Friday Offcuts – 15 May 2020

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In the world of rapidly changing industry meetings and events, we’ve been working closely with industry, presenters, key technology providers and sponsors on a couple of major events that had been scheduled for Australasian forestry and wood products companies. We covered in last week's issue the move to bring the Forest Safety and Technology 2020 series into a virtual event. It’s now running on 16-18 June 2020. We’re also bringing forward by one month the two-yearly technology event WoodTECH 2020. This is being run for dry-mill and wood manufacturing companies across this region. Details on six short 60-90 minute on-line interactive webinars running between 13-24 July are attached here and included in the story below. Further details along with early registrations can now also be made on the event website.

Plans are now also underway for planning around this year’s ForestTECH 2020 series. Since 2007, this annual technology event has been run for forestry resource managers, remote sensing, GIS and mapping specialists, inventory foresters, researchers and key technology suppliers. It’s well and truly established itself on the international forestry calendar. The intention at this stage is to run it this year in early-mid November as one of the first on-site conferences since COVID-19 halted industry events. Sessions this year on forest establishment and mechanised silviculture are being integrated into the planned series. Early details can be found on the ForestTECH 2020 website. This week (see story below) we've got the first call for Expressions of Interest to present at this year’s event so if interested, come back to us.

The industry on both sides of the Tasman received some relief over the last few days following some pretty lean times over recent months. In Australia, the Federal Government announced a bushfire funding package on Monday. It’s going to assist many that have been hit hard by the devastating bush fires over the summer period. As part of the package, AU$448.5 million has been set aside for regional economic recovery projects; AU$149.7 million to support wildlife recovery and habitat restoration; AU$27.1 million to strengthen telecommunications; AU$15 million for salvage timber operations; and AU$13.5 million to help with additional mental health support.

We’ve also included a story this week that provides an insight into the enormity of the task being faced at the moment by the industry and speed required for harvesting and processing the fire damaged wood from the bush fires. For FCNSW, the fires claimed around 4 million cubic metres of standing timber (aged 12 years or older). Production as a consequence has now ramped up to at least double the “normal” harvest levels to salvage wood before deterioration kicks in.

And in New Zealand yesterday afternoon, the Government released their Budget. Of course, it was aimed squarely at reviving the economy after the COVID-19 crisis. Amongst the record allocations made were NZ$500 million to support the primary sector, NZ$43.4 million for rebuilding the Forestry Emissions Trading Scheme, loans for boosting research and development, an increased spend for improving rail services and ports, a significant boost in spending for trades training and an eye watering NZ$5 billion has been set aside for building 8,000 new homes.

Maybe one that escaped notice yesterday afternoon which was part of Budget 2020 was new legislation introduced for a new log registration scheme and practice standards. The idea had been announced late last year as part of Forestry Minister Shane Jones’ push for ‘value over volume’. The industry had certainly been very vocal in its submissions and at meetings hastily set up around the country following the announcement. The legislation will require forestry advisers, log traders and exporters to register and work to nationally agreed practice standards. We’ve included information on the announcement in this week’s lead story. And on that note, enjoy this week’s read.

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New log registration system being introduced

A new log registration scheme and practice standards for the NZ forestry industry will bring us one step closer to achieving ‘value over volume’ in our forestry sector, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says. New legislation introduced as part of Budget 2020 will require forestry advisers, log traders and exporters to register and work to nationally agreed practice standards that will strengthen the integrity of New Zealand’s forestry supply chain.

The new legislation follows a smaller package of measures announced late last year as part of the Government’s ambition to see a thriving forestry sector that benefits New Zealand and New Zealanders first and foremost.

“The COVID-19 crisis showed us how an overreliance on log exports to a small number of markets makes our forestry industry less resilient and more susceptible to global forces,” Shane Jones says. “An enhanced domestic wood processing sector will play an important part of the recovery for our regional economies, helping create new export products, new jobs for Kiwis and a renewed sense of ownership of our forests.

“Industry consultation identified that improved professional standards, market assurance measures and better information resources were critical areas to enable a more integrated system. The quality of advice from forestry advisers and interactions with log traders is critical to the financial returns forest growers receive, and to the operation of the broader log market.

“The new regulatory system will provide some critical foundations to help the industry navigate what is anticipated to be a more volatile and uncertain trading environment during the COVID-19 recovery period.

“Having a more transparent market will better connect owners of land and owners of trees, and particularly for first-time entrants to the market to timber processors and marketers of forest resources to domestic and overseas customers. New Zealand’s log supply market is in transition, with smaller owners playing an increasingly important role in the annual harvest. Knowing that only registered professionals can provide forestry advice is expected to give growers greater confidence in the recommendations they receive on the management and valuation of their investment, and the financial returns achieved through the sales and purchase process,” Shane Jones says.

Forestry advisers will need to demonstrate they have the relevant skills, experience, and qualifications to advise growers, and undertake training and professional development in their specialist areas. Log trading entities will need to pass a fit and proper person test, operate in accordance with industry standards, and meet record keeping and reporting requirements.

The Bill also allows for an arbitration and compliance system to support accountability. “This will help support a continuous, predictable and long-term supply of timber for domestic processing and export and result in greater confidence in business transactions, both in New Zealand and internationally,” Shane Jones says.

“These changes are critical for the country’s reputation as a reliable, high quality producer and exporter of wood products, and for the improved economic, employment and environmental outcomes for the industry and community regionally and nationally,” Shane Jones says.

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Timber industry’s race against the clock

Thirty thousand hectares of Forestry Corporation land burnt. Thirty-nine crews currently harvesting timber (up from 23 before the fires). Twelve to 18 months before the fire damage makes the logs unusable.

The numbers surrounding Forestry Corp after the 2020 bushfire season are slightly grim, but Regional Manager Dean Anderson insisted he’s optimistic; “fairly,” he clarified. The fires last summer claimed about 4 million cubic metres of standing timber (aged 12 years or older) in Forestry Corp’s softwood plantations. Mr Anderson said they’ve been ramping up production to try to salvage as many ‘black logs’ as possible before they deteriorate.

“We would normally harvest between 1.3 to 1.8 million tonnes per annum,” he said. “Next month we’ll be operating close to 4 million tonnes per annum, pro rata.” Four months after the fires, they’re now just 13% of the way through the burned timber.

To try to extend the life of some of the logs, Forestry Corp is searching for a facility where they’ll be able to store logs under water sprayers, keeping them damp and still usable. Mr Anderson said they want that facility operational by the end of the month.

Keeping the black logs damp prevents them from deteriorating as quickly. “We’ve been looking at a number of sites, but unfortunately some of those have fallen through,” he said. “We’re further investigating one more.” The storage facility would need to accommodate 125,000 tonnes of logs – a three-month supply for a mill like AKD Tumut.

Mr Anderson said they will recycle as much water through the facility water as possible, with about 1 megalitre per day of additional water needed. “To get the right spot has proven a lot more difficult than we’ve imagined,” he said, facing complications like adequate water and road access, with room to store trucks and recover logs and pump water, when water is “always a scarce resource.”

While crews rush to harvest the logs, Covid-19 has brought a raft of new considerations, from housing new workers coming to dealing with a slump in the construction industry related to the virus’ economic impacts. “They’re self-isolating in houses,” said Mr Anderson, describing crews which have been brought in from Tasmania and migrant labourers who have joined the harvest.

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Source & Photo: Tumut and Adelong Times

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Wood Manufacturing - NEW on-line interactive webinars

COVID-19 has changed everyone’s business plans and operations, almost overnight. World-wide, industry events, trade shows and exhibitions planned for 2019 have all been casualties of the virus. Social distancing, tightening of travel and border controls and restrictions on meetings have meant that the WoodTECH 2020 conferences and exhibitions, originally scheduled for mid-late August 2020 in New Zealand and Australia had to be cancelled.

However, working with presenters, technology providers and sponsor's, we've instead, been able to set up an exciting new format for dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations. What's more, it’s going to run one month ahead of that originally scheduled.

Short 60-90-minute interactive webinars are going to be run between 13-24 July 2020. Like the original event, the new webinar series will be showcasing local and international leaders as well as some of the early adopters of new and emerging technologies best suited to local wood manufacturing operations.

“Speaking to industry, the overwhelming feedback that we’ve had is not to roll back another year but to pick out a selection of presentations planned in August and offer them up to a much wider cross section of dry-mill and wood manufacturing operations across the region – and further afield” says FIEA Director, Brent Apthorp.

There are a number of key advantages to wood manufacturers still struggling to get back to pre-COVID19 conditions using this new format. Being short sessions, they’ll ensure only a short time for production or operational staff from their work station or business, multiple employees from the same site or operation will be able to be involved and there are significant reductions in attendance costs as there will be no travel, accommodation or two-day conference registration rates involved.

“The other big advantage when speaking to the industry is that timing has been set up so they’re going to be run at 9am (Australian EST), 11am (NZ Standard Time) and 4pm (Pacific Standard Time). This for the first time, will enable Australian, New Zealand and North American wood manufacturing operations to be involved – from their own site, office or home - at the same time – and, during their normal working day” says Brent Apthorp.

So, what will the new wood manufacturing series cover?

See the attached programme for full details. The series will be highlighting a raft of disruptive technologies already boosting the operational performance of manufacturing operations. It will include insights into the first large scale operational deployment of robotics being used in mills in New Zealand and Australia along with an inspirational case study of a mill that’s been able to turn their timber manufacturing business on its head by focussing in on the culture of the business. We’ve also built in an invaluable troubleshooting session for all timber planing and machining operations.

The programme has just been completed and added to the event website. Check it out on Early registrations can now also be made on the event website. Further details will follow.

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Campaign to thanks those on the COVID-19 frontline

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) is paying tribute to frontline food and health workers who have heroically cared for all Australian’s during the CoVid-19 pandemic, with the launch of a new digital campaign.

The Chief Executive of AFPA Ross Hampton said, “These frontline workers are truly heroes. Whilst many of us have been quarantining, they’ve been going to work every day to make sure we have food on our tables and health care when we need it. We are proud that the men and women who work in forest industries right around Australia, have also kept turning up through this time.

From the forests and plantations, through to the manufacturing plants in regional centres, they have been ensuring that the essential products which have underpinned vital parts of the economy have still been there.” Forest industries have worked hard to ensure everyday items such as paper towels, toilet tissue, food packaging in supermarkets and the carboard boxes and wooden pallets used to store and transport fresh food have been available. They’ve done this while staying safe and following the rules on social distancing and keeping their workplace sanitised”.

The new video produced as part of the digital campaign shows the many uses paper and wood products are put to in homes, shops and hospitals. It explains that production has not slowed down since the pandemic started. It will be distributed nationally using social media and online channels.

“As the country starts on the long road to recovery, Australians should know what’s been going on behind the scenes over the past few weeks to meet their needs. It also reminds them that this is an Australian industry working to provide essential needs from the ‘Ultimate Renewable™’, in a safe and sustainable way,” Mr Hampton concluded.

Source: AFPA

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ForestTECH 2020 – Early Expressions of Interest

This is the first call for expressions of interest to present at this year’s November series of ForestTECH 2020.

ForestTECH – what is it?

Forestry resource managers, remote sensing, GIS and mapping specialists, inventory foresters, researchers and key technology suppliers attend ForestTECH each year. The annual forest technology series has been running since 2007. It typically comprises a two-day conference, practical workshops and trade exhibitions. It runs in both New Zealand and Australia and has firmly established itself on the international forestry calendar. As well as Australian and New Zealand companies, forestry companies and technology providers from the USA, Canada, Europe, SE Asia, South Africa and South America are regularly involved with the technology updates.

Changed format for 2020:

As a consequence of COVID-19, restrictions on international travel, border controls and social distancing requirements, industry events across the globe for at least the first half of 2020 have had to be either cancelled or postponed. Technology events run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association in Australia, New Zealand and Canada have, as a consequence, been run either as webinars or virtual events since March 2020. At this stage, the plan is to run the ForestTECH 2020 series in early-mid November as originally planned. It’s anticipated that travel between Australia and New Zealand will be permitted by November 2020. At this stage, it’s too early to gauge if presenters or delegates from outside Australasia will be able to attend the 2020 event in person. If this is the case, arrangements will be made for remote presentations along with live interactive presenter panel discussions and Q&A sessions. Likewise, live virtual presentations may also be set up for delegates outside of Australasia to participate.

So, what’s planned for 2020:

Remote sensing, data capture and inventory management:

ForestTECH 2020 will again be providing insights into new data collection technologies that have been developed and are being used operationally out in the forest along with advances that have been made on processing and better interpreting the big data streams now routinely being collected out in the field. Updates on disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, the IOT, machine and deep learning, robotics, automation, daily satellite imagery, UAV’s and the use of virtual and augmented reality and how they’re being integrated into day to day operations of forestry companies will also be covered. This though will be streamlined into one of the two days being planned for the two-day programme in both countries.

Forest establishment, mechanised planting and silviculture:

In addition, one day of the ForestTECH 2020 programme is this year being set aside to showcase a raft of new technologies that have or are being developed to improve efficiencies around forest establishment and silviculture. An increasing number of presentations given at recent ForestTECH events have covered research and trials being undertaken on planting with drones, survival counts of tree seedlings using satellite imagery, drones and deep learning. There’s also a resurgence of interest being shown by forestry companies in mechanised or automated operations for planting and silviculture to address the growing issues of labour shortages for forest operations.

Interested in Presenting?

If interested in presenting at the ForestTECH 2020 series this year, please register your early interest by emailing by Friday 29 May 2020.

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AU$15 million bushfire transport support welcomed

The Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) has welcomed the inclusion of AU$15 million in freight support for burnt timber, as part of the National Bushfire Industry Recovery Package announced on Monday, but urges more is needed to help the industry recover.

In announcing the industry assistance, the Assistant Minister responsible for Forestry Senator Jonathon Duniam said that it will help ensure the industry can source the timber it needs for operations and to support jobs.

The Chief Executive of the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Ross Hampton has welcomed the initial measure and applauded Senator Duniam for his efforts in supporting Australia’s renewable forest product industries as they continue recovery from catastrophic bushfires.

“The bushfires have had a devastating impact on all sectors of our industry; from forest growers to harvest contractors to hardwood and softwood timber and paper products processing and manufacturing. In many areas forest and fibre industries are the major economic driver and many thousands of regional workers rely on them thriving for their long-term future” Mr Hampton said.

Source: AFPA

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New global head of Timberland Investments for HNRG

Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG), a Manulife Investment Management company, has announced Tom Sarno as Global Head of Timberland Investments, effective immediately. Previously Mr. Sarno was Senior Managing Director, Head of Timberland and Farmland Property Management Operations at HNRG. He joined HNRG in 2004.

In his new role, Mr. Sarno will have oversight of HNRG’s timber business strategy – an integral part of Manulife Investment Management’s private markets platform. Mr. Sarno’s responsibilities include: Acquisitions and Dispositions, Resource Planning and Analysis, Client Account Management, Economic Research, and Property Management.

Mr. Sarno’s appointment reflects his extensive experience in timber investments and operations. He will continue in his role as a member of the HNRG Executive team and report to William Peressini, Chief Executive Officer, HNRG.

About Hancock Natural Resource Group

Hancock Natural Resource Group (HNRG) is part of Manulife Investment Management’s comprehensive Private Markets platform, which includes Private Equity and Credit, Infrastructure, Real Estate, Timber and Agriculture. HNRG’s timber division manages approximately 5.6 million acres of timberland across the United States and in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, and Chile. HNRG’s agricultural investment group oversees approximately 400,000 acres of prime farmland in major agricultural regions of the United States and in Canada and Australia.

Source: HNRG

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Pandemic puts brakes on B.C tree planting season

First, B.C.’s Interior forests were ravaged by beetles and forest fires, and now their recovery may be delayed by a virus. This year’s tree planting season in B.C. was expected to be the biggest planting effort ever, thanks to provincial and federal funding.

But tree planting companies were delayed in getting contracts signed this year as they waited for direction from public health officials on how to keep workers safe in remote work camps during the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though they now have those guidelines, and some planters have headed into the woods, this year’s season may not be as big or as profitable as silviculture companies had hoped.

At least one Interior First Nation has banned tree planting in its territory. Some companies may have trouble attracting new planters, and others may struggle with the added costs of meeting new health and safety guidelines in remote work camps.

Thanks to additional funding from provincial and federal governments, 2020 was supposed to break a record. There is joint provincial-federal funding this year for tree planting through the Low Carbon Economy Fund, which will be followed by funding through the Justin Trudeau government’s $3 billion commitment to plant two billion trees over the next 10 years.

More than 300 million seedlings were expected to be planted this year, with 240 million to 260 million in the Interior in April through June. “Many of those seedlings will be going into restoring terrible fire years that we had in 2017 and 18,” said John Betts, executive director of the Western Forestry Contractors’ Association.

A big season for tree planting would be timely, given that so many university students who might typically work at restaurants for the summer will likely be without a job. Although tree planting contractors prefer to use experienced workers, there is always a need for new planters. About a quarter of the workforce each year is made up of new recruits, Betts said.

An average tree planter can make $10,000 to $15,000 in a season, which runs from about April to June for the Interior. Pay is based on piecework. Veterans can make $300 to $400 per day. Newbies may make $150. Betts said some companies fear some of their tree planters will sit this season out and collect the Canadian Emergency Response Benefit (CERB).

Companies that do manage to recruit a full complement of planters will face a lot of added costs to comply with health regulations. Planters typically work in work camps and cram into mess tents for meals and into trucks to get to their work sites.

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PF Olsen CEO steps aside

Graeme Milne, Chairman at PF Olsen, this week advised that the Company’s Chief Executive Officer, Te Kapunga Dewes, has resigned to pursue other opportunities. Mr Dewes has made a significant contribution to the organisation over his time as CEO. The Company wishes Mr Dewes well for the future and expresses its thanks to him.

With Mr Dewes’ departure, we are pleased to announce the appointment of Ross Larcombe as Acting CEO. Mr Larcombe, whose previous role was Regional Manager of Central North Island Forest Management, begins as Acting CEO with immediate effect. Nick Bunting, Executive Director and former Regional Manager of the Gisborne Region, will also, at the request of the Board, be assuming increased operational duties during this transitionary period.

Ross is a stalwart within the company having committed 25 years to the business. Ross joined PF Olsen in 1995 after graduating from the University of Canterbury with a Bachelor of Forestry Science degree. He began this career in Blenheim as a forestry supervisor and assistant in the seed orchard. He then moved to Rotorua where he undertook a consulting role and gained valuable experience and knowledge from company founders and other talented PF Olsen staff. For the past 19 years Ross has managed the Central North Island forestry team and has been on the board as a director of the company for 9 years.

Ross comments that, “it is an honour to fulfil the role of Acting CEO and I see this as an exciting and positive time for the company and our clients. As the COVID-19 restrictions reduce, we look forward to an improved demand for wood with a refreshed workforce. Operations have recently restarted with harvesting increasing every week. The 2020 planting programme that will begin later this month will be one of the largest in the company’s history. It’s our ongoing commitment to provide operational excellence to our customers. We always invite feedback.”

Chairman of PF Olsen, Graeme Milne, said: “Mr Larcombe was the right candidate to take the role of Acting CEO. He understands the board’s expectations, knows the company well and we warmly welcome him into the position. I’d also like to thank the departing Te Kapunga Dewes for his contributions to PF Olsen and wish him well for the future.”

Source: PF Olsen
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Jack Kuru – the legend road builder

“Jack Kuru – the legend road builder”. These words are scribed on the wall of the Wairangi Whare as a reminder of Jacks time in Wairangi Forest road building in the early 2000s.

I remember vividly the day Jack’s D8 bulldozer was on the transporter heading to Wairangi forest to embark on a new road line harvesting and road construction contract. And when asked, Jack what are your longer-term goals, he replied, I would like two D8 bulldozers heading up to the forest. Jack loved his bulldozers.

Jack deemed travel a waste of time so they camped in shearers quarters during the week so they could step out of bed and straight into their machines and maximise hours pushing dirt or pulling wood, working tirelessly in challenging conditions to return home for the weekends. This incredible work ethos spanned over 50 years operating heavy machinery in Manawatu, Papua New Guinea, Palmerston North, Tauranga and all over the Gisborne East Coast region.

Jack and son Ricky formed the successful Kuru Contracting Ltd company in 1997. In 2012 Ricky and Leanne took over directorship with the idea it would take pressure off Jack and allow him to slow down. However, of course nothing could slow Jack and he tirelessly continued to work every day and then of course for a period tirelessly worked with other son Arana to start his harvesting company.

Jack’s experience and knowledge have been integral in the development of the unique roading construction techniques used on the East Coast of New Zealand. Whilst Jack loved his bulldozers, when faced with a new challenge of building roads on the steep Papa rock terrain he was the first on the east coast to implement a very large 70 tonne excavator. There was some criticism at time but soon afterwards all other forest road builders who were faced with similar challenges followed suit and stepped up to using larger excavators as their frontline earthmoving machines.

Jack has mentored, taught and educated hundreds of workers on the East Coast, some of whom have gone on to own and operate successful businesses of their own. Jack has been recognised in the east coast forestry community winning numerous Eastland Wood Council Awards for his Excellence.

Jack in many respects came from the school of hard knocks, work hard, play hard and big toys. I have had the pleasure of working with Jack and Kuru family for many years since 1999 and laughed over many stories. I recall the story of Ricky as a very young boy. Jack had purchased Ricky a motor cross bike. Jack obviously would not muck around starting him on something small and instead purchased an adult size race bike.

Jack welded an extension on the bike-stand so Ricky could stay upright at the start line on race day. Ricky unable to touch the ground was told when the flag drops to open the throttle wide and do not fall off. Well, you could say that Jacks mentoring, father figure pulled the throttle wide-open for the Kuru family and reason their subsequent businesses are so successful.

But above all else, Jack the legend road builder was a beautiful, lovely man and many of us in the forest industry loved him dearly. The wisdom Jack passed on is in my mind and his love is in my heart forever. Jack passed away earlier this week after a long illness. Rest in peace Jack.

Source: Dan Fraser, Eastland Wood Council

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SFM wins major forest management contract

Tasmanian-owned and operated company SFM is pleased to announce it has been appointed by New Forests to manage the timber plantation assets purchased from Norske Skog after a competitive tender process. Now to be called Lenah Estate Pty Limited, the Tasmanian plantations were bought by Australian based international forestry investor New Forests, on behalf of its Australia New Zealand Forest Fund 3 (ANZFF3), from Norske Skog in February this year.

“We are delighted to win this contract to manage such an extensive and quality resource that supports the Boyer mill, the Derwent Valley and wider Southern Tasmanian community and local farmers,” SFM Managing Director Andrew Morgan said. “SFM has a strong track record in plantation management, having multiple management contracts interstate, so to be successful in our home state is very gratifying,” Mr Morgan said.

The Lenah Estate land area under management by SFM is approximately 27,150 hectares across South Central Tasmania, predominantly the Derwent Valley. It includes 50 joint venture plantation projects with private landowners and Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT).18,000 hectares or 97.5% of the 18,500 plantable hectares is radiata pine softwood plantations. Around 350,000-400,000 tonnes will be harvested annually, with the majority going to the Norske Boyer mill.

Lenah Estate will replant 500-1000 hectares per year. SFM will open an office in New Norfolk employing a core team of 8 full-time employees, supported by the broader SFM business with more than 20 FTE employees and over 100 FTE sub-contracted truck drivers, plant operators and support services.

SFM currently manages two plantation projects for New Forests, consisting of both hardwood and softwood species across three States – WA, SA and Victoria. Lenah Estate will be a significant addition to the SFM portfolio, which includes harvesting, haulage and export of more than 500,000 tonnes of plantation timber per annum. Hydrowood, a world-first operation, salvaging Tasmanian specialty timbers standing underwater for decades, is a wholly owned subsidiary of SFM.

Photo: SFM Managing Director Andrew Morgan (left) with SFM Director, David Wise

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FWPA aiming for specifier audience

Only a few years ago podcasts were the choice of the internet nerds and webinars were few and far between. Today, thanks in part to the pandemic, webinars are an increasingly popular replacement for seminars and podcasts are gaining an ever-growing audience.

Through the WoodSolutions program, industry services company Forest and Wood Products Australia (FWPA) initiated Timber Talks podcasts as a channel to reach specifiers (the property developers, design and building professionals who specify building materials for a project) and increase the use of wood and wood products.

Each episode features an informal, but informative, chat with one or more expert practitioners in either timber design or use. To date, Timber Talks has had more than 17,000 downloads! Follow this link to see the range of Timber Talks podcasts – there are also links to Android and Apple subscription sites.

With architects, engineers and others in the building design industry joining the broader group of people working from home or ‘lockdown’, traditional face-to-face seminars and similar activities have become unworkable, so FWPA has used the WoodSolutions program to launch a new series of weekly webinars for building professionals.

“More than 1400 people attended our first four WoodSolutions webinars, which is a fantastic result,” said Eileen Newbury, WoodSolutions National Program Manager, “it’s a very cost-effective way of communicating with this usually hard-to-reach professional audience.”

Scheduled every Tuesday at 11am AEST, the WoodSolutions webinar topics are chosen to appeal to both specialist and broad audiences and, where possible, recordings and transcripts are posted on the WoodSolutions website. FWPA have also negotiated with professional associations to ensure that formal CPD points are available to people attending the live event.

Webinar topics are varied and targeted to different audiences. Webinars already held include: Costing mid-rise residential projects, Parametric Design, Acoustic Design of Mid-rise Timber Buildings, Building in BAL rated areas. New topics scheduled to the end of May include: Fast Tracking CLT Construction with a Latrobe University Case Study and Timbers Life Cycle Environmental Performance – Environmental Product Declarations.

“I’d also like to invite industry members to attend the webinars, they offer an invaluable insight into the thinking, questions and concerns of building material specifiers, the people who choose and use the products our industry creates,” Ms Newbury concluded.

Source: FWPA

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Tasmanian forestry plantings fund now open

Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) is leading a Program involving co-investment from PFT, primary producers and federal government grant funding (Smart Farming Grant) to develop landscape best practice forestry plantings in North West, Northern and Southern Tasmania. The co-investment currently includes cash contributions of AU$200,000 from PFT and AU$130,000 from the Smart Farming Grant to assist primary producers with up front establishment costs. Primary producers are invited to participate via an expression of interest process.

The Program is designed to establish several (3 to 5) demonstration farms, across three regions (NE, NW and South), with significant farm scale best practice integration of shelterbelts and woodlots into the agricultural landscape, to test and demonstrate multiple benefits of trees, including:

* economic benefits from wood resource at harvest;

* increased productive capacity on farm (through sheltering effects, reduced water loss, increased livestock fecundity, increased crop yields);

* environmental benefits from increased carbon capture, enhanced biodiversity, reduced water loss/soil erosion; and

* amenity benefits from trees into the landscape.

Expression of Interest close 5:00pm, 30th June 2020. If interested, further information can be found here

Source: Private Forests Tasmania

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on ... enforced lockdown

And one sent in by one of our readers this week.

And, one more. We brought to you a few weeks ago a clip of Andrew Cotter, a BBC Sports commentator, getting bored with his enforced lockdown, commentating on his two Labradors Olive and Mabel at feeding time. This time he narrates Phillip Island’s penguin parade to fill in the time and to make up for the lack of live events. Enjoy.

And on that note, enjoy your weekend. For the Kiwis, it's cause for celebration. It's the first weekend under Level 2 so travel and visiting friends and family are now allowed after weeks under an enforced lock down (with a few rules of course). So, stay safe. 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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