Friday Offcuts – 23 March 2018

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From Australia this week we’ve included results from recent research that adds to the “wood is good” message. We’ve all been promoting this point … it's natural, renewable, a sustainable resource, a product that removes and stores carbon…. What you probably weren’t aware of though is that wood in the office environment actually boost’s your workers' productivity. The term attached to this phenomenon is biophilia – the principle that exposure to nature increases human wellbeing. Wood as we know is a particularly useful tool for bringing nature into the workplace. Results from this new research, based on surveying 1000 in-door Australian workers, is detailed in the story below. This is of course adds to the other attributes that we’ve been pushing for years and it's more good news for the producers and distributors of decorative timbers.

Working alongside design and construction professionals, Hyne Timber have just announced that they’re made the job of planning, designing and constructing buildings that much easier for those wanting to specify and work with glue laminated timber products. The company has produced the first Building Information Modelling content for GLT. It’s now going to enable the necessary timber expertise to be integrated very early on in the design stage of building projects.

We’ve also covered a couple of recent studies on the impact of new technologies on our businesses this week. The first is from Accenture. It demonstrates just how technologies such as blockchain and artificial intelligence (key technologies being discussed for log and wood measurement, tracking and wood transportation in the upcoming WoodFlow 2018 series in June) are being used to create increasingly innovative new products and services. The more tech savvy businesses are now booming as a consequence of the change they’re making to their own business models. The second piece is research from Microsoft – and the figures are telling. By 2021, they’re suggesting that digital transformation could add US$7 billion to New Zealand’s GDP and within the next four years, they’re expecting to see approximately 55% of the market’s GDP being derived from digital products and services. For more information on this report, click here

Finally, in case you missed it, 21 March (this Wednesday) has been celebrated worldwide as International Forests Day. The Day was designed to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. The theme this year was Forests and Sustainable Cities. Check out the video below.

Note: Being Easter Friday next week, next week’s issue will come out instead on Thursday so if sending us articles or looking to place an advert, these need to be through to us before 4pm on Wednesday. Enjoy this week’s read.

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The business case for wood in the office

Employers looking to boost worker productivity should consider using more of one of the world’s oldest and most sustainable materials in their office fit-outs: wood. That’s the takeout from world-first research by strategic market research firm Pollinate and the University of Canberra.

Based on a survey of 1000 indoor Australian workers, the research provides fresh evidence to underpin the business case for biophilia – the principle that exposure to nature increases human wellbeing.

The study paints a bleak picture of workers’ current access to nature at work with less than half (47%) enjoying access to natural light, only two in five (38%) being able to see indoor plants, a quarter (26%) unable to see any natural looking wooden surfaces and almost half (46%) spending less than an hour outdoors on work days.

The study found that the more natural looking wooden surfaces workers could see from their workstation, the higher their workplace satisfaction and wellbeing. Ahead of an address to the Green Cities conference in Melbourne, Associate Professor Jacki Schirmer from the University of Canberra said the results held true even after rigorous analysis that controlled for factors known to impact on the wellbeing of workers such as age, income, gender and workplace culture.

“These results are exciting, for the first time providing solid evidence to support the use of wood as part of bringing nature into workplaces,” she said. “We are always looking for ways to improve health and wellbeing, and this research points to ways we can achieve that in the places many people spend a lot of their time – the workplace.

“The work has implications for businesses, because a large body of research has shown that workers who are more satisfied with their work and have higher wellbeing have better work productivity, and reduced rates of absenteeism – which means improving worker wellbeing has real benefits for businesses.”

Over 80 per cent of workers (82%) exposed to eight or more wooden surfaces in their workplace reported being ‘satisfied or very satisfied’ with work, compared to over two thirds (69%) exposed to five to seven wooden surfaces and half (53%) with no wooden surfaces.

Employees working in offices with natural wooden surfaces on average also reported higher personal productivity, mood, concentration, clarity, confidence and optimism. The effect on wellbeing was greatest when wood was used in combination with other natural elements such as plants, water features and natural light.

Associate Professor Schirmer said: “We know it’s good for us to spend time outdoors interacting with nature, but with people spending so much time indoors, there’s increasing recognition of the potential benefits of bringing nature into the workplace and the home.

“The academic world is becoming increasingly switched on to biophilia as an area warranting real research and attention, and some engineering degrees are starting to include it as a subject. Importantly, wood is a particularly useful tool for bringing nature into the workplace in situations where it is not feasible to retro-fit other changes, such as increased natural light.”

Photo: Novartis Australia Headquarters Macquarie Park, New South Wales, Architects HDR/Rice Daubney

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Wood transportation expertise added to Woodflow 2018

As part of the upcoming two-yearly tech update for forestry, wood harvesting and transport companies around Australasia, the very latest international and local developments around vehicle fleet operations, planning and safety as they apply to the wood transport businesses are being unveiled. Included in the line-up for WoodFlow 2018 are;

Alexander Mastrovito, Head of Sustainable Transport Solutions, Scania - Asia & Oceania, Hong Kong. Alexander is the project leader for Scania’s autonomous vehicle development in Singapore and the head of sustainable transport solutions for Scania in Asia and Oceania. He’s responsible for promoting and implementing future solutions; electric and alternatively fueled vehicles, connected transports and self-driving trucks and buses. He heads up Scania’s regional work in Asia paving the way for electromobility, autonomous vehicles, ITS and mobility as a service. Prior to joining Scania Alexander was based in Beijing spending 11 years in the Greater China region working in the automotive industry.

Max Blatt, Head of Business Development, LOTS Group, Sweden. As Head of Business Development for LOTS Group, a Scania company, Max has had 17 years’ experience in managing the implementation of strategic and operational improvement initiatives within forest products and other heavy manufacturing sectors across North America, Europe and Asia.

A former Director at Pöyry Management Consulting and Head of Western Operations for Perforex, Max has worked with over 100 companies in 25 different countries. Max’s focus with LOTS Group is in providing transport solutions that combine technology and methods to positively impact costs, safety and sustainability.

Fernando Paredes, Transport Manager, Forestal Mininco, Chile. Fernando manages the transport area for the company CMPC, one of Chile’s largest forestry companies. Over the last 10 years, Fernando has managed the supply chain, loading and transportation of timber to the industrial centres of CMPC and other processing operations.

Fernando will be outlining an array of initiatives that have been employed by the company to improve efficiencies and safety, including utilizing technology available with on-board cameras being installed across their trucking fleet.

Andrew Rushworth, Managing Director, Zero Emission Vehicles, NZ. Andrew has an extensive background in new technology development, commercialization, manufacturing and sales of electric heavy vehicles worldwide. His company, one of just a few in this region, is designing and manufacturing EHV’s.

Full details of the WoodFlow 2018 series can be found on the event website, The conference programme, including two workshops around transport planning the day before each conference, run in Melbourne, Australia on 20-21 June then again in Rotorua, New Zealand on 26-27 June.

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Building Information Modelling for Australian GLT

Hyne Timber is the first Glue Laminated Timber (GLT) manufacturer in Australia to provide Building Information Modelling (BIM) content for GLT in accordance with recently developed AS/NZS BIM standards. Revit® software users can now access the Hyne Timber 'GLT Families' for designs incorporating Australian graded, independently certified GLT products for their timber projects while ensuring product specifications are accurate and reliable.

Responsible Wood chain of custody certification is also included to provide surety that our timber products are responsibly and sustainably sourced from within Australia from certified, sustainably managed plantation forests.

Rob Mansell, Hyne Timber's GLT Business Development Manager said this is a significant milestone for the design and construction industry as engineered timber is increasingly specified for its structural, visual and environmental benefits. "Technology is transforming the way buildings are designed and BIM provides insight and tools to more efficiently plan, design, construct and manage buildings.

"As momentum grows towards the mandatory adoption of BIM, ensuring our product range provides BIM content is timely." Mr Mansell said. Providing BIM content for GLT is an innovation deliverable as part of Hyne Timber's Market Led Proposal to design and build a new Queensland Fire and Emergency Services Complex (QFES Complex) in Maryborough, from locally grown and engineered timber. While the proposal continues to progress through 'Stage 2', the company's BIM content is available to download now and is already being used by the QFES Complex design team.

The proposal's Principal Architect, Kim Baber, said Hyne Timber's announcement will not only benefit the QFES Complex design team but is an example of the benefits realised from early contractor involvement.

"For commercial projects, it isn't simply a case of placing an order of GLT products. We need timber experts on the design team from the start. Working closely from the concept stage means we now have BIM content for the GLT components, something that didn’t previously exist. All product details, from dimensions, mass and volume, down to the colour and texture of GLT can be brought into the 3D model in a single integrated BIM element. This means we can exchange quantitative information with our consultant team, particularly the structural engineer, as well as clients, all from the same model."

"Commercial projects require service and innovative solutions and that is exactly what Hyne Timber have provided, enabling improved accuracy when sharing technical building information and saving considerable time." Mr Baber concluded.

Proponent partners and leading construction company, Hutchinson Builders have also welcomed Hyne Timber's announcement with Design Manager, Luke Churchin, stating that GLT BIM content provides value beyond efficiencies during the design and construction stages.

"As a building company, it is important for us to provide the client with as much detail as possible in relation to the life-cycle of the building. The benefits of BIM include the capacity to store data and detail relating to the project such as certification, chain of custody, inventory, warranties, energy consumption, equipment information and periodic maintenance procedures."

"This can simply be passed on to the end user for their facility management and ongoing building operation." Mr Churchin said. Hyne Timber's GLT BIM library consists of Beam 17, Beam 18, Beam 21 and LGL, available in beam and column families. GLT BIM content also provides reassurance to the end user that the timber materials are compliant, certified, and sustainably sourced from within Australia.

Australian GLT BIM Content – Available to download here

Photo: John Hesse and Robert Mansell from Hyne Timber with Toby Hodsdon from Bligh Tanner at the UQ Centre for Future Timber Structures

Source & Photo: Hyne Timber

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Advancing technology fuelling intelligent enterprises

Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and other technologies are accelerating the creation of intelligent enterprises and enabling companies to integrate themselves into people’s lives, according to Accenture Technology Vision 2018, the annual technology report from Accenture (NYSE: ACN), that predicts key technology trends likely to disrupt business over the next three years.

This year’s report, “Intelligent Enterprise Unleashed: Redefine Your Company Based on the Company You Keep,” highlights how rapid advancements in technologies — including artificial intelligence (AI), advanced analytics and the cloud — are enabling companies to not just create innovative products and services, but change the way people work and live. This, in turn, is changing companies’ relationships with their customers and business partners.

As part of the Technology Vision, Accenture surveyed more than 6,300 business and IT executives worldwide. More than four in five respondents (84 per cent) agree that through technology, companies are weaving themselves seamlessly into the fabric of how people live today. In fact, 4 out of 5 executives surveyed (81 per cent) agree that within the next two years, AI will work next to humans in their organisations, as a co-worker, collaborator and trusted advisor.

“Technology is now firmly embedded throughout our everyday lives and is reshaping large parts of society,” said Mary-Anne McCarthy, Accenture New Zealand Technology Lead. “Leveraging the rapid advancements in technology such as blockchain and artificial intelligence to create increasingly innovative products and services, businesses are driving unprecedented changes in the way people live and work.”

The report notes that this latest technological transformation is unique in that for the first time the change is a two-way street; people aren’t just using companies’ products and services, but feeding information and access back to them.

Savvy organisations understand that these new societal expectations can be transformed into an enterprise strength. They’re using their increased interactions to build partnerships with customers, employees, government and the public. And this extends beyond the consumer or retail arena.

Air New Zealand, for instance, is looking at blockchain technology to connect its suppliers and sellers in the travel industry, through a single marketplace. Resulting in improved customer experience, streamlining of products and reduced costs for customers and the airline.

The Technology Vision identifies five technology trends that companies must address if they are to build the partnerships needed to succeed in today’s digital economy. Read More >>.

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Amendments proposed to forestry rights screening

Investments in sensitive land involving forestry rights will be brought into the scope of New Zealand’s Overseas Investment Act under changes proposed on Tuesday by Associate Finance Minister David Parker.

The changes would also introduce a light-handed “checklist” screening regime, which will make it easier for overseas investors to gain approval to buy forestry rights than if they were subject to the current screening regime. Overseas buyers of existing freehold and leasehold forestry land, who already face screening, would also be able to use the light-handed checklist.

“The changes need to be made before the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) comes into force, or we will lose the chance to screen such sales forever,” Mr Parker says. “It will then be possible for future governments to tighten or further loosen the criteria applied to forestry investment, if required.

“Any forest can in effect be purchased as a forestry registration right. This means that a screening regime that covers only freehold and leasehold is ineffective. Forestry rights can grant a high degree of control over large parcels of land for multiple rotations over long periods of time, so it is important they are included in the regime. There is no evidence that the change will have a substantial effect on commercial values,” Mr Parker says.

The forestry sector is reliant on overseas investment with 70 per cent of plantation trees in overseas ownership. Under the proposed changes investors buying up to 1000 hectares of forestry rights each year will not need consent but purchases above that level would be screened. This would apply to all forestry rights, including bare land planting.

Investors would likely pass a new screening test for freehold and leasehold bare land, given they can demonstrate benefit to New Zealand from converting land into forestry, providing jobs and advancing the Government’s “one billion trees” policy.

The amendments have been submitted to the Finance and Expenditure Select Committee. The Government will also be consulting further with M?ori. More information, including the draft regulations, can be found here

Source: Scoop

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Australian super-union formed

On 6 March, the Fair Work Commission (FWC) in Australia, the federal industrial tribunal, allowed three prominent trade unions to form a supposed “super-union.” Despite demands by major employers to block the merger, FWC deputy president Val Gostencnik said no provision in the Registered Organisations Act prevented it from going ahead.

The Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) and Textile, Clothing and Footwear Union of Australia (TCFUA) will form the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union (CFMMEU).

The amalgamated entity, to be officially launched on 27 March, will claim to have 144,000 members, estimated assets of AU$310 million and annual revenue of AU$146 million. Officials from the three unions issued statements to the media proclaiming that the new formation will be a massive boon for workers.

TCFUA secretary Michele O’Neil declared that “big businesses and governments should start preparing to pay better wages and increase job security,” because “ordinary workers now have a powerful new force for change on their side.”

However, the unions are attempting to counter dropping membership levels resulting from an exodus of disgusted workers. According to Australian Bureau of Statistics figures, just 10 percent of private sector workers are union members and 38 percent in the public sector, both record lows. According to Roy Morgan surveys, just 6.9 percent of workers under the age of 25 belong to a union. More >>.

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NZ’s forestry exports forecast to rise 11%

New Zealand's primary industry exports are forecast to rise nearly 11% in the year ending June 2018 to NZ$42.2 billion. This would be the largest annual increase since 2014, according to the Ministry for Primary Industries' (MPI's) latest quarterly update.

"Our Situation and outlook for primary industries report shows export revenue across all of the sectors has been incredibly strong over the past year, particularly for dairy, meat, and forestry," says Jarred Mair, MPI's policy and trade acting deputy director general.

"Forestry exports are also forecast to grow by more than 11% in 2018, supported by record harvest levels and ongoing demand for New Zealand logs from China." High returns and new policies are likely to create investment opportunities across the primary industries, says Mr Mair.

"For example, high horticulture returns are driving investments in productivity and competition for suitable land. The Government's One Billion Trees Programme is another catalyst for investment and changing land use, primarily through increased replanting rates and new production forest area."

MPI's Situation and outlook for primary industries report provides a snapshot and forecast for New Zealand's major primary sectors.

Download the full report

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Australia invests in biosecurity surveillance

Australia's forests will get more protection, through the Coalition Government's five-year strategy to stop exotic pests that could threaten our forests. Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, David Littleproud, announced AU$896,500 in seed funding for the National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy 2018–2023 this week, which coincided with the International Day of Forests.

"Top of our most wanted plant pest list is Xylella fastidiosa, but we also have Gypsy moth and pinewood wilt nematode in our crosshairs," Minister Littleproud said. "We are targeting exotic pests that have the potential to devastate natural and plantation forest ecosystems, putting at risk forests, wine and other horticulture industries and associated jobs.

"Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterial plant pathogen that can even wipe out entire orchards in the citrus, grape and other horticultural industries, impacting the livelihoods of growers. The Gypsy moth is a keen hitchhiker and has a high reproduction rate, which is why it poses a high risk to Australia's forests. The Pinewood wilt nematode is a tiny worm and is responsible for losses of more than 2 million cubic metres of wood per year in the USA. This is an operation that must succeed—jobs, industries and trade all rely on this—these exotic pests have the potential to cause significant environmental, economic and social harm”.

"The new strategy will see an even closer working relationship with Plant Health Australia and the forestry industry to keep exotic pests out of Australia." The program will be overseen by a National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Group, headed by a National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Coordinator, who will work out of Bunbury, Western Australia—liaising with industry, state governments and other forest industry stakeholders.

To view the National Forest Biosecurity Surveillance Strategy 2018–23, visit

Source: Government of Australia

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CEO of PF Olsen stepping down

After 19 years in the role, Peter Clark, CEO of PF Olsen (and President of the NZ Forest Owners Association) is resigning. The PF Olsen Group Board has established a “CEO replacement subcommittee” and appointed Caldwell Partners Auckland office to manage the process. He plans on leaving at the end of September this year. For more information on the announcement, click here.

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NZ Timber Design Award entries now open

Entries are now open for the prestigious 2018 NZ Wood-Resene Timber Design Awards, and Stage One entries will close at 5pm on Monday, 30 April 2018.

With a record number of entries received in 2017 and enquiries already coming in, NZ Wood’s Promotion Manager Debbie Fergie is anticipating another record-breaking event. “These awards showcase your company’s expertise and innovation,” she explains. “Entering will definitely help you stand out from your peers!”

These awards are the premier space for architects, engineers, builders, students and others to profile their recent projects using locally sourced timber and wood-based products.

This year, the category of “multi-storey timber building design” has been added to reflect the growing acceptance of wood as a viable and cost effective construction material, whose speed of construction can help meet accommodation and office space demand across New Zealand in a timely manner.

The “Wood and Fibre Creativity Award” is a revised category celebrating original and innovative uses of wood fibre where the material has been used in unusual or unexpected ways.

“Eligible entries will be from projects completed between 1 March 2016 and 28 February 2018, and naturally projects must have significant timber content,” says Debbie Fergie. “Our nine categories retain the ‘Innovation in Student Design’ category, where students from top New Zealand Universities who work with wood will again have the chance to compete in a prestigious competition. Last year’s winners were all offered internships, so it’s a wonderful opportunity for the next generation of innovators in wood.”

Judges this year will be Pamela Bell, Prefab NZ; David Carradine, Timber Design Society; Tim Melville, NZ Institute of Architects; and Andrea Stocchero, Sustainable Architect, Scion.

Winners will be announced at a gala awards dinner at the Grand Millenium Hotel in Auckland on 20 September. For a full list of entry criteria, and a timeline of entry submissions and judging announcements, email Debbie at or go to the website

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Softwood lumber trade reaches record-high

Global Lumber Trade

Trade of softwood lumber reached an all-time-high in 2017 as demand for wood was strong in most key markets around the world. An estimated 126 million m3 of softwood lumber was shipped from forest-rich countries such as Canada, Russia, Sweden and Finland to markets with high consumption of lumber, including China, the US, the United Kingdom, Japan and Germany. Since the global recession in 2008, international trade of lumber has gone up by as much as 50%. With the economy forecasted to stay healthy in the US and Europe in 2018, this might be another good year for lumber exporters.

Lumber markets – North America

US softwood lumber production in 2017 reached the highest level seen in ten years. The biggest increase came in the southern states, but other regions of the country also had healthy production gains year-over-year. The higher domestic production levels resulted in decreased demand for imported lumber as US lumber consumption was up by only one percent from 2016. The strong market for lumber in the US led to record high lumber prices in both the US and Canada in late 2017 and early 2018.

Lumber markets – China

Over the past two years, prices for imported softwood lumber to China have been steadily rising and in January 2018 reached their highest levels since March 2015. Lumber supply from Russia and North America has generally been the lowest cost lumber imported to China, while lumber from Chile, Sweden and Finland typically is at the higher end of the price spectrum. Russia and Canada continue to be the major suppliers, but their total market share has shrunk from 81% in 2015 to 76% in 2017, with particularly Nordic mills increasing their presence in this fast-growing market.

Lumber market – Japan

Although lumber imports to Japan fell in the 4Q/17, the total volume for the year was up slightly for the second consecutive year. The biggest changes in supply over the past few years have been reduced shipments from Canada and increased imports from Finland and Sweden. Compared to most other major markets of the world, domestic and import prices for lumber have been surprisingly stable.

Source: Wood Resources International LLC,

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Digital transformation to contribute US$7 billion to NZ

- IDC study commissioned by Microsoft predicts that approximately 55% of New Zealand’s GDP will be derived from digital products or services by 2021.

- By 2021, digital transformation is expected to add 0.7% CAGR GDP growth annually.

- Digital transformation has increased profit margin, revenue from new and existing products & services, productivity, as well as improved customer advocacy. These benefits will also improve by at least 40% in three years.

- Leaders in digital transformation reap double the benefits compared to Followers.

- Digital transformation in New Zealand will benefit citizens with increased access to better education, training and creation of higher value jobs.

By 2021, digital transformation will add an estimated US$7 billion to New Zealand’s GDP, and increase the growth rate by 0.7% annually, according to a new study released today by Microsoft in partnership with IDC Asia/Pacific.

The research, “Unlocking the Economic Impact of Digital Transformation in Asia Pacific”, predicts a dramatic acceleration in the pace of digital transformation across Asia Pacific’s economies.

The study found that in 2017 about 6% of New Zealand’s GDP was derived from digital products and services created directly using digital technologies, such as mobility, cloud, Internet of Things (IoT), and artificial intelligence (AI).

“New Zealand is clearly on the digital transformation fast track. Within the next four years, we expect to see approximately 55% of the market’s GDP to be derived from digital products and services,” said Russell Craig, National Technology Officer, Microsoft New Zealand.

“At the same time, organisations are increasingly deploying emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) as part of their digital transformation initiatives, and that will accelerate growth even further.”

The survey conducted with 1,560 business decision makers in mid and large-sized organisations across 15 economies, including 100 New Zealand respondents, highlights the rapid impact and widespread disruption that digital transformation is having on traditional business models. More >>.

Source: Scoop

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Plan to plant 100,000 ha of durable eucalypt trees

The NZ Dryland Forests Initiative (NZDFI) has just released a Consultation Paper as a first step towards developing a regionally based strategic plan for government and private sector collaboration to plant 100,000 hectares of durable eucalypt trees in NZ’s east coast regions as a part of the Government’s One Billion Trees programme.

The consultation paper: “Durable eucalypt forests: a multi-regional opportunity for investment in NZ drylands” outlines the case for durable eucalypts in east coast regions. The trees are considered an exciting alternative to traditional agriculture and radiata pine forestry.

NZDFI proposes these eucalypt forests and woodlots will be established in New Zealand’s east coast regions by 2030. These could generate an estimated NZ$2 billion in annual sales of naturally durable timber products by 2050. Regional development and employment could be generated through local processing to produce high value export products that are a sustainable alternative to unsustainably logged tropical hardwoods.

Shaf van Ballekom, chairman of the NZDFI as well as CEO of Proseed Ltd, Austrasia’s largest producer of tree seed says “Since 2008, over NZ$3 million has been invested into the NZDFI’s tree breeding and research to develop the foundation of our vision for NZ’s east coast regions to have 100,000 hectares of durable eucalypt forests. The time is right to go out to the regions and to consult with people”, says Shaf.

“We want to hear from those in central and regional government who are involved in land management and regional economic development, as well as those in the forestry and agriculture industries who might want to take up this opportunity. We want to work with them to develop a plan to get durable eucalypts planted, commencing in 2020 – just two planting seasons away.”

A key focus of NZDFI’s research and development to date has been to establish an extensive regional breeding trial network, and the development of novel techniques for rapid selection and propagation of high-performing genetic material. This will lead to the production of improved planting stock, with the first elite seedlings due for release in 2020. This work is being done by the NZDFI science team, including a large group of academics and researchers from University of Canterbury’s NZ School of Forestry (UC).

Professor Bruce Manley, who leads the research team at UC, says “the team here is now recognised internationally as leading the way in a whole raft of research associated with breeding, growing, and processing durable eucalypts. The DFI research project includes seven of our academic staff as well as eight PhD students. It is exciting to be involved with such a collaborative and innovative project.”

Feedback on the consultation paper is sought from all interested parties. The outcomes of the consultation will include establishing a working group which will become active in developing and then implementing the regional plan. Consultees include central and regional government, representatives of the forest growing and timber processing industries, and landowners and their representatives.

Anyone else who is interested and keen to become involved with the next phase of the NZDFI’s exciting, visionary project is encouraged to complete a questionnaire, either on-line or via an interview with NZDFI Programme Manager, Paul Millen via

Source: NZDFI

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Plant and animal breeding companies form alliance

Rotorua-based software services provider Gemnetics has announced a new alliance with the Dunedin-based agribusiness firm AbacusBio, in a move aimed at strengthening both companies’ service provision to the tree and plant plantation and animal breeding sectors.

Both companies recognise that there is a wealth of new data becoming available across many species with the advent of new technology. Plant and animal breeding companies internationally need to be able to make best use of these data to ensure maximum impact for growers and farmers. Combining the expertise and years of experience of both companies is an exciting step forward to ensure New Zealand remains at the cutting edge of practical breeding application and continues to grow commercial capability.

Both companies support key breeding programmes that underpin successful primary production –in Gemnetics case, to the forestry and crop plantation breeding sectors, and for AbacusBio the animal breeding and aquaculture sectors. Sue Carson, Managing Director of Gemnetics expects the alliance “to bring together our high levels of expertise and many years of experience in tree and animal breeding to deliver intelligent software aimed directly at lifting gains in crop productivity”.

Gemnetics was incorporated in 2005, and currently has a staff of eight. Gemnetics’ main product, Gemview, is aimed at accelerating the breeding of perennial crops. Gemview makes plant performance testing and selection more efficient and effective by ensuring data integrity and easy online information retrieval, as well as allowing the automation of analyses and, soon, the visualization of data.

Gemview currently supports breeding programs for four plantation species in three countries. Another product, Gemstock, supports the manufacture of stock required to carry out breeding.

AbacusBio was incorporated in 2006 and supports around 30 staff, including three based in Edinburgh and several post graduate students. Their specialist experts in genetics and data analysis work across genetic improvement programmes in the sheep, beef, dairy and farmed finfish industries, and are expanding core business activities to complement broader interests across insects (bees) and plants (forage improvement).

Photo: Neville Jopson and Peter Amer (both of AbacusBio Ltd) and Sue and Mike Carson (founders of Gemnetics Ltd).

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... a couple of quick ones

“I understand that the Irish Government in keeping with it’s EU membership is going to trial driving on the right side of the road. If after a month it has proved successful they will change the Trucks over as well”

And a PC one for the blokes. “ Tommy came home from school and told his father that he had won a place in the School Play playing a man who had been married for 45 years. Never mind responded his father, perhaps you will get a speaking part next year”

And an extra sent in by a reader - video footage of sawing some seriously large diameter trees.

And on that note, 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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