Friday Offcuts 10 February 2023
In new technology this week, we cover progress from the Swedish start-up company, Plantma Forestry, who spoke at last year’s ForestTECH 2022 series. In Sweden, the mechanised planter has been working with one of the country’s largest forest owners and has achieved their target of getting one million seedlings into the ground for the first year. The planting machine has recently been put through its paces with both eucalyptus and pine in Brazil and the first machine is being shipped to New Zealand and is expected to be planting from April this year.
And a kiwi logger working with DC Equipment, frustrated with current methods of managing slash and debris on their skid sites has designed a slash grapple that fits easily around two of the most common sizes of Ensign grapple. The idea of fitting an attachment to an existing grapple is a simple piece of engineering that’s working well out in the forest. It saves a significant amount of time, it’s easily maintained, it’s quick to take on and off and environmentally, an issue increasingly being targeted by forest owners and contractors, it’s clearing slash away from skids and landings. For those with a focus on improving environmental performance out in the forest, plans are well underway with industry to run the Environmental Forestry 2023 event. It runs in Rotorua, New Zealand on 20-21 June 2023. Mark the dates into your diary. Further details will follow.
And for market information this week, Forest 360 provides another informative monthly update on the current state of the NZ log market. Supplies have been impacted by a shortage of contractors in some regions and more recently, during the floods, the derailment of a fully laden log train blocked the main rail route between Kaingaroa Forest and Tauranga Port. The service usually moves around 30,000m3 logs per week through to the port so early estimates are that around 100,000m3 logs will have been taken out of the usual supply. FEA reports on China’s softwood log inventories showing NZ and South American Radiata pine log inventory volumes at the country’s main ocean ports rose 32% from a month earlier. Details from both reports can be found in the two articles below. And that’s it for this week.
This week we have for you:
Wahine in Forestry – gathering momentumThe question of how to address the gender inequality that exists in our forest sector is not a new one, you only must read, “A Path Through The Trees”, the Mary Sutherland biography of the first woman forester in New Zealand to understand that change is a slow process.
Mary graduated in 1916 from the University College of North Wales, Bangor and encountered many tensions and prejudices throughout her extensive career in the Forest Service which are documented in this book and sounded eerily familiar to me.
The first woman to graduate the School of Forestry at Canterbury was in 1974, almost sixty years after Mary Sutherland arrived in New Zealand and many of her documented aspirations will also be recognisable to us today. How to improve perceptions of forestry in the public, getting forest education into schools and the minds of the next generation and improving the training and education for all forest workers. Sound familiar?
When I graduated from the School of Forestry in 1996 it was difficult to find work, and having finally found a job, I have the added feature of being sacked, not once, but twice for literally just being “a chick”. Some workplaces (and employers) were put out by having to accommodate female workers and it was easier for them to maintain ‘male only’ environments.
This could all sound depressing, but when you have a daughter in 4th year at the School of Forestry and a son about to enroll, it tends to motivate a person to providing positive role models and experiences for this next rotation, so here we are.
Wahine in Forestry is a women’s group formed by the Wood Councils that seeks to address the lack of a female perspective in our sector. Today we claim only 18% females in our forestry workforce, and you can count on one hand the number of women at any leadership levels in our organisations. We want to increase professional participation for women to expand the opportunities and think about our forests in new ways. There is great value in ensuring women are exposed to and have access to all avenues of the forest sector and in the future, this should lead to a more sustainable forestry community.
We are starting this process by exposing the female students at the School of Forestry to as many of our amazing women working in forestry as possible. Our first gathering in Christchurch last year saw four wonderful women speakers address thirty female students about their journey into forestry and what their careers mean to them. Angela Mackenzie and Kristie Paki Paki from Marlborough, Holly Chapman from Christchurch and Sarah de Gouw from Southland provided hilarious stories and inspiration.
We plan to keep this group engaged this year by providing evenings and weekends for networking and to showcase women in all levels and positions in the forest sector, provide role models, mentors and solutions to the unique challenges that face women by bringing us together and supporting each other. We also might just have some fun along the way.
We aim to introduce more women to forestry, open their eyes to the opportunities that exist and retain this critical portion of our workforce. Networks are vital to provide a sense of belonging, and that’s what Wahine in Forestry strives for, a mycorrhizal fungal network for others along with safe and welcoming workplaces fostering connection and connectivity.
The challenges facing our forests and workforces are diverse and there is need for more diverse perspectives to help ensure the health and future of our sector. We cannot solve all our problems, but wouldn’t it be great if we could participate in designing the solutions? How many forestry companies are run by women in New Zealand? How many lead our governance boards, associations and institutes? Together we can create that room for creative problem solving.
What has been pleasing to see is the support and reflection from the young men currently in the School of Forestry and our forestry men for this initiative. These students will be our friends and coworkers in the future, it is satisfying that they are becoming aware of their own, and others, attitudes and noticing what they can do to encourage and advocate for inclusion and diversity in our places of work.
Our group with the support of PF Olsen, Forest360, Summit Forests and the Wood Councils is looking forward to our first weekend get together at Hanmer Springs in March, registrations can be lodged on our website. Want to hang out with us, or represent your workplace? Then visit www.wahineinforestry.co.nzfor more information on this group or email email@example.com to receive newsletters or information about events.
Photo: Students proudly wear their Wahine in Forestry shirts
CEO Southern North Island Wood Council
FEA Update: China softwood log inventoriesChina’s Softwood Log Inventories at Ocean Ports. FEA industry sources in China report that softwood log inventories at the country’s main ocean ports totaled 5.4 million m3 on February 3, 2023, an increase of 42% (+1.6 million m3) from the prior month, as follows:
• Radiata pine log inventory volumes from New Zealand and South America amounted to 3.55 million m3, representing growth of 32% from a month earlier and comprising 66% of overall log inventories (versus 70% in late December).
• North American Douglas-fir and hemlock log volumes totaled 675,000 m3, rising rapidly by 54% from the previous month and accounting for 12% of overall log inventories.
• European spruce log volumes were 997,000 m3, sharp growth of 95% from a month earlier and comprising 18% of overall log inventories.
• Softwood log inventories from other countries, including Russia and Japan, totaled 187,000 m3 (+7%).
The current inventory level of 5.4 million m3 represents a reduction of 10% from the 6.1 million m3 recorded in the equivalent period last year (around 10 days after the Spring Festival Day); however, it represents volume growth of 1.6 million m3 from one month earlier. There were several reasons for this quick growth: First, Chinese importers had high expectations for market demand (with higher prices) following the Spring Festival holiday, so were unwilling to sell their volumes prior to the holiday break. Second, sawmills faced problems with payment collections from their customers so were unable to purchase extra stock ahead of the break.
According to a recent survey on 12,220 construction projects in China, 10.5% of them resumed on January 10 in the Chinese lunar calendar, down 16.8% from the same period last year. Meanwhile, the current sawmilling operation rate is estimated at ~20%, with average daily sales at ocean ports of 29,600 m3. Log wholesale market prices increased by RMB 70–80/m3 in early February versus the end of December at Taicang and Lanshan. Nonetheless, it will require some time to validate whether the higher price of construction lumber—produced from higher-cost logs—will be accepted by end users.
For more information on FEA’s China Bulletin where this data is reported monthly, please visit getfea.com, or contact Dave Battaglia at firstname.lastname@example.org
February 2023 NZ log market updateOpinion Piece, Marcus Musson, Director, Forest360
As expected, February has seen another solid lift in export prices courtesy of some increased in-market sales prices (CFR) and a reasonably subdued shipping market. The At Wharf Gate (AWG) prices offered by the different exporters ranges between $NZ134 and $NZ142/m3 for Export A grade which is the largest spread we have seen in a while.
The prices at the lower end are more than likely due to some trying to make back losses from some pretty horrific 2022 trading conditions, while those at the upper end are likely running short in vessel cargo and looking down the barrel of some significant demurrage costs should the cargo not eventuate. The latter is becoming more evident as exporters trade volume between themselves to try to fill vessels as they arrive in the face of short supply.
Port deliveries have been all over the place with continued weather events hampering the ability for harvesting crews to produce and carriers to get access to harvest sites. This is especially the case in the woodlot sector where many are operating in ‘summer’ blocks with little or no roading infrastructure. While we are getting used to significant rain events during summer, this latest event is one out of the box and, aside from the issues in Auckland and Gisborne, many other regions have also suffered massive infrastructure damage.
One thing our industry has done exceptionally well in previous years is react very quickly to increased sales prices by opening the supply tap. As price increases have generally coincided with summer, this supply increase has been reasonably easy by cranking up the woodlot sector and taking the brakes off the more productive corporate crews. This almost always led to an over supply situation coming into winter and subsequent market correction/crash/implosion which is always great fun to navigate through, especially in the middle of winter.
This year will be a little bit different as we will collectively grab the tap and wind it open as far as possible but the result will be more like a prostrate affected dribble. Harvest contractors have been exiting the system over the past 12 months and a quick search on Trademe will show the extent of this with enough harvesting gear for sale to make machinery salesman about as comfortable in their employment as Nania Mahuta. Reports are of at least 26 contractors having left the East Coast in the past 12 months, some of which will have repatriated to other regions but many have simply closed the doors.
Never grapple with slash againA new take on an old method to deal with forestry slash is set to help New Zealand logging crews more effectively manage skid sites and landings……with the potential to increase productivity.
The locally developed Falcon Slash Grapple Rake brings fresh thinking to slash control in a typical Kiwi approach. The Falcon Slash Grapple Rake fits around two of the most common sizes of Ensign grapple and an independent study shows that it can reduce the laborious task by as much as one hour a day, whilst improving safety and environmental outcomes.
Designed by loggers, for loggers The idea for the new attachment was suggested by Moutere Logging M3 Crew Manager Steve Johnson, who was frustrated with existing methods of managing slash and debris on their sites. “I was up on the skid for three hours one evening moving slash for management purposes and thought there’s got to be a better way as I continued to pick up small loads,” says Steve.
The Falcon Slash Grapple Rake consists of a one-piece spring lock system to attach to either side of a standard Ensign grapple commonly used for loading. It can effectively grab huge amounts of slash in one go, which can then be precisely placed in a designated area.
“There was three points which I determined it needed to have when it was designed. One – it must be quick to take on and off. Two – it needs to have minimal maintenance and accessories to ensure it’s simple…. No plumbing. And lastly it needed to be versatile to be able to still be used for logs such as loading or sorting if needed.” Steve told us as we were hooking it up it in the space of 3 minutes flat.
An industry perspective
“Clearing slash from skids and landings can be a real headache,” says Darrin Barr of DC Equipment, the company behind Falcon Forestry Equipment products. “It can slow down operations and make them unsafe if you don’t keep on top of it. But you also need to deal with slash in an environmentally responsible manner, ensuring it doesn’t end up in waterways or impede access.
Simply pushing it over the edge of a slope might not be the best way to deal with it. “Slash grapples aren’t new, but the suggestion made by Steve for an attachment that fits around an existing grapple is a great solution. The aim was to turn that into a simple piece of engineering that works well in the forest.”
Federal Parliament backs new timber plantationsAustralia’s Federal Parliament has backed the vital role new timber plantations will play in fighting climate change and providing sustainable timber and wood fibre supply into the future, with a resounding vote in the Senate to confirm the role of plantations in the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF).
Australian Forest Products Association (AFPA) Chief Executive Officer, Joel Fitzgibbon said, “The establishment of new sustainable forestry plantations will help Australia achieve sovereign capability in timber and wood fibre in the decades ahead, while helping the nation meet its emission reduction targets. The ERF recognises the unique role sustainable forestry plays.”
This week, the Senate backed sustainable plantation forestry expansion and to protect existing sustainable plantations at risk of conversion under the existing ERF method, following debate on a motion proposed by Senator David Pocock that would have reduced the role of plantations in the program.
“The Senate recognised the importance of growing timber trees and I thank the Government, Opposition and Cross-bench for its support to grow new plantations under existing ERF rules. It’s vital we continue to grow the plantation estate, not have it go backwards,” Joel Fitzgibbon said. Recent analysis found that if Australia doesn’t plant one billion new production trees by 2030, we face a housing shortage cliff of the equivalent of 250,000 new timber house frames by 2035.
“The ERF forestry methodologies ensure only quality carbon offsets. They provide a win in creating future resource supply, a win in creating jobs in rural and regional areas and a win in fighting climate change,” Joel Fitzgibbon concluded.
Firefighting pilots make miraculous escapeThe chief executive of a Vancouver Island aviation company is headed to Australia to meet with two of his American pilots who walked away from a serious crash while on a firefighting mission in the bush east of Perth.
The experienced pilots were flying over a blaze near Fitzgerald River National Park on Monday when they were forced to crash-land their aircraft – a Boeing 737 passenger jet modified to drop flame retardant – in a forest, eventually climbing out the cockpit windows and down some trees to get away relatively unscathed.
Aerial footage posted to social media shows the plane engulfed in flames shortly after the crash, and aerial photos taken later indicate the aircraft was almost completely consumed, save for the tips of its wings and its tail.
“It’s hard to fathom,” Coulson Group CEO Wayne Coulson told The Globe and Mail late Tuesday night from Vancouver International Airport. “It’s probably one of the best aviation stories ever.”
Plantma planting trials and expansion ongoingAfter a long time of preparation and transportation, a PlantMax X2 Planting unit is operating in Brazil. In collaboration with partners at Timber in Curitiba Plantma Forestry has done a successful trial/demo in Pine plantations in Paraná as well as Eucalyptus in Minas Gerais and they are now in Três Lagoas.
The conditions are different from anything Plantma Forestry has done in the past but the trials have shown that the machine has the potential to be a true game changer in mechanical planting in Brazil. A deal with Timber has been signed for 3 more units to be delivered during 2023.
In Sweden, the PlantMax at Holmen Skog has finished its first planting season. The machine has been operating in the north of Sweden (see video below) most of the time but once the snow fell and ground started freezing it was moved south, just north of Stockholm, where it was operating single shift to evaluate the results of late fall planting and see how much the planting season can be extended.
The one million seedlings they were aiming for this first year have been put in the ground! The first year has been a year of trying the machine in different conditions, finding good logistics solutions and developing procedures for seedling handling and quality control as well as machine maintenance and site planning.
At the end of January, a planting machine was ready to be shipped to Pan Pac Forest Products in New Zealand and it’s expected to be operational from April for this year’s planting season.
Source: Plantma Forestry
Red Stag timber open day for industryRed Stag Timber Open Day. Mass timber industrial buildings. Waipa industrial complex, Rotorua, New Zealand
This is your chance to explore 7 different industrial and warehouse building designs and visit 5 of the completed structures in one site visit. Think industrial buildings must be made in steel and concrete to stack up? Think again!
Come to learn how glulam can be used for clear span structures of 105m x 45m. Visit New Zealand’s only CLT factory in a 166m x 64m glulam building with a single row of columns. Understand how portal beams/columns made of CLT will be used in the next Red Stag structure.
All projects will have case studies available for distribution to attendees. They will cover designs, details, professionals used, and comparative cost, weight and carbon comparisons between steel/concrete and the wooden solution.
You will also get to see the southern hemisphere’s largest sawmill in action as it processes a log every 5 seconds, and tour the CLT plant as it manufactures panels for projects nationwide this year.
All in one site, one visit and on one day only, 1.00-5.00pm, 23 February 2023.
To register and for more information, click here
SnapSTAT - evading wood import sanctionsNot long after imposing sanctions on wood imports from Russia and Belarus, Europe saw an influx of wood supposedly coming from Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan. Authorities say sanctions-busters are increasingly mislabeling wood as Central Asian so they can keep bringing it in to the EU.
Click here to read more
$23M raised to advance hydrogen technologiesNew Zealand company Fabrum, a world leader in zero-emission transition technologies to enable a lower-carbon economy, announced its $23M Series A financing led by London-headquartered AP Ventures with participation from Australia-based Fortescue Future Industries, Japan-based Obayashi Corporation and New Zealand-based K1W1.
With the new funding, Fabrum plans to expand its global presence and scale up its manufacturing capacity with a new purpose-built manufacturing facility at its Christchurch headquarters - to meet the growing demand for its end-to-end hydrogen systems and other technologies for aerospace, heavy transport and heavy industries.
Fabrum, founded in 2004, leads the world in industrialised small to medium-scale liquefaction systems and composite cryogenic vessels. Fabrum has earned a global reputation as an innovator for its core competencies in green hydrogen production, storage, dispensing, and system integration. The company actively deploys end-to-end liquid hydrogen solutions globally across heavy transport, mining and aviation markets.
Christopher Boyle, Founder and Chairman of Fabrum, said: “This investment is a critical milestone for Fabrum, validating the technology development pathway that fellow founder Hugh Reynolds and I have built over the last 18 years. Fabrum was created to leverage Christchurch’s strong technology manufacturing history and Canterbury University’s very talented Engineering School. Bringing capability and talent together to develop world-leading technology that will genuinely enable a global shift to sustainable transportation and industry has been our core purpose. It is truly exciting to have the support of this world-class group of investors to deliver on this vision.”
Fabrum is also the company developing and deploying an end-to-end scalable hydrogen refuelling solution for HWR to enable fleet-ready access to hydrogen. This coincides with HWR’s plans to have ten dual-fuel hydrogen-diesel trucks on the road by the second quarter of 2023.
Source: Scoop, NZ Trucking, Fabrum
Rayonier appointments announcedRayonier has announced that Mark McHugh has been appointed to the position of President and Chief Financial Officer, effective January 20, 2023. In addition to his current duties as CFO, Mr. McHugh will take on a greater role in leading their strategic planning efforts as well as participating in broader operational and personnel decision-making. He will continue to report to David Nunes, Chief Executive Officer.
In addition, Doug Long has been appointed to the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Resource Officer, effective January 20, 2023. In this expanded role, Mr. Long will continue to oversee their global forestry operations, while also devoting more time toward developing business opportunities around nature-based climate solutions. “This promotion reflects Doug's outstanding leadership of our forest resources organization as well as the growing importance of nature-based climate solutions to our long-term strategic vision,” said Nunes. Mr. Long joined Rayonier in 1995 and most recently served as Senior Vice President, Forest Resources.
Rayonier is a leading timberland real estate investment trust with assets located in some of the most productive softwood timber growing regions in the United States and New Zealand. As of September 30, 2022, Rayonier owned or leased under long-term agreements approximately 2.7 million acres of timberlands located in the U.S. South (1.79 million acres), U.S. Pacific Northwest (486,000 acres) and New Zealand (417,000 acres).
Taranaki region's 3D landscape unveiledAnew, high-tech aerial laser survey project has been completed in the New Zealand region of Taranaki, producing an exact 3D map of the region's land surface. The survey, conducted by Toitu Te Whenua Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) in partnership with the Taranaki Regional Council, will provide valuable data for a variety of uses.
The data is set to be used to generate high-definition 3D maps and models that will be used for applications including environmental management and planning, natural hazard management, and infrastructure and service planning. Additionally, the data will be used to track changes to the coastline and river channels.
Bjorn Johns, LINZ technical leader, Imagery and Elevation, explained that the dataset was two years in the making. “It’s exciting that we now have accurate elevation information, right down to the property scale, for the entire Taranaki region. The new digital elevation data provides certainty to councils and landowners and ensures their terrain modelling is as accurate as possible."
“The Lidar data allows for improved 3D visualization of the land, providing valuable context for planning and mapping. The data is available to anyone via the LINZ Data Service," he added. “As new datasets across the country are completed and contributed to the LINZ National Elevation Programme, the amount of national coverage increases, giving us the best possible picture of New Zealand.”
Funding for the NZ$1m project has come from the Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) via LINZ, with contributions from the Council, New Plymouth District Council, Stratford District Council, South Taranaki District Council and the University of Auckland. Taranaki Regional Council was one of 10 regional councils nationwide given funding from the PGF for regional-scale Lidar mapping projects.
Source: GIM International
Buy and Sell
... and some to end the week on ...
Last week I was helping my partially deaf nan move home, and I kept on finding wads of money pushed down the backs of chairs and stuffed into rolled up socks.
On that note, enjoy your weekend. Cheers.
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