Friday Offcuts – 24 November 2017

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Ongoing and regular communication with the Australasian forest products sector is being achieved through weekly newsletters like this one. New and emerging technologies are being showcased through regular events and industry and trade exhibitions being run by FIEA like the just completed ForestTECH 2017 series. The Australian leg of this latest series finished yesterday in Melbourne. We had over 250 resource managers and inventory foresters from major forestry companies across Australasia attending over the last couple of weeks. Between the annual tech events, a growing community of remote sensing specialists have also been using the website, They’re using this new platform to better communicate and are being supplied monthly updates on breaking news, research findings and information directly linked to their own jobs and interests.

Following the WoodTECH 2017 series that ran in September, a similar resource ( has also just been set up. It’s designed for all those involved in sawing, wood manufacturing and timber treatment from across the region. Like remote sensing, the reason for the new platform is straightforward. There’s been a real gap here for some time.

Following the demise of local saw-doctoring groupings in both countries, there has been nothing out there which has enabled mill managers, saw-doctors, production, maintenance and operational staff to keep updated on issues or news that is important to their own operations. There has been nothing readily available to access information on tips, tools and practices that can be used to improve their business. Up until now, there has also been no easy way to communicate between each of the mills. We hope the new service requested by local mills is going to meet this need. Further information can be found in the story below. If interested, in signing up yourself or any of your work colleagues or team, check out the new website.

In wood products this week, with growing interest in using engineered wood construction for mid and high-rise construction, Lendlease have just announced that they’re planning to develop and build a second timber building in Barangaroo South, Sydney. It's going to complement their award winning International House Sydney. This along with other buildings built recently, have very effectively showcased CLT as a building material of choice to the property industry, developers, architects and to the wider community across Australasia. This will be the company’s sixth engineered timber building in Australia.

Also in the building space, two of New Zealand’s largest suppliers of structural timber are heading to court on the issue of whether locally produced products have been meeting the required timber treatment standards, steel framing (using the Framecad system, which was first introduced into New Zealand) is being introduced to the home of wood construction, B.C, and in Paris, we cover a story of a 54-metre tall building being made entirely out of wood. As a statement on the inner-city landscape, the building’s also being covered by nearly 2000 trees, shrubs and plants which according to the architects, is pitched at helping the fight against climate change and to visibly promote biodiversity in an urban setting. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Midway among companies experiencing resurgence

Australia’s battered forestry sector and timber industry is finally starting to emerge from the financial wilderness it was cast into nearly a decade ago following the spectacular collapse of managed investment scheme timber plantation companies such as Gunns, Timbercorp and Great Southern. New figures released by the federal government show the timber industry has enjoyed four years of consecutive growth, with the value of wood product exports growing 9 per cent in 2016-17 to AU$3.4 billion.

Nowhere is the change more evident than in the AU$1.1bn woodchip sector, once the favoured target of environmental groups such as the Wilderness Society because of the perception pristine old-growth forests in places like Tasmania were being pillaged to supply woodchips to Japan to be made into toilet paper and nappies. These days, the woodchip sector is fast becoming an unlikely paragon of the new green economy, with the potential to play a major role in carbon sequestration, farm viability and the generation of renewable energy from biomass.

Over the past five years, it has transformed itself on the back of vast, fast-maturing blue gum MIS (managed investment scheme) plantations across Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria into an environmentally acceptable industry no longer reliant on the logging of native forests.

Tony Price, chief executive of newly listed company Midway, Australia’s largest woodchip processor and exporter, admits it has been a long and bumpy ride and many companies have not survived. “It’s been tough. We had the GFC, the collapse and chaos of MIS, a glut of blue gum and a high Australian dollar — a perfect storm that has resulted in most of the industry not being here any more,” said Mr Price, a veteran of the forestry sector.

“But now we are experiencing an industry resurgence as demand for wood products — and woodchips particularly — grows and supply shrinks. These days it’s all about being sustainable, having a certified product and making sure you have a social licence to operate in the long term.” Midway, which owns wood processing facilities and loading wharves at Geelong, Portland and Brisbane ports, floated on the ASX last December with its majority owners, the Gunnersen and McCormack families, retaining a 55 per cent stake.

Mr Price, a former Australian Bluegum Plantations boss and ex-Rio Tinto executive, said the company now had a market capitalisation of about AU$180m, seven major customers in Japan and China, and was exporting three million tonnes of woodchips annually. More than 90 per cent of Midway’s shipments are of woodchips from blue gums grown mainly in former MIS plantations spread across Victorian, SA and Tasmania farmland, with the chips derived from thinned trees or smaller trunks after more valuable hardwood sawlogs have been extracted.

Mr Price said end users in China — which last year bought 62 per cent of Australia’s woodchip stacks — were looking for a sustainable supply chain of plantation-certified woodchips, with healthy prices now hovering around $US152 a tonne for single species Eucalyptus globulus (Tasmanian blue gum).

Source: The Australian

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New WoodTECH platform launched for wood producers

Together with industry, the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) is going to be communicating much more regularly with sawmilling, wood manufacturing and timber preservation companies along with key suppliers to this part of the sector.

Who is the new service aimed at? The plan at this stage is to include site managers, production and engineering staff, green-mill and dry-mill managers, saw-doctors, those involved in mill maintenance, kiln drying, timber machining, finger-jointing, wood finishing, timber treatment …. Anyone really that’s involved in wood products in Australasia.

Why is it being set it up? Many of the industry networks such as the saw-doctor’s groupings that worked so well in the past in both Australia and New Zealand no longer exist. WoodTECH delegates and those involved over the years with events run by FIEA have suggested a platform for more regular communication and networking amongst themselves really needs to be set up. WoodTECH delegates in September suggested that the website ( used for the latest sawmilling series in September this year is the logical tool or vehicle to make this happen.

What will it include? The plan is not to cover the many excellent services currently being supplied by existing industry associations. Instead a platform is being set up that can be actively used by those working within the industry. It will be used during the year rather than meeting in and around the wood processing, manufacturing and timber treatment tech events that are being run by FIEA.

As well as annual technology gatherings, the WoodTECH website will be used to provide the very latest updates on breaking news, research results, reports, troubleshooting tips, practical guidelines to improve operating efficiencies, information on new technology and links for those involved in processing, manufacturing or treating wood in Australasia.

What now? Already a comprehensive listing of those actively involved in wood processing events in the past have been contacted. The plan is to send out regular updates during the year. The first issue highlighting the new service along with links to a number of stories and resources was sent out last week.

Contributions, recommendations, leads and advice on what you’d like added will certainly be welcomed. If you’d like to be kept in the loop and would like to subscribe to the news newsletter and updates (it’s FREE), click here.

Note: A similar service has been operating very successfully now for close on a year for this regions resource managers, inventory foresters, remote sensing and GIS specialists along with suppliers to this part of the forestry sector through

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Russian wood processors short on wood

There continue to be ongoing developments in global markets, with some regions appearing to be more dynamic than others. While the U.S. is becoming the key worldwide driver due to its constrained supplies and rising demand, a look at other markets is useful to better understand how the various pieces of the puzzle fit together. Attached is a recent update on Russia and its forestry industry from Russ Taylor, Director, International WOOD MARKETS Group (now part of Forest Economic Advisors (FEA)).

Although Russia has an annual allowable harvest of ~700 million m3 per year, the harvest in 2016 was much smaller than that at 205 million m3. The potential commercial harvest is realistically considered some 340 million m3, but reaching this level would require heavy investments into roads and other infrastructure. Today, there are 43.7 million hectares of certified forest land in Russia, versus fewer than 300,000 in 2002.

Russia’s vast forest land and its relatively small scale of actual processing was one of the key themes of the International Forest Forum. The situation has been attributed partially to a lack of forest land close to the main Russian manufacturing clusters. The result has been timber shortages near existing processing operations and vast areas of essentially inaccessible timber.

In areas with a dearth of accessible timber and in which commercial log shortages are developing — such as Irkutsk in Siberia — the open-market price of sawlogs is now over US$60/m3 and is starting to marginalize mills that rely mainly on open-market log purchases. In these regions, some harvesting is being conducted on sites that provide fewer than 200 m3 of timber per hectare (by comparison, some countries in Europe identify 400 m3 per hectare as the minimum threshold for timber harvesting). Areas with low timber volumes are costly to log mainly because they require more roads and, therefore, have higher per-unit harvesting costs.

There is now a push to consider a more intensive forestry model in parts of Russia, i.e., to grow more trees faster and closer to where processing facilities are already located. Part of this model is to stimulate forestry investments under the terms of existing or new forest leases.

Other solutions that have been suggested are to optimize the forest supply chain and provide stronger links to markets and end users. This is already being achieved in Russia’s business with China: dedicated trains with 50 containers per train are now moving from Siberia to Shanghai, enabling transportation cost savings of up to US$25/m3. Targeting spruce for edge-glued panels at premium prices is becoming a market strategy for Russian exporters given that fir and other whitewoods are unsuitable for gluing (their best fit is in lower-value end uses).

Russia’s forest industry is dominated by sawmilling (35% of total output), the wood-based panel sector (24%), and pulp and paper (24%). Since 2016, however, the competitive advantage the country has enjoyed in export markets has been narrowing steadily due to a stronger ruble and inflation. If the Russian industry is to maintain its competitiveness and market share, new strategies and investments will be vital, as well as technology improvements aimed at fostering future development opportunities, e.g.,

- Improvement to the operational efficiency and profitability of its wood products industry;
- Better route-to-market strategies and an expansion of the country’s presence in selected (strategic) export markets; and
- Development of new product and business areas (over and above commodities).

Source: International Wood Markets Group

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3D-printed steel future for B.C. home construction?

A Vancouver company is hoping to disrupt the local construction framing industry with new technology that can “print” steel beams and accelerate the building process. LifeTec Construction Group Inc., which has an 8,000-square-foot warehouse near East Broadway and Renfrew Street, has already caught the attention of some local upscale homebuilders and has taken on a number of small, private projects. The company said the plan is to move eventually into construction of mid-rise and commercial/industrial structures traditionally built from wood.

LifeTec founder and president Krishna Jolliffe said 3D-printed steel’s advantages over wood include durability, resistance to mould and warping, environmental friendliness and shorter construction time.

“Right now, on any construction project in the Lower Mainland, time is a huge factor,” Jolliffe said, citing Lower Mainland’s construction labour shortage and its impact on building timelines and costs. “When you are dealing with a lack of labour, speeding up those time frames creates huge efficiencies for any builder. So, I don’t think we’ll always be able to show people savings, because we aim to come in at the same cost as traditional methods, but on any project, we’ll have a significant time advantage.”

LifeTec uses the Framecad system, which was first introduced in New Zealand but is now available throughout Australia, Asia, Europe, Africa and South America. Under the process, a building’s frame is designed on a computer, then individual modular parts, beams and panels are manufactured by specialized 3D printers that use lasers to shape the steel source material. The parts are then shipped to the construction site and assembled, with minimal on-site cutting, drilling or modifications.

The printers can reach extremely high temperatures during operation, but the overall space requirement for a single machine is much smaller than what is needed for production-line steelmaking equipment.

“If we can work with the developer early enough, we can show up right when the foundation is complete, and it’s three to five days from there to assemble the house – as opposed to three to five weeks for building it from wood,” said LifeTec COO Jesse Goldman, pointing to a two- storey demonstration structure in the company’s warehouse that took under two days from conception to completion.

“Steel is just a way better product. If you look down the list … there’s just no doubt about what’s better in every category in terms of being a construction material.” Jolliffe and LifeTec co-founder Mckinley Hlady, originally from Salt Spring Island, have been involved in the construction industry for years but first came into contact with 3D-printed steel as recently as 2016, when working on a sustainable housing project in South Florida. There, Jolliffe said, all of the project’s specified framing was done through printed steel.

That’s when the two B.C. men decided to bring the concept to their home province despite the dominance of wood as a structural building material in the local construction industry.

LifeTec started earlier this year with a team of 10, and the builders who were introduced to the building method were all receptive to the innovation, the company said. And although the five current projects LifeTec is working on are all private detached homes, Jolliffe said they want to move into multi-family residential and mid-rise commercial/industrial because it’s in these larger construction projects, which have a need for a higher level of uniformity across a bigger scale, that printed steel’s efficiencies really shine.

“The sky’s the limit,” Jolliffe said. “We can do anything that can be done with wood. The only construction we can’t do is for highrises, but we can still do all the infill framing. We can do that at the same cost of existing providers, but at three to four times the speed. So, we can create efficiencies in practically every construction process going on in the market.”

“The end goal is that I don’t want to see anything built out of wood anymore,” Goldman said. “This system of building in every other part of the world is huge. It’s just here, in this little pocket in the Pacific Northwest where you have so much access to lumber, that it’s not as big. But it doesn’t mean [Framecad steel] isn’t a better system; it’s just that people haven’t been give a reason to switch up to this point.”


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Electric trucks emerging but still have a long haul

Electric trucks are having a moment in the spotlight, but they won't replace diesel-powered trucks in big numbers until they overcome costs and other limitations.

Tesla Inc. unveil a semitractor-trailer last week, its first foray into trucking after more than a decade of making cars and SUVs. German automaker Daimler AG showed off its own electric semi last month and says it could be on sale in a few years. Truck rental company Ryder just added 125 all-electric vans made by California startup Chanje to its fleet.

"It's kind of like the checkered flag is being waved," said Glen Kedzie, energy and environmental counsel with the American Trucking Associations. "We've seen different fuels come and go, and electric has gotten to the front of the line."

As battery costs fall and more options enter the market, global sales of pure electric trucks are expected to grow exponentially, from 4,100 in 2016 to 70,600 in 2026, according to Navigant Research. Delivery companies, mail services and utilities will be among the biggest purchasers, and most of the growth will come from Europe, China and the U.S.

Most electric trucks on the road will be medium-duty vehicles like delivery vans or garbage trucks. They're quiet and emission-free, and they can be plugged in and charged at the end of a shift. They're ideal for predictable urban routes of 100 miles or less; a longer range than that requires more batteries, which are heavy and expensive.

One issue: Cost. A medium-duty electric truck costs about $70,000 more than equivalent diesel trucks, according to the consulting firm Deloitte. Buyers considering electrics have to weigh what they can save on fuel and maintenance costs, since electrics have fewer parts.

Heavy-duty trucks like electric semis have even further to go before they can be competitive with diesels. Some of those trucks are used for shorter routes, but to achieve a longer range of 300 miles, they require more batteries.

Deloitte estimates electrification adds around $150,000 to the cost of a heavy-duty vehicle, or more than double the cost of some diesel tractor-trailers. Electric semi-trucks will have the added problem of long charging times and little highway charging infrastructure.

"I see it being relevant but not ready for prime time," Chanje CEO Bryan Hansel said of long-haul electric trucks. He thinks it will be five years or more before the battery technology and infrastructure can support cross-country electric trucking. "It's a big prize, but the physics haven't caught up yet," he said.

But analysts believe that will change. Battery costs are expected to fall significantly over the next decade as technology improves. Deloitte expects battery costs for trucks to fall from $260 per kilowatt-hour in 2016 to $122 in 2026. That would cut the cost of a 300kWh battery pack — like the one in Daimler's prototype semi —from $78,000 to $36,600.

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FCNSW welcomes new GM of Softwood Plantations

Forestry Corporation is Australia’s largest softwood plantation manager producing enough timber each year to construct a quarter of the houses built in Australia. The Softwood Plantations Division alone oversees timber production from over 200,000 hectares of pine plantations in NSW. Forestry Corporation is pleased to announce and welcomes the new head of this division, Mike Beardsell.

Mike has held senior roles in the forestry and a broad range of natural resources industries including heading up the North Pine Products business in Tasmania, Operations Manager of the Peak Hill Gold Mine in West Australia, Treasurer of the Iron Ore Company of Canada and CEO of North Forest Products. In Mike’s most recent role he was Executive General Manager of Boral’s Cement Division with operations across Australia and in South East Asia.

Photo: Mike Beardsell & Nick Roberts, FCNSW

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International forest technology experts coming to Vancouver

With the very successful ForestTECH 2017 series finishing this week in Melbourne, attention now swings to North America. A new international forest management technology conference is set to bring all of the latest inventory and harvest planning technologies from around the world to Canada’s premier forestry city, Vancouver, in March 2018.

“We’re bringing together the world’s leading technology experts in forestry metrics for our new conference, ForestTECHX in March 2018 says conference organizer, Anthony Robinson, associate publisher of Logging & Sawmilling Journal (LSJ)".

“From Europe and across the Asia Pacific, emerging technologies in forest measurement and management are bringing big advantages to early adopters,” says Robinson, “and our focus groups here in Canada indicated to us the time was right to bring the world’s experts here to showcase the leading-edge innovation and technology.”

In partnership with long-time tech transfer specialists from New Zealand and Australia, the ForestTECHX conference coming to Vancouver next March builds on a great track record in the Pacific basin. LSJ’s conference partners from Innovatek have been running ForestTECH in other countries since 2017.

Delegates include a strong contingent of chief technology officers, forest managers and information specialists includes all of the leading international forest companies. So, Canadian licensees and private forest land managers stand to gain a lot from the experienced panel of international experts who have come together for this ‘new-to-BC’ conference.

Joining the panel of international speakers will be leading specialists in forestry geometrics from across Canada. They will be joined by operational forestry practitioners with case studies showing how leading - edge companies have already started to make gains in key inventory processes and harvest planning technologies.

University of British Columbia’s own Dr. Nicholas Coops is one of the keynote presenters. He is Associate Dean, Research and Innovation in the Department of Forest Resources Management. He is also the Canada Research Chair in Remote Sensing.

ForestTECHX is running on March 6-7th 2018 at the Executive Airport Plaza Hotel in Richmond. Further details on the event can be found on

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Lendlease looks to 2nd CLT building for Barangaroo South

Lendlease has expanded its presence in the engineered timber building sector after lodging a planning application with the Department of Planning and Environment for a second office property at Barangaroo South, Sydney. The application, which is subject to the department's approval following public exhibition, proposes a "sister building" to the award winning International House Sydney.

The first impression of International House is the smell of a forest that, according to the developers, helps ease tension and lower blood pressure. It is also sustainable, a factor that is now key for prospective tenants. Lendlease has embraced the use of cross laminated timber (CLT) and glue laminated timber (Glulam).

Rob Deck, managing director of Barangaroo South, said Australia's first engineered timber office building, International House Sydney which was completed in 2017, "received an extraordinary amount of interest from a broad cross-section of the property industry, business sector and general public".

The application proposes a building with a total commercial floor space of about 10,000 square metres and a typical floorplate of about 1700sq m. It was designed by Lendlease's DesignMake business and architecture by Tzannes Associates, which also designed International House Sydney. According to the designers, the building offers ground-level retail tenancies and six floors of office space.

This building will be Lendlease's sixth engineered timber building in Australia, joining its neighbour International House Sydney, 25 King in Brisbane, Forte Apartments and Library at The Dock in Melbourne, and Jordan Springs Community Hub in Western Sydney.

Building contractor Strongbuild is leading Australian innovation in CLT and has recently begun construction of a 10-storey tower as part of a luxury retirement village at the western end of Sydney's Norwest Business Park precinct. Strongbuild's managing director, Adam Strong, said CLT is being described as the "building material of the future".

The chief executive of the Green Building Council of Australia, Romilly Madew, has said recently that Lendlease's work on International House, and its other timber high-rise buildings, "heralds a new era for timber construction in Australia".


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Red Stag Timber filing proceedings on mislabelling timber

Red Stag Timber, New Zealand's largest sawmill operator, is taking legal action against its Japanese-owned rival Juken New Zealand, alleging Juken mislabelled its engineered laminated veneer lumber product J-Frame.

Rotorua-based Red Stag said it has filed proceedings in the Auckland High Court alleging Juken breached the Fair Trading Act 1986 and said in a statement the issue was important because it relates to the treatment of framing timber following the 'leaky homes' crisis. Red Stag manufactures and produces solid wood products, including framing timber for construction in New Zealand, Australia and the Pacific Islands. Juken, owned by WoodOne in Japan, produces both engineered products and solid wood products.

"Red Stag Timber claims that by labelling J-Frame 'H1.2' and failing to make it clear that J-Frame is envelope treated, Juken New Zealand Limited failed to comply with the building code and misled purchasers," Red Stag said in a statement.

Red Stag has previously complained to the Commerce Commission about the way Juken labelled J-Frame. The regulator responded by issuing a compliance advice letter to Juken earlier this year regardingJ-Frame labelling, saying it did not meet the requirements of NZ Standard 3640, was incorrectly labelled as H1.2, and may not have complied with AS/NZ Standard 1604.4 because it doesn't carry an 'E' label signifying envelope treatment.

At the heart of the stoush between is the treatment of timber framing used in New Zealand homes, typically known as H1.2. The industry's Standard 3640 requires full sapwood penetration of timber framing using treatment chemicals. Companies such as Red Stag are concerned that a more basic envelope treatment process isn't sufficient to protect timber framing. The standard, on the chemical preservation of timber, is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

"Following the leaky home crisis, New Zealanders want certainty and assurance around treated timber," said Red Stag group chief executive Marty Verry. "Despite the compliance letter issued by the Commerce Commission, we consider proceedings are necessary to ensure that companies such as Juken comply with the building code and relevant standards when labelling their timber products."

Red Stag said it wouldn't comment further as the matter is now before the court. However, the company said it is continuing to raise additional concerns relating to Juken New Zealand's treatment, codemark and labelling of its products with the appropriate regulatory bodies. A Juken spokesperson wasn't immediately available to comment.

Source: Scoop

Wooden tower with plants being designed for Paris

A new high tower is being constructed in Paris, France, and it will be unlike any other building in the city. Instead, it will be made entirely out of wood, and adorned with a large number of plants.

Italian firm Stefano Boeri Architetti is behind the design, which has since been named Forêt Blanche (“White Forest”). Set to be erected in the Parisian suburb of Villiers-sur-Marne, Forêt Blanche will be 54-meters tall and will be covered by nearly 2000 trees, shrubs and plants.

The lower floors of Forêt Blanche will contain offices and retail services, while higher floors will contain luxury apartments. All four sides of the tower will have balconies and terraces, with the East and West sides featuring a number of windows that will, as the Italian company explains, “allow the passage of sunlight all day, giving natural illumination and ventilation to the apartments and an exceptional panorama on the landscape of central Paris.”

Incorporating thousands of plant-life species into the White Forest’s design wasn’t simply a stylistic choice. The firm explains in its announcement post that it wants to go beyond using trees and shrubs to improve the aesthetic of their structures — it also wants to contribute to the fight against climate change and promote biodiversity in urban settings.

While construction on Forêt Blanche is under way, Stefano Boeri Architetti told Business Insider there is as of yet no set timeline for completion. Meaning we’ll have to wait and see how the project progresses, and if its use of plants really aid the struggle against climate change. If it’s a success, it may prompt other companies to follow their lead.


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Juken to defend court action over J-Frame

Juken New Zealand will defend court action being taken against it by Red Stag Timber (see story this week) over its J-Frame product, saying the rival wood processor is trying to remove the growing competitive threat of laminated lumber.

Rotorua-based Red Stag, which operates the country's largest sawmill, has filed proceedings against Japanese-owned Juken in the Auckland High Court, alleging it breached the Fair Trading Act by mislabelling its J-Frame laminated veneer lumber, failing to comply with the building code for structural timber and misleading purchasers.

Juken said it will defend any action taken by its larger rival, and it has made amendments following a Commerce Commission compliance advice letter earlier this year after complaints to the regulator by Red Stag.

Red Stag says correct labelling of timber is important because New Zealanders want certainty and assurance around the treatment of timber following the leaky home crisis. At the heart of the stoush is the treatment of timber framing used in New Zealand homes, known as H1.2. The industry's standard 3640 requires full sapwood penetration of timber framing using treatment chemicals.

Companies such as Red Stag are concerned that a more basic envelope treatment process used by J-Frame isn't sufficient to protect timber framing. The standard, on the chemical preservation of timber, is currently being reviewed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Juken says it has confidence in its J-Frame product and Red Stag's action is a "stunt" to try to influence customers, specifiers and distributors against its product, which is becoming a growing competitive threat to the solid timber that the Rotorua 'supermill' produces.

"We fully intend to defend any action taken by Red Stag," said Juken New Zealand general affairs manager Russell Black. "We believe that Red Stag's intention is to remove J-Frame from the marketplace to reduce competition for their own products which directly compete with ours."

J-Frame has been on the market since 2007, and Carter Holt Harvey and Nelson Pine Industries also manufacture laminated lumber. It remains a small part of the building market relative to traditional sawn timber, although it's a growing competitive threat.

Source: Scoop

Agriculture drone market may exceed US$4 billion

According to an August study by Esticast Research & Consulting Market Research, the global commercial drone market may reach US$3.6 billion by 2024. However, a new study forecasts an even larger bumper crop for just one of the many sub-sectors — agriculture.

The study, released by MarketInsightsReports, predicts the ag drone market will exceed the entire drone market value referenced in the Esticast report and do so two years earlier. The report foresees a US$4.2 billion value for the agricultural drone market by 2022 — representing a growth rate of 30 percent and beating Esticast’s overall prediction for the whole drone market by US$600 million.

Although the marketing report is rather coy with the details – only offering a few tidbits in order to sell a $4,000 full report – it nevertheless touches on some of the key drone players in the growing ag sector such as PrecisionHawk, AeroVironment, Agribotix, AgEagle and DroneDeploy.

For these major players, the precision agriculture sector has already yielded a bountiful harvest of revenue. For example, DroneDeploy, a commercial drone cloud software platform, released Fieldscanner in April. The solution provides real-time drone mapping for farmers, “enabling real-time, offline mapping for immediate in-field analysis.”

The most recent report appears to jibe with earlier research. In January, Zion Research released a similar report covering areas such as fixed and rotary drones as well as data management, imaging software and data analysis. Zion’s report pegs the precision agriculture drone market at US$2.9 billion by 2021 – up 28 percent from a 2015 valuation of US$673 million.

“Drones help farmers take better care of their crops and have a higher yield from the farm,” the report states. “Increasing automation in the agriculture process — owing to the labor crisis such as a lack of skilled farmers and aging farmers — is also expected to have a positive impact on the agriculture drone market growth.”

“Increasing automation in the agriculture process — owing to the labor crisis such as a lack of skilled farmers and aging farmers — is also expected to have a positive impact on the agriculture drone market growth.”


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Air NZ looking at new afforestation fund

Air New Zealand has announced it will work with the Ministry for the Environment and the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) to explore the establishment of a private afforestation scheme, providing funding to landowners to plant trees in return for the carbon benefits this will create.

Building on the success of MPI’s existing Afforestation Grant Scheme, Air New Zealand is working with Government to scope a complementary private afforestation fund, with the airline to engage landowners to plant up to 15,000 hectares of new native and exotic trees.

If the fund goes ahead, Air New Zealand intends to offset some of the emissions from its domestic operations with credits generated by the new forestry. It hopes planting will commence in winter 2018.

MPI Director-General Martyn Dunne says the Ministry is well-placed to be involved with this initiative. “MPI has significant expertise and experience in forestry and forestry-related investment. We’re proud to be working with Air New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment to scope this important initiative, which could have far-reaching environmental and economic benefits,” says Mr Dunne.

Source: Scoop

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AFS re-branded as Responsible Wood

Australian Forestry Standard Ltd has changed its name to Responsible Wood. The change, announced in Hobart on 21 November, reflects the company’s commitment to implementing a clear consumer- focused strategy about the sustainability of certified Australian wood products.

“Our new name, Responsible Wood, and shield logo, reflect the transformational change we are embarking on as we begin to proactively raise awareness and understanding of our certification scheme and drive demand for Australian certified wood and wood products,” Dr Hans Drielsma, chair of Responsible Wood, said.

“While we remain committed to our core function as a standards development organisation and scheme owner, our new name and logo better demonstrate what we stand for,” Dr Drielsma said. “They clearly communicate our vision which is to ensure Australia’s forests, and the products sourced from them, are recognised as being among the most sustainable in the world.”

Over the past 18 months, AFS Ltd has undertaken an extensive consultation program with its members, certificate holders and the broader timber and paper sectors as well as retailers, specifiers, sustainability practitioners and consumers. The purpose was to better understand the status of the sector, consumer attitudes and the strategic direction it should take to build on the success of its 15 years of operation.

The name and brand change are the result of this consultation and underpin a focused strategy to raise awareness and understanding of Responsible Wood certification. As part of the change, Responsible Wood has introduced a new website and communications tools, which can be accessed by visiting

Since 2002, AFS Ltd has pioneered the development of certification standards for wood and wood products sourced from sustainably-managed forests in Australia. This dedication to sustainable forests and forest products continues with Responsible Wood. Responsible Wood manages the Responsible Wood Certification Scheme, which is underpinned by two Australian standards – Sustainable Forest Management (AS 4708) and Chain of Custody for Forest Products (AS 4707).

Photo: Launching the Responsible Wood brand in Hobart are CEO Simon Dorries and chair Dr Hans Drielsma, flanked by new Responsible Wood directors Katie Fowden and Mark Thomson.

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Changing email contacts for Friday Offcuts

We covered this change and action required a few weeks ago. As a final reminder, if you’re a kiwi and are using email services from Vodafone in New Zealand, they’ve have made a decision to discontinue these services from 30th November 2017. For more information and to answer any of your questions on the change-over, click here.

What you may not be aware of is that many other providers ultimately use the Vodafone system. These include:,,,,,,, and

If you manage your own email services directly, many of you affected by this change may need to move to providers such as Google and Microsoft. For absolute certainty and to ensure you don't lose your current Friday Offcuts or WoodWeek subscriptions, you may well have to look at changing the email address through which you are currently receiving either of these two newsletters.

As the change-over is coming soon … 30 November … NEXT WEEK – and you are still using an email address linked to the Vodafone service, the easiest way will be for you to continue to receive this newsletter is to unsubscribe to the current newsletter (just beneath the editorial) and then re-subscribe with your new email address. Good luck with the change-over.

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Buy and Sell

  • Expressions of Interest

  • Forest/Land Sale

  • ... and one to end the week on ... a modern dating nightmare

    And on that note, put away your phones and tablets and enjoy your weekend. 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:

    This week's extended issue, along with back issues, can be viewed at

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