Friday Offcuts – 27 November 2020

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Global news to start with this week. After an administrative review, the US Dept of Commerce this week finally reduced softwood duties on most Canadian wood producers. It’s a significant reduction, from around 20 percent down to just under 9 percent. As anticipated, the Canadian’s describe the decision as a step in the right direction but are still irked that they’re paying any duties at all. And the US industry, it’s still continuing to push the case that Canadian softwood lumber is heavily subsidized and still being dumped onto the U.S. market. It’s a battle won by the Canadian timber industry but the war still continues with a second administrative review now already underway. Details and reaction from both sides of the border are covered below.

In the tech event space, and with an eye on next year, if your business is connected to carbon forestry, mark into your diary the 15 & 16 June 2021 for Carbon Forestry 2021 which will run in Rotorua, New Zealand. Changes to the country's Emissions Trading Scheme and carbon budget plans being delivered by the Climate Change Commission mean that opportunities for carbon trading and forestry continue to change. We’re also working closely with MPI and others to arrange pre-conference workshops and post-conference information sessions to make travel into Rotorua as efficient as possible.

For the many delegates from last week’s ForestTECH 2020 event, a link has just been sent out to all delegates to access recorded presentations on the very latest innovations and operational trials around mechanised planting, assessments of seedling survival, remote sensing and inventory management. Details post event have also just been uploaded onto the website.

For technology innovations this week, we’ve got stories from a 3rd generation timber treatment and wood modification company who’re now supplying the world’s first dedicated Cu- Nap wood treatment plant into the US as an alternative to CCA and creosote treatments. And in New Zealand, a local company is developing a solar-powered, unmanned aircraft (it has a wingspan though of 32m but weighs in at only 90kg) which they think will be a game changer for the aerial imaging industry.

And finally, in line with interest already being shown by industry in this region’s major wood harvesting and log transport event, HarvestTECH 2021 running in April next year, we’ve included another bit of engineering innovation around transporting logs from the forest using self-steering trailers. This time it comes out of Germany where shifting long logs in often mountainous terrain and along narrow roadways is a regular challenge for the industry in that part of the world. We’ve included a video in this week’s issue that shows just how this piece of kit works and operates. And that’s it for this week.



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Solar-power drone to rethink aerial imaging

A solar-powered, unmanned aircraft is being developed in Christchurch, New Zealand in the hope it will be a game changer for the aerial imaging industry.

Kea Aerospace is developing the Kea Atmos aircraft, which has a wingspan of 32m and weighs only 90kg. Covered in solar panels which power three electric motors, the aircraft will be able to fly for months on end.

Kea Aerospace chief executive Mark Rocket said the Kea Atmos would fly 20 times closer to the Earth than satellites, making images more affordable. It is hoped images collected by the aircraft can be used for precision agriculture, disaster management and environmental monitoring.

"Ultimately we would like to have our mission control here in Canterbury and have a whole fleet of these aircraft flying around the world constantly. "We think it could be used for so many things, obviously the first thing is going to be imagery first but eventually it could be used for things like communications and payload testing," Rocket said.

Rocket, who is initially funding the project, said he had already received a lot of interest from investors. Kea Aerospace is only the second company to take part in the government's Airspace Integration Trials Programme. The first was with Wisk a company testing a self-flying air-taxi in New Zealand.

Minister of Research, Science and Innovation Megan Woods said advanced aviation was growing in New Zealand and it brought high-paid jobs. "There are huge opportunities for New Zealand in this wider space. We have seen the success of Rocket Lab and we all [have] pride in what Rocket Lab have achieved.

"There are more opportunities for us as a country and that's why the innovation partnerships at the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment are really pushing into this area," Woods said. Kea Aerospace is working on prototypes with the first full-scale Kea Atmos expected to be built in 2022.

Photo/ RNZ / Nate McKinnon: Dr. Philipp Sueltrop (Chief Technology Officer) Mark Rocket (CEO Kea Aerospace) Megan Woods, Lianne Dalziel

Source: rnz.co.nz

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BC reacts to lower duties at the U.S. border

A step in the right direction. That’s how Susan Yurkovich, the President of the BC Lumber Trade Council, describes Tuesday’s decision by the U.S. Department of Commerce to reduce the countervailing and antidumping rates on Canadian softwood lumber.

“It’s good news because we’re not paying 20.23 percent, we’re paying around 9 percent for the “all others” rate. Having said that the fact that we’re paying any duties is still incredibly frustrating and disappointing for us, because as we have proven time and time again with this dispute, the Canadian industry isn’t subsidized and there should be no duties on softwood lumber going into the United States.”

Yurkovich says their hope is that the U.S. industry will end this decades-long litigation and instead work with them on growing demand for the low-carbon wood products that the world wants…

Yurkovich says the announcement to reduce the duties was part of an administrative review process… “After 18 months there is the first review and then every year thereafter, so this is the result of administrative review number one, and the period will start whenever the rates are posted likely on Monday of next week.”

Yurkovich says they are already in review number two period and they expect to get initial rates, preliminary rates on administrative review number two in the early part of next year, probably around February or March. A final rate would then likely be announced in August.

She says these changes do make it difficult for companies to plan and creates volatility in the markets, which she says isn’t good for producers or consumers on either side of the border.

More >>

Further coverage and reaction can be found here

And from a US perspective; click here.

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CuNap timber treatment gaining traction

IWT-Moldrup, a 3rd generation company who design and supply processes and equipment for timber treatment, including industrial wood modification, are now supplying the worldwide first dedicated Cu-Nap plant as an environmentally friendly but effective future alternative to CCA and creosote.

Copper naphthenate (CuNap), has been used for many years in the United States and represents a well-tested and well-documented alternative to both CCA and creosote and an improvement over newer Copper Organics. IWT-Moldrup will supply the first dedicated CuNap plant worldwide for an American producer of wooden bridges in a few months (hansenbridge.com).

Stina Cecilie Moldrup, marketing manager, explains: “The timber to be treated is used for bridge construction where wood durability is of utmost importance for road safety as well as an excellent environmental profile is required since many bridges pass over water-ways. We expect to see a surge in use of Cu-Nap for heavy construction use such as bridges, foundations for housing, and pilings”.

”Cu-Nap is also a more cost-effective alternative to using modified timber like IWT-Moldrup's own unique sustainable resin treatment concept biobiowood. The Cu-Nap preservative is to be made available from several preservative suppliers world-wide. The first exclusively designed plant in the US has been developed by IWT-Moldrup, in this case, in close cooperation with one of the markets chemical suppliers, Nisus Corporation, who is now the leading manufacturer of Cu-Nap in America”.

Mr.Moldrup, a more than 49 year veteran in the business, explains: "The treatment is a hot process contrary to cold processes using other copper-based products. Cu-Nap is not just a simple mixture of copper with naphthenate in an oil. It is a complex formula, and using simple acid-ingredients is not an option, if the durability is to be assured."

Source: IWT-Moldrup



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German innovation for transporting long logs

A marvel of German engineering is once again upon us - this time it's a truck that divides in half to better transport long logs.

"In Central Europe in particular, the transport of long and heavy logs on mountainous terrain, narrow forest paths and serpentines is a daily challenge for the transporter," says Ratioplus developer Doll Fahrzeugbau.

When it's headed to the jobsite and unloaded, the truck is compact. At the jobsite, the driver gets out and hops onboard the crane. He then unloads the truck's second-half, which is carried on the back. The driver then grabs a log, placing it on the second-half.

And then the genius part - he then drives the second-half via remote control away from him, creating the necessary space to transport the log. The rest of the logs are then loaded the same way. Logs are then lashed together and the crane is folded back up.

Check out a video of the process below:



And for new innovations around log scaling, wood measurement and transport and mechanised harvesting, registrations are flowing in for the major wood harvesting event, HarvestTECH 2021 running in Rotorua, New Zealand on 13-14 April 2021. The venue – inside and out – as it did in 2019 is booked out with exhibitions and the programme is full. Check it out on the website and look to save a space before Christmas.

Source: woodworkingnetwork.com



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National Environmental Standards update

National Environmental Standard for Plantation Forestry Update: Plantation foresters in New Zealand will need permission or consent for activities in any new areas covered by the updated Fish Spawning Indicator.

The National Environmental Standards for Plantation Forestry (NES-PF) use the Fish Spawning Indicator (FSI) to determine where and when fish that are sensitive to disturbance are spawning. The information in the FSI clearly sets out when a forestry activity that potentially impacts on fish spawning is permitted, and when it will need a consent.

The FSI will be updated on 24 November 2020 through a notice in the New Zealand Gazette and will come into force on 22 December 2020. This planned update will incorporate new fish presence data, which will improve the accuracy and increase the area covered by the FSI.

Effects of FSI update

Where an additional stretch of river or stream is identified as having protected fish present and spawning, a forester wishing to carry out an activity has the following options:

• alter the planned activity (e.g. constructing a river crossing), to avoid disturbing the bed of the river or stream;
• time the activity to avoid the spawning season;
• have a suitably competent person undertake a survey to determine if fish are present in the area of intended forestry activity; or
• apply for a resource consent.

Timing of update to FSI

The FSI on the MPI website will be changed to reflect the update. The update will be available from 24 November 2020, and will come into legal force on 22 December 2020. This will give users of the NES-PF and FSI time to update their processes and practices before the update comes into force.

Next steps – what do you need to do?

Forestry activities that potentially have an impact on fish spawning times must use the updated FSI to comply with the NES-PF. From 22 December, foresters will need to apply the updated FSI to their activities. Foresters will need to ensure their activities comply with permitted activity conditions or seek resource consent if they cannot meet the conditions for a permitted activity.

Source: MPI



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New timber engineering online course offered

Presented by timber engineering experts Jon Shanks and Geoff Boughton, the six modules offer engineers the opportunity to increase their knowledge so they can design and specify timber products with confidence. It is available exclusively through WoodSolutions Campus.

A glance through international and Australian architecture and design publications, both traditional and online, will show the growing use of wood and wood products, in decorative and structural roles. However, independent research has shown that lack of knowledge about designing with timber leads to a perceived increase of risk, so engineers tend to stay with materials they know.

WoodSolutions Campus Timber Engineering Course has been created to address this impediment by providing a comprehensive introduction to engineering with a wide range of timber products.

“With many universities not being able to spend as much time on timber in their engineering and design courses, this is the ideal way to supplement the knowledge of undergraduates and graduates alike,” said Eileen Newbury, Forest and Wood Products Australia Ltd’s (FWPA), National Marketing and Communications Manager and WoodSolutions National Program Manager. “WoodSolutions Campus now has a depth and breadth of online courses targeted at audiences ranging from the industry supply chain to design and build professionals.”

The new Timber Engineering Course has been created and presented by Jon Shanks and Geoff Boughton, both recognised professionals in their field of engineering. Originally this course was given as a series of six online webinars and have now been adapted as a self-paced online learning course.

The content begins with wood basics then progresses through engineering design to AS1720.1 and whole of building performance to various timber building systems. The course has been designed to equip engineers and design professionals with an understanding of the key considerations for timber engineering design and to identify topics they need to research further to continue to grow their skills in timber engineering.

“I urge industry members, especially those dealing with engineers and other design professionals to actively promote WoodSolutions Campus, said Ms Newbury, “It will not only help them grow their own businesses, but will promote the sector as a whole.”

To discover the full range of WoodSolutions Campus courses, please visit www.woodsolutions.com.au/campus

Source: FWPA

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Re-imagining the log and woodchip export supply chain

A recently completed research project funded by FWPA took an in-depth look at the various elements of Australia’s log and woodchip export supply chain to discover how it can most effectively be managed. The team behind the comprehensive study reviewed optimum conditions for storage, haulage and at ports. Their findings are now being used to identify solutions and innovations for an enhanced and more cost-effective timber export process.

Extensive industry consultation was undertaken with a steering committee comprising representatives from 12 partner organisations to determine the most important and relevant research activities. These activities were then progressed to the research and testing phase. Some of the early findings included;

Tag, track and trace

While tag, track and trace systems have been well-established in forestry between the Australian port gate and international customers, they are much less common between the forest and the port. A thorough technical review of tag, track and trace systems was undertaken. The tag needed to be placed on a harvester head, and three technologies were identified as suitable: ink-jet printing of matrix codes, and RFID and punch code tags.

What was apparent is that manufacturers have not yet developed these technologies for use on a harvester head, possibly because they have not yet witnessed a demand for it from players along the forest-to-customer supply chain. Forest owners, harvesters and log exporters should be communicating their needs to machinery suppliers and manufacturers, to prompt the development of at least one of these technologies.

Determining log moisture content

The moisture content of fresh timber can account for upwards of 50 per cent of the mass of a log. Transport of logs therefore involves moving unwanted water, driving up haulage costs which are calculated by weight. Storage of logs in-forest prior to transportation can reduce moisture content. Determining the moisture content is desirable when optimising the timing of transport.

Automated detection and diameter estimation of stacked logs

A preliminary study determined the accuracy of automated, computer-vision measurements for logs on trucks. These estimates were then compared with traditional, manual measurement methods. The technology was found to have the potential to detect and estimate diameters quickly and with relatively high accuracy, making it suitable for use in operational conditions.

Impacts of debarking and drying

During trials held in South East Queensland and South-West Western Australia, the impacts on pine log stacks of debarking and drying were observed. The research focused on how moisture content in pine log stacks, as well as sapstain incidence, were impacted by factors including debarking, storage location, season and time passed since harvest.

Trials found 30 to 100 per cent of Pinus logs were infested with sapstain two weeks after harvest (depending on the season), much quicker than expected. Hoop pine, on the other hand, was infested at much lower levels. A number of economic models were developed by the researchers, considering the complexity, and the many variable factors and different treatment combinations. The results indicated three models could be expected to yield improved net returns.

Log loading

As part of this project funded by FWPA, studies conducted on wood loading technologies provided useful information on the potential for improved efficiencies. The research showed average load rates for logs in containers were up to six times faster than those for bulk cargo logs.

Loading logs into containers before they are placed onto the ship is an additional step in the forest-to-customer supply chain and requires time, space and money. However, a web-based review indicated a wide range of systems are being successfully used for loading logs into containers globally. Five systems were included in the analyses, and results indicated productivity and unit costs can vary due to factors including length and species of the logs, and the nature of the onward transport system.

The industry partners included HVP Plantations, Forestry Corporation NSW, Forico, HQPlantations, Forestry SA, WA Plantation Resources, Bunbury Fibre, Midway, Green Triangle Forest Products, Sustainable Timber Tasmania, PF Olsen and ISO Marshalling.

You can find out more about the specific outcomes of this project by contacting Dr Mohammad-Reza Ghaffariyan at mghaffar@usc.edu.au

Source: FWPA R&D Works



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Western Australia celebrates local forestry winners

The Great Southern Timber Hub in Western Australia came together to celebrate the industry’s achievements on Saturday, 14 November. The Timber 2020 event was held at Albany’s Motel Le Grande, with guest speakers including Professor Syd Shea, Rick Wilson MP and Julia Levinson all providing a unique insight into WA’s forestry industry.

The event was originally set to coincide with World Forestry Day earlier in the year but had to be postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions, but the rescheduled version successfully marked the achievements of the forestry industry in the Great Southern region of WA.

Seven awards were announced on the night, recognising outstanding achievements of both individuals and companies involved in the local industry.

Outstanding Communicator (sponsored by Nutrien Ag Solutions):
James Kernaghan, Circle Advisory, Albany, WA

Outstanding Forest Grower (sponsored by Great Southern Development Commission):
Mike & Michele Rautenbach, private growers, South West, WA

Outstanding Harvesting Contractor (sponsored by Tyrepower):
Plantation Logging, Bunbury, WA

Outstanding Innovator (sponsored by Forest Products Commission):
Darryl Outhwaite, forester & founder, WA Biofuels

Outstanding Haulage Contractor (sponsored by Great Southern Fuels):
Bluewood Industries, Orana, WA

Outstanding Safety Management (sponsored by Onetrak):
Anthony Wise, Senior Forester, PF Olsen

Outstanding Silviculture Contractor (sponsored by AFGRI Equipment):
All Forestry Services, Bayonet Head, WA

Photo: Forest Products Commission Forest Assets Manager David Guille (left) presented the award for Outstanding Innovator to Darryl Outhwaite.

Source: Forest Industries Federation (WA)

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Aratu Forests appoint new CEO

The Board of Aratu Forests (Aratu) announced this week the appointment of Neil Woods as their new Chief Executive Officer, effective 11 January 2021. Neil succeeds Ian Brown, who retired at the end of October after leading the organisation with distinction for three years; and more recently Warren Rance as Acting CEO. The Board would like to pay special tribute to Warren’s leadership and energy throughout the transition period and in his continuing position as General Manager Operations.

Neil joins us from NZ Super Fund, the New Zealand sovereign wealth fund responsible for investing and managing retirement savings, where he has worked as Portfolio Manager (Rural and Timber) since 2009. In that role he has been responsible for the performance of NZ Superfund’s c. NZD2.3 billion exposure to forestry assets in NZ, Australia and South America.

He started his career in forestry as field crew in the Central North Island before going onto further study and graduating as a forester. Since that time, Neil has gone onto work in a wide range of roles throughout the plantation forestry sector. His professional experience includes managing the sale and operational transition of the Kaingaroa and Carter Holt Harvey plantation assets to a range of institutional investors.

As a result, he is very familiar with the operational, legal and financial structures that Aratu fits within and the investors environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance expectations. More recently, Neil acted as Chief Operating Officer at Timberlands Ltd, the manager of the Kaingaroa Forest Estate, to provide leadership to the executive team during the CEO transition at that company which highlights his capacity as a leader in a complex business environment.

Throughout his career, be it from establishing the technical forestry team at Kaingaroa Timberlands or managing a commercial relationship with Ngati Porou, Neil has demonstrated outstanding people and relationship management skills, operational understanding, cultural awareness, and curiosity that could not be more relevant or necessary to Aratu’s success in the years ahead.

Source: Matt Crapp, Chair – Aratu Forests Ltd

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Decade of the small forest grower - Minister Nash

New Zealand’s Minister of Forests, Stuart Nash when speaking at the annual Farm Forestry Awards last Tuesday, announced he had started his career in farm forestry and predicted this was the decade of the small forest grower. He rationalised that small-scale forest growers will play an important role in the increased wood supply, the diversification of species, and the development of a model for more sustainable land use. The minister also thought that the Farm Forestry Association, run by volunteers, had much to offer the trend toward sustainability and was perfectly aligned with the food and fibre sector’s vision “Fit for a better future”.

He would like to see a government focus on building up the forestry sector as it was good for New Zealand and its long-term marketing global brand. A platform for this was to rebuild the NZ Forest Service with a social ethic and provide regional services and support to landowners. He supported creating a greater government role in forestry, developing a true partnership where required, and working to a long-term view.

With a master’s degree in forestry science minister Nash spoke knowledgeably of the forest sector’s issues and opportunities. He thought some rural commentators had been a little disingenuous about what forestry can contribute with its multiple contributions to the economy, employment, environment, and community support. However, like most of the primary sector, it needed to tell its stories better, build a better brand, and improve on its ability to be sustainable. This was a key role for Farm Foresters because they have the farm case studies and experience that makes the story authentic.

Source: NZ Farm Forestry

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Electronic work diaries get green light

The rollout of approved Electronic Work Diaries in Australia will reduce red tape and improve safety for transport operators, ATA Chair David Smith said this week, after the NHVR launched the rollout of approved Electronic Work Diaries (EWD) for heavy vehicle drivers to manage their fatigue.

Step Global’s Smart eDriver and Teletrac Navman’s Sentinel systems have been listed by the NHVR as approved EWD solutions, following collaboration with the ATA and its members, technology providers, transport operators, and transport and police authorities.

“Today’s announcement is a big step forward for our industry. It will reduce paperwork for our drivers and the unbelievable amount of record keeping that companies need to do to stay compliant,” Mr Smith said. From December 1, transport operators will be able to voluntarily use the approved EWD systems as a regulatory alternative to a paper logbook, the National Driver Work Diary.

Step Global and Teletrac Navman are both members of the ATA’s Industry Technical Council. The ITC’s role is to enhance the trucking industry’s safety, professionalism and viability by providing technical input and best practice advice to the ATA.

Read More>>



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Log trains resume on Wairoa-Napier line

Log trains are running again on the Wairoa-Napier line from last weekend. Services were suspended earlier this year as a result of COVID-19's impact on the forestry industry.

KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle says "initially there will be two return trains each weekend. Each train is expected to consist of 24 wagons, the equivalent of 24 truckloads of logs. Over time, as log volumes increase, we expect to run trains daily”.

"There are significant numbers of forests in the Wairoa catchment that are reaching maturity. Harvest volumes in the Hawke's Bay region are predicted to reach 3.3 million tonnes per annum in the next few years and remain at high levels until the mid-2030s, so we know there is a demand for rail”.

"Rail infrastructure investment has multiple, long-term benefits, some of which are not immediately obvious. For example, moving more logs by rail instead of trucks reduces road maintenance costs and congestion and improves road safety - particularly on regional roads like those between Napier and Wairoa which were not designed for heavy trucks”.

"Given trains have 70 per cent fewer emissions than trucks per tonne of freight, it also helps reduce transport emissions." The line was rebuilt with NZ$6.2 million provided to the project through the Provincial Growth Fund.

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Remsoft enters Scandinavian partnership with ForestX

New alliance with ForestX gives Remsoft a foothold in the Scandinavian forestry sector and promotes the use of planning analytics to improve forest-operations management productivity in the region.

Remsoft, a forestry planning and optimization software company, has partnered with ForestX, a Sweden-based consultant and IT service provider in forest digitalization, to expand its presence to the Scandinavian region. The partnership brings together two industry-leading experts that have a deep understanding of forest management processes, and a focus on helping forestry companies modernize their supply chain.

At the forefront of forest management and digitalization, there is an opportunity for Scandinavian forestry companies to improve productivity with planning analytics and optimization that unlocks intelligence from all their available data for smarter decision-making.

Through the strategic alliance, ForestX will add Remsoft’s forest management planning and optimization analytics software to its portfolio, enabling customers in Sweden, Norway and Denmark to increase efficiency and improve margins from forest harvesting to mill operations.

Source: Remsoft

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... and one to end the week on ... men can fix anything

Can't afford a real GPS?
I can fix that!




No chilli-bin?
I can fix that!




Car imported from the wrong country?
I can fix that!




Electric stove broken & can't heat the coffee?
I can fix that!




Exhaust pipe dragging?
I can fix that!






Cables falling behind the desk?
I can fix that!


Come on, you have to admit that this is ingenious!!!





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: www.fridayoffcuts.com


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

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