Friday Offcuts – 16 April 2021

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They came, they learnt, and certainly there was plenty of networking going on this week. It was again, one of the largest gatherings seen in New Zealand and long overdue with the industry moving into and out of lockdown for over a year now. Around 350 forestry managers, wood transport schedulers, logging contractors, forest owners, harvest planners and major equipment and technology suppliers into the logging and wood transport industries met up in Rotorua. The occasion – the two-yearly HarvestTECH event. And to capitalise on the industry being in Rotorua, the annual Forest Safety & Technology 2021 also ran on the first day and at the same venue. The wood harvesting and forest safety events organised by the Forest Industry Engineering Association wrapped up on Wednesday.

Two days of interactive activities showcasing new logging innovations, presentations from contractors and technology leaders as well as comprehensive exhibition areas (both inside and outside the venue) provided a unique opportunity for local harvesting operations to check out an array of new harvesting equipment suited to local conditions. They were able to meet up with industry leaders and innovators in this space, first hand. It wasn’t only the kiwis though. Although most international borders were still closed, delegates from Australia, Brazil, Chile, Germany, Finland, Estonia, China, Canada and the USA were also able to join local companies with the event being live streamed over the two days.

Further details and images from the event will be covered in next week’s issue. HarvestTECH 2021 focussed on advances being made in automated log measurement and scaling, wood tracking, wood transport and log loading innovations, the increasing use of robotics, tele- operation of equipment, the use of new sensors collecting operational and production data and powerful analytics packages that can make use of the collected data to improve logging operations. In keeping with this theme of improving wood harvesting efficiencies, in this week’s issue we’ve being able to build in a number of additional stories around wood harvesting for you.

Forest Growers Research have just posted an excellent 15- video series titled How to Market and Harvest your Woodlot for Profit aimed at helping woodlot owners (who incidentally own about one third of New Zealand’s plantation forest estate) with information on how to successfully achieve their woodlot harvesting goals. Komatsu has just announced that they’re planning a major push into forestry sales into both North America and this region, both in traditional harvesting operations and in mechanised tree planting equipment and we’ve included a piece on the importance hydraulic servicing of forestry machinery from one of the HarvestTECH 2021 exhibitors this week.

And finally, registrations are now pouring in for the industry’s Carbon Forestry 2021 Conference which will run in New Zealand in mid-June. Early-bird rates still apply, but we recommend you register before this event sells out. The pace of discussion on carbon forestry options and best practice is growing and will only accelerate following the first feedback round by the Climate Change Commission as they refine their planned advice to Government for action. Make sure your team is registered for the event before time runs out. That’s it for this week. Enjoy this week’s read.

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Buy Aussie Timber First campaign a huge success

Australia’s structural timber supply chain industry has applauded the success of the Buy Aussie Timber First (BATF) campaign, launched to promote Australian timber sales during uncertain times, following the destructive 2019/20 summer bushfires and the onset of the global COVID-19 pandemic. Industry will now look to refocus the campaign.

The 9-month BATF campaign helped deliver a message of support about the importance of protecting timber processing jobs in regional Australian manufacturing, bringing together all the major Australian softwood producers who worked together to develop and execute the campaign under the Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) banner.

Run between mid-2020 until early 2021, BATF achieved high levels of engagement and exposure, with the major elements including:

• 500,000 impressions achieved via the July online campaign.

• 300 + supporters on the BATF online wall mosaic.

• Sponsorship partnership with Carpentry Australia.

• Broad editorial (print & digital) & social media support.

• Multiple Electronic Direct Mailers sent to channel customers.

• PR campaign rolled out for Australia Day with thankyou message reaching approximately 1 million readers and listeners in mainstream media.

AFPA Chief Executive Officer, Ross Hampton said that almost 12 months on, market dynamics have shifted with schemes like HomeBuilder driving a new house-led economic recovery in Australia.

“Last year industry needed to push the ‘buy local’ focus amid uncertain market conditions with the onset of the COVID pandemic. This successful campaign can now shift its focus. The following it has built can now be leveraged into a refreshed generic campaign about timber framing as the preferred and best structural solution for Australian dwellings for the coming generations, with the message, Timber Framing The Ultimate Renewable,” Mr Hampton said.

The continuation of the Timber Framing Campaign will take on a new focus of telling the carbon storage story of timber, specifically targeting key users like the next generation of carpenters and the top builders who are large consumers of timber framing.

Source: AFPA

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Bushfire detection - within one minute of ignition

Imagine a system that could detect any bushfire in Australia within minutes of ignition so firefighters could tackle the blaze before it spreads. Recently, an important development on the road to this future: a Queensland-based company, Fireball, announced the first purpose-built satellite for fire detection in Australia.

Scheduled for launch a year from now, the satellite is the first of a planned constellation of 24 that will monitor Australia from low Earth orbit. Once the full system, including ground-based cameras and aerial drones, is up and running, Fireball says it will be able to spot any fires within one minute of ignition.

That may sound like a bold claim, but it's consistent with the goals of other organisations working on similar technology. Within five years, experts say, we could have a national system of automated bushfire surveillance. And we'll need it, too. With climate change, the continent is drying out and the summers growing longer and hotter, and bushfires are predicted to become more frequent and intense. According to Marta Yebra, director of the Australian National University (ANU) Bushfire Initiative, advancements in satellites, drones and AI will drive big changes in firefighting. "I strongly believe this will radically change the way we fight fires in Australia," she said.

At the same time, the challenges to making it happen are daunting. A national system to detect fires in one minute one would produce vast amounts of data and require unprecedented cooperation between the patchwork of authorities and organisations. The system would amount to automated surveillance of millions of square kilometres, accurate down to a few square metres and working non-stop all year.

More >>

Source: ABC

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Foresters celebrate scooping primary industry awards

The Forest Owners Association says taking out three of the four category prizes in New Zealand’s Primary Industries’ Good Employer Awards this week is a sign the forest sector has come of age as a leading primary sector industry.

FOA Vice President, Grant Dodson, says many people still think the land-based industries are only about food production. “But we have companies and individuals in our forest industry who are equally proud of the work they do. It’s great to see three of them have been recognised through these Ministry for Primary Industry Good Employee Awards.”

“They are representative of many other individuals and companies who are working to high professional standards in our industry. On top of forestry’s key role in absorbing greenhouse gases, the government also expects an increase in our forest products overseas earnings of $2.6 billion within ten years.”

“That’s a growth volume in our primary sector that only horticulture is going to equal. We need good companies and people to achieve this, and doing so well in these awards, against the best in the whole primary sector, shows we can do it.”

The three award winners were; for health and safety, the South Island based forest company Port Blakely, the Māori Agribusiness Award went to Rewi Haulage, which is a Māori owned and operated log trucking company based in Rangitukia north of Gisborne, and the Supreme Winner was Rayonier Matariki Forests which is headquartered in Auckland.

The Supreme Award recognises employers who provide great employment conditions, demonstrate a commitment to diversity, have a highly effective employee development programme and excellent health and safety record.

Managing Director of Rayonier Matariki Forests, Brendan Slui says he’s thrilled to receive such a prestigious accolade for the company’s good employer practices. “We have worked hard to be a successful company and provide a workplace where our people are valued, respected, and contributing at all levels. The calibre and passion of our people are what makes us a great company and one which people want to be a part of.”

Chubb Rewi, (Tūhoe) Director of Rewi Haulage says the award, though a surprise, is a recognition of the way the company runs its business. “The way we do things is orientated to our wider whanau and to help build stronger local communities and businesses which we need. It’s less about individuals.”

Port Blakely’s Health, Safety and Environment Manager, Zac Robinson, says their award is an acknowledgement of the company’s commitment to workplace health and safety and in particular to the people who work in it. “Our excellence comes directly from the passion and commitment of our people, whether they be employees or contractors. Our contractors have embraced all we have been trying to achieve and this is vital. Our health and safety culture is the result of hard work over at least the past decade. And it applies not just to physical safety, but to overall well-being of our people.”

Source: FOA

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Komatsu to grow forestry machine sales

Japanese equipment maker Komatsu hopes to generate 140 billion yen ($1.27 billion) in revenue from forest machinery after four years, which would mark a 40% increase, due to robust housing and material demand.

Komatsu intends to fulfil its goal by offering a stronger lineup of equipment such as feller bunchers and forwarders for the North American market. The U.S. has the fourth largest distribution of forests in the world, in terms of area.

Up to now, Komatsu's forestry equipment has been compatible with the European logging process in which timber is carefully arranged on the spot before being hauled out. For North America, the company will also offer equipment that will carry timber as is to processing centres.

Komatsu will develop the Russian and Southeast Asian markets as well. Indonesia and Russia still rely heavily on chainsaws wielded by human hands. While Western logging industries have a 70-80% penetration of forestry machinery, Asia remains behind at roughly 20%. Komatsu's equipment will compensate for the labour shortages and improve on-site productivity.

In the interest of climate change, the manufacturer will also invest resources into promoting reforestation, selling bulldozer-like equipment for prepping the ground, along with automated tree planters.

Demand for housing construction material and pulp remains strong, with paper in particular gaining attention as a substitute for plastic. The global market for forestry equipment is growing by 2% to 3% a year on average. This sector outpaces that for the construction machinery market, which rises at a roughly 1% clip.

Komatsu hopes to nurture forestry equipment into its third-largest money-maker, behind machinery for civil engineering and mining. By the fiscal year ending March 2025, it looks to capture a 20% global share in forestry equipment.


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WorkSafe's reminder about truck safety

In line with the focus this week on log transport as part of the just completed HarvestTECH 2021 event, below is a new trucking induction video developed by New Zealand’s WorkSafe. The trucking induction video gives an overview of things to consider when route planning, cab safety, on-site traffic management and loading and unloading. Whether you are a trucking operator; or a business that buys transport; or have trucks coming on to your site - you will have an important role in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of those who work in the trucking industry. Watch the video and use the accompanying questions as a useful toolbox tool to start conversations and do things differently.

Source: WorkSafe

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A digital forest? The future is coming!

What if technologies could be installed permanently within forest environments? And what if this enabled our forests to function like 'smart cities', where equipment is continuously used to support optimal management of the surroundings?

The latest episode of the WoodChat series of podcasts considers exactly that! Listeners will hear how advanced technologies are currently being used in Tasmania to monitor the nests of at-risk wedge-tailed eagles, in what could be the first step towards developing a ‘fully networked’ forest.

The results of this work will be used to improve the industry’s understanding of the effectiveness of current protocols that guide forest management practices for the protection of this species. The data collected will help determine whether new or adapted approaches could better protect the animals and minimise the impact on forestry operations.

A ‘networked’ or ‘digital’ forest will collect and broadcast this sort of data in an ongoing capacity and in real-time data, before beaming it to forest managers who can then use it to inform better decision making. During the episode hosts Sam and Georgia speak to Dr Dean Williams, Manager, Forest Management Services, Sustainable Timber Tasmania.

Dr Williams describes a fully networked forest as one in which multiple points are used to collect information about various conditions, from wildlife to environmental, weather, vehicles, and fuel moisture levels. During the episode, he discusses his current work with wedge-tailed eagles, and the possibilities a networked forest could hold for the future.

“It’s all about being better informed about what’s going on in the forest,” explained Dr Williams. “Whether your objectives are conservation, wood production, or a combination of both, using technology to gather quality information to make the best decisions you can offers advantages for all.”

You can listen to WoodChat on Soundcloud, iTunes and Spotify.

Source: FWPA

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Talking Timber Launched – join the conversation

Australia’s native forests are a public resource, owned by the community, who expect them to be managed competently by individual state governments for all their triple bottom line values: economic, social and environmental. Unfortunately, reality is that this seems not the case. Rather, forests continue to be treated as political footballs with bad politics, not good policy, driving decisions.

In Victoria, a highly contentious and perverse outcome of Government policy has been the plan to lock down Victoria’s public forests by 2030, without a conversation about alternative timber supply strategies for our growing population, the impact on regional communities, or the real environmental outcome of this decision.

In an attempt to bring some broad, informed discussion on this topic a new social media initiative was launched recently ‘Talking Timber’. Chris McEvoy, a Director of Radial Timber in Victoria, and spokesperson for the initiative, said that “Talking Timber is a non-government initiative that has been created to foster and promote meaningful discussion about the Victorian Timber Industry.

The Vision is to have a Victorian timber Industry that preserves its ancient forests, expands its plantation forests responsibly, and respectively manages its native regrowth forests to ensure Victoria supplies all the timber it needs for Victorian consumers.

Talking Timber has been created to have a meaningful discussion and plan, that ensures a sustainable future for both our production timber supply and our native forests. We can absolutely maintain our biodiversity, increase the size of our regrowth forests and still enjoy all of the social, sustainable, and aesthetic benefits that timber gives us in domestic and commercial design and construction.”

For people interested in joining the conversation on this important topic go to

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Woodlot harvesting videos now on-line

A third of New Zealand’s plantation forest estate is in the hands of woodlot owners. Harvesting can be a stressful time for some woodlot owners with little knowledge and experience of this phase of the woodlot management cycle. The 15-video series, “How to market and harvest your woodlot for profit”, attempts to provide woodlot owners with sufficient information to help them successfully achieve their woodlot harvesting goals.

The videos on the Forest Growers Research site cover such topics as; how to determine what’s in your woodlot, how to go about selling what you’ve got, safety requirements, how to best manage the environment, harvesting and transportation systems suitable for woodlots, and things you can do to maximise your profitability. The series concludes with two case studies of woodlot harvesting, and a description of a new tool to determine expected net revenues and their sensitivity to key woodlot variables.

To access the videos, click here.

Source: FOA E-News, FGR

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New CE for Eastland Wood Council

Philip Hope is the new chief executive of New Zealand’s Eastland Wood Council and he comes into the role with a background in advocacy and sustainable development, two of his passions. Mr Hope replaces outgoing CEO Kim Holland and started work on Monday 8th March.

"I am really pleased to be given the opportunity to join the Eastland Wood Council (EWC), because it brings together two things that I am passionate about; advocacy (health) and the sustainable development of our whenua in Tairawhiti." Mr Hope's career has been about organisational development and advocacy, in leadership roles for respected causes, including Lung Foundation New Zealand and Patient Voice Aotearoa.

He has had more than two decades of farming experience inland from Matawai on Koranga Station, where he was raised. That pastoral experience extends to management and governance of agriculture, horticulture and forestry; Pourau Station (Tokomaru Bay) and Pohue-Waipiro A31 Trust (Te Puia Springs).

"While my involvement with forestry has been informed and supported by an advisor and manager, I acknowledge the forestry sector provides a wide range of important economic and social benefits to the district," Mr Hope said.

"I too appreciate forestry has an integral part in the carbon cycle and it can help drive sustainable growth. Ultimately, we are all in the people business and the better we connect with people the better the outcome," he said. "As CEO for the Eastland Wood Council, I am fortunate to be able to learn from the knowledge and expertise of members and stakeholders.

"These learnings will help inform the councils key role in policy development, advocacy and public relations."

Source: FOA E-news

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Real deal for hydraulic servicing of forestry machinery

Anyone who knows machinery understands the value of proper hydraulic servicing – especially now. It is a fast moving and demanding field of expertise, currently evolving ever faster and in terms of machinery sophistication that might astound its founding fathers, starting with the child prodigy, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal.

Pascal (for whom KPA is named) gave us in his short life (1623–62) the law that states that a change of pressure in an incompressible fluid is transmitted equally throughout the fluid. He used it to invent the syringe and a handful of early predecessors of hydraulic presses.

He was joined down through the by centuries by the Yorkshire inventor and locksmith Joseph Bramah (1748-1814) whose lock-manufacturing shop was a cradle of the British machine-tool industry fervour and focus for hydraulic press production during the early years of the industrial revolution.

Fast forward to the future and in recent times the performance, sophistication and operating pressures of hydraulic equipment have increased significantly, as have their service needs to maintain precision, safety, efficiency and time on the job. It is a never-ending upwards trajectory of new capabilities and precision servicing needs.

This is particularly true in the case of mobile hydraulic equipment, which can range up from the most basic forklift to the most sophisticated dragline, with every truck, earthmover, harvester, bulldozer, log loader, mulcher, forwarder, skidder, and on or off-road working vehicle which is critically dependent of hydraulics.

As a result, modern hydraulic equipment is not only more expensive to fix when it breaks down unexpectedly, but proactive maintenance is imperative to maximise service life and minimise operating costs. “For safety, efficiency, uptime and maximum machinery life, it has never been more important than now to have experienced people working on your valuable equipment, says Robin Simpson, Chief Executive Officer at Hydraulink Fluid Connectors Ltd.

“You have to have deep knowledge and great experience in this area to be able to see issues coming before they arrive. There are huge issues of safety, compliance, machinery knowledge, site knowledge, traceability and accountability involved in big machines.

For more details on a recent Hydraulink survey of more than 400 service points throughout New Zealand, Australia, South Asia and Eastern USA to see what they and their customers most valued in their relationship, click here.

Source: Hydraulink

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IT skills mismatch must be addressed

New Zealand will not become a hi-tech knowledge economy unless businesses urgently address a mismatch in IT skills between graduates and job vacancies.

The warning from Accenture comes after the release of the Digital Skills Aotearoa report which found the economy is ‘seriously restricted’ by a digital skills mismatch.

The report found that despite New Zealand producing almost 6,000 new IT graduates each year, most of the new roles in IT have required senior-level experience and were filled by international talent. Ben Morgan, Accenture New Zealand Managing Director says New Zealand’s business community must bear some responsibility for the skills mismatch and make changes to attract graduates, retain and upskill staff.

“The global pandemic has changed how businesses operate. As they digitise more of their operations and offer greater flexibility for employees to work from home, demand for skilled IT professionals will undoubtedly increase.

“However, with borders closed businesses cannot rely on immigration to plug the skills gap. They will need to invest in upskilling the existing workforce to fill those roles and provide good career path opportunities for graduates. New Zealand has a pipeline of thousands of eager and ambitious IT graduates looking to make their mark on the industry. It would be nonsensical to not properly develop specialist IT skills locally.”

“The onus is on business to provide more internships and graduate training to equip the next generation of Kiwi IT specialists with the practical experience they will need. A failure to do so risks New Zealand not having the depth of skills and experiences required for the IT challenges the country will face.”

The report also found that IT professionals have a very high rate of turnover, with almost one in five (19%) changing roles each year. Morgan says that such a high rate of employee churn has a harmful effect on businesses and shows that many in the sector cannot see a path forward for their career.

“Every industry should expect some staff turnover, but this high rate shows this is a particularly acute problem for New Zealand’s IT industry.” Mr Morgan said that education and upskilling should be an important part of company culture.

“IT firms need to make a conscious effort to upskill all members of their workforce to build institutional skills and knowledge. Project teams should involve a mix of skills and experiences so that more junior staff can receive on-the-job mentorship from senior team members.”

“For New Zealand to take its place in the world as a thriving hub of hi-tech innovation and entrepreneurship, businesses need to step up and support the next generation of talented Kiwi IT professionals entering the sector,” says Morgan.

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NZIF Foundation 2021 Awards & Scholarships open

Applications are invited for the awards and scholarships offered by the NZIF Foundation for 2021. The total value of awards offered is NZ$34,700.

The awards open for application are:

• Two Future Forest Scholarship for post graduate research each of up to NZ$10,000
• The New Zealand Redwood Company Scholarship of NZ$5,000 for an undergraduate scholarship at the University of Canterbury School Forestry
• One or more Otago Southland Awards up to a combined total of NZ$5,200 to assist a project or projects of relevance to forestry in the Otago/Southland region
• Mary Sutherland Scholarship of NZ$1,000 for a polytechnic student • University Undergraduate Scholarship of NZ$1,000
• Frank Hutchinson Postgraduate scholarship of NZ$1,000
• Student poster prizes at NZIF Conference (1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes of NZ$800, NZ$500 and NZ$200)

Applications are now open. Further details and an application form are available on the Foundation web page.

Applications must be received by the Foundation administrator ( no later than 5pm on Monday 31st May 2021. The awards will be announced at the Awards Dinner of the joint conference of the NZ Institute of Forestry being held in Masterton from 27th to 29th June 2021.

Enquires to the Foundation ( or phone +64 274 733 262.

About the NZIF Foundation

The NZIF Foundation was established in 2011 by the NZ Institute of Forestry to advance education in relation to forestry.

This includes encouraging and supporting forestry related research, education and training through the provision of grants, scholarships and prizes; promoting the acquisition, development and dissemination of forestry related knowledge and information and other activities that do not conflict with the charitable purpose.

For the purposes of these awards, forestry is broadly defined to include all those activities involved in the management and use of forests and their products, the objects of which are the production of wood or other forest benefits and the maintenance of the environment in its most beneficial form. All forests in New Zealand, whatever their purpose, are encompassed in the definition.

Source: NZIF

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Pellet demand likely to grow by 30-40%

The forecasted growth in wood pellet production in Europe will increase competition for wood fibre and require new feedstock sources

Europe’s pellet industry is the largest in the world and is expected to continue to grow strongly, at least until 2025. The key factors driving this increase include:

- EU has ambitious and rising targets for renewable energy supply,
- Biomass will play an important role in meeting those targets,
- Pellets offer several advantages over other forms of biomass in many applications.

Pellet demand is likely to grow by 30-40% over the next five years, and depending on how imports develop, European production might need to increase by up to ten million tons. Europe represents about 75% of global pellet demand and is more diverse in its pellet usage than are other regions. In Europe pellets are used for residential heating (40%), power plants (36%), commercial heating (14%), and combined heat and power plants (10%).

Demand is strong in both the industrial and residential sectors and is likely to continue even beyond 2025. According to a just-released study, European Wood Pellets – Where will the raw-material come from? the rise in wood pellet consumption will put significant pressure on raw material markets in Europe and require new sources such as forest residues, recovered wood, and energy crops. Raw material prices and availability vary widely by geography but increased competition for wood fibre, including sawmill by-products, will impact pulp and wood panel industries throughout Europe.

The most crucial feedstock for the wood pellet sector is currently sawmill residues (85% of the mix), roundwood (13%), and recovered wood (2%). This mix is likely to change in the coming years with the forecasted expansion of the wood pellet industry.

Although wood residues will remain an important feedstock, especially in northern and western Europe, they will not be sufficient to meet the future fibre demand from the growing wood pellet sector. New fibre sources are needed, and the greatest potential for increased supply is forest residues and energy crops.

Wood Resources International,

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Buy and Sell

... and one to end the week on .... watch while you wait

This is a video from a small country restaurant in France, which keeps its customers entertained while they are waiting for the main course. The French restaurant “Le Petit Chef” (Little Chef) came up with an original way to entertain guests while waiting for their order by using an overhead projector on the ceiling. The animation is on the table and your plate. There is a small chef who appears on your plate. Watch what he does in the attached video, truly amazing, bon?

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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