow in NZ

Latest research by Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service shows seedling sales in New Zealand hit almost 92 million seedlings in 2020, 3 million more than the year before, says Acting Deputy Director-General Henry Weston.

The findings are an annual survey of tree stock sales from commercial forestry nurseries, called the Provisional Estimates of Tree Stock Sales and Forest Planting. “The increase in seedling sales is positive, as it shows continued strong interest in tree planting.

Tree stock sales reported in 2020 totalled 91.9 million seedlings, compared to 88.8 million sold in 2019. The main increase was in radiata pine where sales rose by 4.4 million seedlings.

“Our estimates suggest the increase in 2020 could see seedling sales reach 100 million seedlings in 2021.” Mr Weston says Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service’s research also shows the majority of planting in New Zealand was on class 6,7 and 8 land, which isn’t considered productive farmland.

“Te Uru Rākau - New Zealand Forest Service would like to acknowledge all of the nursery managers, forest owners, managers, and consultants who supplied information for the survey.” The report is available online here.

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WoodTECH 2021 linking NZ and Australian sawmills

For over 20 years now, sawmillers and saw-doctors have been meeting every two years in New Zealand and in Australia. The occasion? The WoodTECH series. It’s run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) and designed with industry and key technology and equipment providers.

The event provides a unique independent showcase for local companies to evaluate the very latest in innovations, technology and operating practices around saw design and operation, mill maintenance, wood scanning, sawmilling and mill optimisation. It’s also one of very few opportunities that mill production and operational staff get to come into one location, get away from the day-to-day production for a couple of days and network with each other.

The last Australasian sawmilling event, WoodTECH 2019 drew in close to 350 delegates.

“With industry support and input, the plans are now set in place to run the 2021 event again. At this stage, it’s again expected to be one of few that will be run in 2021 – anywhere around the world” says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp. “The format has been modified though. Based on the expectation of border and travel restrictions still being in place for many of the international equipment suppliers, the good news is, that the 2021 event is planned to run and it’s going to provide a raft of new features for local mills”.

Because of the uncertainty still surrounding international travel, it’s planned that New Zealand sawmillers and saw doctors along with key local equipment suppliers will be able to meet up in person Rotorua. This will be the first time in around two years. Australian mills , as well as mills and technology providers from outside Australia, will also be able to live stream the full two-day event. The event can be watched live over the two days or the presentations will be able to be accessed later for sawmills to use for their own on-site meetings or for training.

Details on the two-day programme have just been uploaded onto the website, WoodTECH 2021 . This year, it’s extensive. In addition to a raft of exciting new innovations around sawmilling and saw maintenance, a feature of this year’s event will be the number of practical workshops being given (saw guides and lubrication, fine tuning your circular and band saws, making use of machine data in the mill, real time data collection for machine diagnosis and troubleshooting …).

A focus this year is also been given to one of the major constraints to increased production, how we can retain and attract younger skills into the industry and a series of presentations around new timber treatment and wood modification technologies have also been able to be built in to the event.

Further details will follow. WoodTECH 2021 runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 3-4 August. Further information can be found on WoodTECH 2021



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15 months of burnt salvage operations finishing

The last log truck carrying salvaged, burnt logs from the 2019/20 bushfires was waved into the Hyne Tumbarumba Mill on Tuesday. The unprecedented, 15 months of salvage harvesting has seen over 1.6 million burnt plantation pine logs processed at the Hyne Mill alone. 75.5 million linear metres of timber has been processed from salvaged logs which would almost wrap around the world twice.

Hyne Timber’s CEO, Jon Kleinschmidt said this last log truck marks the end of a historic event of collaboration and incredibly hard work. “To still be accepting burnt log 15 months after the fires has completely exceeded industry expectations of 3 to 6 months”.

“We have been able to maintain the Mills capacity and supply of locally grown timber throughout the high demand we have experienced for which we thank the Morrison Government’s Home Builder stimulus. The efforts of all involved from the growers, the harvesting crews, the haulers, the staff here at the Tumbarumba Mill and our by-product customers has been remarkable and deserves to be celebrated”.

“I know for our team here on site, it has been hard, coupled with the uncertainty of the future. Not only do we celebrate this unprecedented achievement, but we have been able to work with suppliers to source some logs from further afield, securing jobs here on site which is welcome news for our team and the community of Tumbarumba”.

“I thank all those who have worked collaboratively with us to reach this milestone and with ongoing support, the positive future ahead.” Mr Kleinschmidt said. A number of the growers were represented at the Tumbarumba Mill to mark the occasion and enjoy a site BBQ with employees.

Dean Anderson, Regional Manager of Forestry Corporation of NSW said it was good to see that, despite the devastation of the bushfires, much of the damaged pine plantation could be salvaged. “Just the Dunn’s Road fire was one and half times the ACT, covering an area of 3,500 square kilometres)”.

“Over 45,000 hectares of pine plantations were impacted by fires in the local area, which is just under 40 per cent of the area planted. More than half of the area affected by fire was too young to salvage and our focus has been on getting all the trees older than 19 years old and as much as possible of those older than 12.

“Thanks to the significant cooperation of our customers and contractors we have managed to just about achieve this, except for a few steep areas, salvaging over 2.7 million tonnes in the Tumut and Tumbarumba region. This makes this operation one of the longest and the largest salvage operations in history, a testament to the resilience of the local forest industry.

Source: Hyne Timber

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Carbon Forestry: Introducing Blake Holgate

Carbon Forestry Conference 2021 - New Zealand agriculture is currently going through a period of transformational change, with environmental reforms shaping what, and how, landowners will produce over the next generation.

This will require New Zealand landowners to take into account a new range of considerations as they increasingly incorporate the environmental impact of their operations into their strategic investment decisions.

As a result, carbon forestry is set to play a significant role in New Zealand’s future primary production systems as landowners look to capitalise on their ability to generate revenue from carbon sequestration..

Introducing: Blake Holgate, Head of Sustainable Business Development, Rabobank

Presentation: Banking on Carbon Forestry - An agricultural bank's view on the role of carbon farming in future NZ farming systems.

Bio: As the Head of Sustainable Business Development, Blake ensures businesses are in the best position to capitalise on opportunities while also balancing increasing environmental, societal and market risks.

Blake is a key contributor to Rabobank's primary sector advice to the Government, their regular market analysis reports and agribusiness podcasts. Hailing from a sheep and beef farming family, Blake is passionate about sustainable farming and new products and services aimed at making businesses more commercially and environmentally sustainable.

Click here to register >>



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ForestTECH 2021 - Early Expressions of Interest

ForestTECH – What is it?

ForestTECH is Australasia’s premier annual forest technology event. It’s being run now for 14 years, principally in New Zealand and Australia. It’s aimed at resource managers, remote sensing, GIS and mapping specialists, inventory foresters and more recently, tree crop supervisors and forest establishment and silvicultural managers.

What happened last year?

Last year ForestTECH, against all odds, ran in Rotorua, New Zealand. In the lead up to the annual technology event, most within the industry would have thought that it would have been a very hard (in fact, nigh near impossible) task to get forestry resource and tree crop managers together from across Australasia at any physical event.

Despite COVID-19, country border restrictions, tight health and safety requirements for running physical events and a minor scare in Auckland the week before the event, ForestTECH 2020 ran in Rotorua, New Zealand on 18-19 November 2020.



Record attendances:

Well over 300 attended ForestTECH 2020. Workshops, meetings, field demonstrations and a two-day technology conference and trade exhibitions all ran for the wider industry over the week. The live and virtual hybrid format for ForestTECH 2020 also enabled a much wider cross-section of international presenters and delegates to be involved.

Delegates from 20 different countries for the first time were involved as part of the online streaming of the event out of Rotorua, New Zealand. Companies located in; New Zealand, Australia, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Germany, Brazil, USA, Canada, Columbia, Chile, Ireland, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, China, South Africa, Latvia, Singapore and the United Kingdom were involved in ForestTECH 2020.

What’s planned for ForestTECH 2021?

Content: For the first time, last year, ForestTECH 2020 was split into two main technology streams; 1. Remote sensing, data capture and inventory management, and 2. Forest establishment, mechanised planting and silviculture.

Format and location: The 2021 event will again be run in Rotorua, New Zealand. Uncertainties around country borders being open, international travel and a reluctance still by many individuals and companies to travel outside New Zealand means that the format used in 2020 (physical delegates in New Zealand with the full event being streamed to Australian and other international delegates) will be used for ForestTECH 2021.

ForestTECH 2021 will cover;

• Remote sensing/ satellite imagery technologies
• Mechanised & automated planting systems
• Advances in silvicultural treatments
• Data capture technologies and operational use
• Inventory management
• Big data management IT solutions
• Drone based imaging and data capture
• Options for AI and deep learning


Interested in presenting?

If interested in presenting at the ForestTECH 2021 this year (either in person in New Zealand or remotely), please register your early interest by emailing brent.apthorp@fiea.org.nz by Friday 21 May 2021



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2x4’s at US$2,000?

Ongoing Surge in Lumber Demand Is Creating Unbelievable Prices!

In late July 2020 I wrote an article in the WOOD MARKETS Monthly Report (my last-ever editorial) where I posed the question if W-SPF 2x4 #2&Better Random Lengths (FOB BC Mill) lumber could achieve the US$1,000/Mbf threshold (US$645/m3, net) in the COVID-induced rally that had started. At that time, W-SPF was trading at US$678/Mbf – or just over two-thirds of the way from the $1,000 target. In fact, the rally lasted only another -4-5 weeks into early September before prices peaked at US$955/Mbf. Close, but no cigar.

However, this was not the end of the price cycle – as many, if not most, had expected. Prices of 2x4 bottomed out at $530/Mbf in late October 2020 and then the second price wave started. W-SPF prices rose to $927 on January 8 before slumping for two weeks to $785.

Then the third (and current) wave started where prices have increased every week since (aside from holding steady for five weeks at $1,025) and at the time of this writing (May 1) prices were sitting at $1,420/Mbf (US$917/m3, net). Ironically, this is also just over two-thirds of the way to the next threshold of $2,000 but with extraordinarily strong momentum.

Is a $2,000 price ($1,292/m3, net; or ~$1,375/m3 delivered US East Coast) for SPF possible during this cycle? Prices have increased $400/Mbf in the last five weeks (to April 30) – if this sizzling pace (averaging $80/week) were to continue, we would be there in nine weeks, or the end of June! As the graph shows, the recent torrid pace in April is unprecedented, but anything seems to be possible this year.





There are several reasons why this bold outlook has potential!

More >>

Source: Russ Taylor, President, RUSS TAYLOR GLOBAL – Wood Business & Market Consulting



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Roll out of NZ’s National Elevation Programme

A National Elevation Programme currently being carried out by Toitū Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) in partnership with Regional Councils aims to make available a consistent, high quality baseline elevation dataset for all of New Zealand within the next few years. The power of this dataset lies in its ability to provide a deeper understanding of our landscape through higher resolution mapping across the regions.

The impending availability of this data is expected to unlock new opportunities in many industries such as forestry and agriculture.

This programme will deliver three datasets generated after capture is complete. These are:

• 1m gridded bare earth Digital Elevation Model (DEM/DTM)

• 1m gridded Digital Surface Model (DSM)

• the classified point clouds.

To promote greater visibility of information for existing and future elevation datasets, LINZ has released an interactive map that allows people to easily search for the most up to date information relating to when data will be available for their area of interest. For data that is already available, links are provided that point to where the data can be accessed for free via open licence on LINZ Data Service (for the DEM and DSM) or Open Topography (for the point clouds).

The map along with additional resources can be accessed via the following link.

Future potential:

Analysis by Scion has found that nationwide DEMs have the potential to set a useful baseline for the application of other exciting technologies in forestry such as satellite photogrammetry and InSAR for the continued cost-effective management of forest inventory.

From a two-year research program, Scion has also developed methods to estimate forest yield for small to medium-scale forest plantations using this technology. These methods could then be deployed at a national level once the data is available.

To ask a question or provide feedback, please contact customersupport@linz.govt.nz

Source: Land Information New Zealand

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Year one review of the NES-PF now available

The report on the Year One Review of New Zealand’s National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry is now publicly available and can be found here.

Plantation forests continue to play a key role in contributing to New Zealand’s climate change, environmental, cultural, social, and economic aspirations. Ongoing implementation for the NES-PF following Year One review includes:

• Our transition to a low-emissions future will require plantation forests to play a substantial part, both in removing carbon from the atmosphere and providing fuel for low emissions technologies.

• Overall, the Year One review found that the NES-PF is effective, but further implementation support for councils and the forestry sector would lift performance and compliance.

• The key findings of the Year One Review will be considered within the Government’s response to the Climate Change Commission’s upcoming recommendations and wider resource management reforms, to support the right tree in the right place.

Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service is happy to receive comments and questions about the Year One review. Please direct enquires to NES-PF@mpi.govt.nz.

Source: Te Uru Rākau

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How COVID-19 made lumber America's hottest commodity

Demand for lumber in the US has skyrocketed during the pandemic, sending prices to all-time highs. This video explains what’s driving the lumber boom, who’s profiting, and why those growing the trees aren’t reaping the benefits.



Source: WSJ, Youtube

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Managing timber’s moisture content in the supply chain

Industry is being encouraged to share their experience in managing timber’s moisture content (MC) in the supply chain. Unexpected MC changes in timber and wood products can be a cause of concern, and University of Tasmania researchers want to hear industry’s first-hand experience with these changes and the problems that they can generate.

“Timber’s MC can change significantly as it moves through the supply chain from the mill to its in-service location” said Michael Lee, timber industry expert, previously from the UTAS Centre for Sustainable Architecture with Wood (CSAW), “and if these changes are not well managed, unexpected problems can occur. Both appearance and structural products are affected”.

“We are developing industry best practice guidance in this area” Michael said, “and a part of this is uncovering industry’s experience with MC change through an online survey, interviewing people and inspecting affected product.”

This work is part of an industry-lead National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI) funded project. UTAS is leading the project with nine industry collaborators who operate across the hardwood and softwood sectors nationally. The project aims to pair industry expertise on regular MC issues with the results of detailed monitoring of MC changes in timber nationally over 12 months. Both sets of results will then inform best-practice advice for industry.

“Seasonal variations in temperature and humidity can regularly affect timber and wood products with impacts occurring along the supply chain.” project leader Professor Gregory Nolan said. “So, we are currently collecting MC data from sensors and timber samples in mills, distribution centres, fabricator workshops, building sites and in service, and from material in transit on trucks and trains.”

“The results of this work can really reduce problems for industry and improve customer satisfaction in the supply of timber and wood products throughout Australia,” Michael Lee said.

UTAS is currently inviting industry participation in an online survey of timber and wood products workers. All timber milling, fabrication, joiners, builders are retailers are encouraged to share their experiences with timber’s MC. Follow this link for the project information sheet.

Online survey link

Source: The National Institute for Forest Products Innovation (NIFPI)



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Forestry Log Haulage Code of Practice final review

In Australia, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has begun the final stages of its review before registration of the Forestry Log Haulage Code of Practice (LHC) and has commenced a 28-day public consultation period from 28 April.

Across a three-year process, the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) developed the LHC to support industry to improve safety outcomes and drive best practice in log haulage. The Australian Forest Contractors Association (AFCA) was responsible for leading the work, which included a consultative engagement process that allowed the industry to review and provide feedback throughout the development of the LHC.

In December 2019, AFPA Growers Chamber members unanimously endorsed the LHC, which was then submitted to NHVR. It has subsequently undergone a minor revision following initial feedback from the NHVR.

Ms Stacey Gardiner, General Manager, AFCA, said, "The NHVR has advised AFCA that it has commenced the final stages of the registration process, which includes seeking public comment on the draft. Feedback from industry submitted to the NHVR will be considered by an independent assessment panel of experts as part of their review of the LHC.”

“I encourage all those who took part in the development of the LHC to consider submitting feedback as part of the NHVR 28-day public consultation process” Ms Gardiner added.

Dr Andrew Jacobs, AFPA Growers Chamber Chair, said, “I am pleased that after many years of consultative work that we are in the final stages of this process. I encourage people to review the draft code that’s presented and to provide comment where needed so we can move to standardise log haulage across the industry.”

Following the Independent Assessment Panel’s deliberations, they are expected to make recommendations to the NHVR CEO for consideration which is the final step before registration.

Note: Visit the NHVR website to view the LHC and details of the public consultation process.

Source: AFCA

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Midway and Climate Friendly announce alliance

Midway Tasmania and Climate Friendly, two leading service providers in their respective fields of forestry and carbon project development, have announced a strategic alliance that combines farm forestry with carbon farming. The partnership model will provide services to local land managers in Tasmania, enabling them to become small scale private forestry growers and to improve the productivity of otherwise marginal land. Climate Friendly and Midway will partner with these growers to facilitate both an early income from carbon farming, in addition to longer term income from sustainable forest products.

The alliance offers an integrated service model that aims to replace short-rotation woodchip plantations with long-rotation plantations, grown for saw logs which can be used to manufacture sawn-timber products such as structural timber, furniture and engineered timber products. As well as the carbon sequestration from the atmosphere, carbon farming practices will help improve soil and water quality, mitigate salinity and enhance biodiversity.

Midway’s Managing Director, Tony Price said “The company was very pleased to be able to join forces with Climate Friendly in providing private forest owners with the opportunity to generate carbon offsets and expand or maintain their plantation estate to provide long term financial and environmental benefits to Tasmania”. Climate Friendly’s Chief Operating Officer, Nigel Miller, adds “This alliance with Midway Tasmania is a win for the Tasmanian forest industry, small scale private forest growers and the environment.”

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Jobs



Buy and Sell



... and one to end the week on ... going electric?



















Remember, but you'll have this organised already, it's Mothers Day this Sunday. Enjoy the day. Cheers.

Brent Apthorp
Editor, Friday Offcuts
Distinction Dunedin Hotel
6 Liverpool Street, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
PO Box 904, Dunedin 9054, New Zealand
Tel: +64 (03) 470 1902, Mob: +64 21 227 5177, Fax: +64 (03) 470 1906
Web page: www.fridayoffcuts.com


This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at www.fridayoffcuts.com

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