WoodWeek – 15 May 2019

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Greetings from your busy Innovatek/WoodWeek news team. News just in: Forestry Minister Shane Jones says an arrangement signed by New Zealand and China this week paves the way for future forestry cooperation and boosting bilateral trade.

Time will tell what value this brings to the New Zealand industry and/or wider economy with this statement offering just talks: “With my Chinese counterpart, I have agreed that officials will cooperate to encourage increased trade, including in value-added wood products. I’m pleased to announce that we will hold talks in China later this year, which industry will be invited to, to promote government-to- government and industry-to-industry collaboration.” We look forward to some closer scrutiny of, or involvement in, this plan from WPMA's Brian Stanley and Jon Tanner.

Meanwhile closer to home, registrations are pouring in at a record pace for HarvestTECH. This event sold out in Vancouver in March and when it last ran in Rotorua in 2017. We've just added a new dimension to the programme for 26th June. Former NZ Forest Service forest manager Jim Spiers, best known for starting LIRA, has just recorded his life story in a softcover book. We've invited Jim to officially launch his memoir at our FIEA HarvestTECH Conference – just after Paul Mahoney, our resident logging historian, speaks on Wednesday afternoon.

In the middle of today’s issue we have a new feature for you. It's as simple as this – A story in a snapshot. So, if you've got one to share with our WoodWeek readers, simply email us (office@innovatek.co.nz) and we just might run it. We thank you in advance for your contributions. BTW – a good clean joke or two wouldn't go amiss just now.

As NZ Farm Forestry Association members gather in Rotorua this week for their week-long conference (another event delivered by our Innovatek team) their forest harvests from the 1993 planting boom are headed to ports and sawmills from the Southern North Island in growing volumes.

On that note, trains carrying those farm forestry logs from Wairarapa to Wellington are going to be longer from this month, ultimately increasing capacity by a third and taking 6000 logging trucks a year off the road. KiwiRail’s Alan Piper says about 15 wagons will be added as they become available in coming weeks.

A barometer of sorts for forest industry prosperity in New Zealand can be found in the quarterly results of publicly-listed US company Rayonier - New Zealand Timber (Note: Currency is US dollars) - First quarter sales of $57.1 million increased $4.1 million, or 8%, versus the prior year period. Volumes increased 8% to 604,000 (US) tons from 558,000 tons in the prior year period.

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Forestry cooperation agreement with China

NZ and China sign forestry cooperation arrangement - An arrangement signed by New Zealand and China today paves the way for future forestry cooperation and boosting bilateral trade, Forestry Minister Shane Jones says.

The arrangement was signed today in Wellington by Shane Jones and Mr Zhang Jianlong, the Administrator of China’s National Forestry and Grasslands Administration.

“The updated arrangement supports and strengthens links between government, industry and research institutes in New Zealand and China. It provides a framework to address matters such as sustainability, wood processing and utilisation, and trade and investment,” Shane Jones said.

“The forestry sector is an important and growing part of our bilateral trade with China, with export revenue topping $3.2 billion in the year ending 2018.

“Much of this growth has come from increased Chinese demand for New Zealand forestry products, supporting both continued high prices and record export volumes.

“A number of Chinese companies choose to use wood sourced from New Zealand for their manufacturing, and I’m keen to see how we can grow the relationship further, especially for our respective wood processing industries.

“With my Chinese counterpart, I have agreed that officials will cooperate to encourage increased trade, including in value-added wood products.

“I’m pleased to announce that we will hold talks in China later this year, which industry will be invited to, to promote government-to-government and industry-to-industry collaboration.

“Signing the updated arrangement is a testament to the huge amount of goodwill between our two countries, and marks a commitment to continue working together for mutual benefit.

“I see a multitude of opportunities for New Zealand and China to cooperate and support our forestry and wood processing industries, in a way that also supports environmental objectives.

“The wider One Billion Trees goal to plant at least one billion trees by 2028 is an ambitious one, and it will drive regional revitalisation, support M?ori to realise the potential of their land, and deliver benefits to our people and our environment.

“Ensuring an end-to-end value chain for our logs and forest products, along with our relationships with trading partners, including China, are an important part of achieving these aspirations,” Shane Jones said.

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SNI log trains getting longer

Trains carrying logs from Wairarapa to Wellington are going to be longer from this month, ultimately increasing capacity by a third and taking 6000 logging trucks a year off the road. KiwiRail’s group general manager of sales and commercial, Alan Piper, says about 15 wagons will be added to one of the two daily trains once more wagons become available.

“We expect this to be within a few weeks,” he said. “That will increase the capacity by around 100,000 tonnes a year from the current 270,000 tonnes. It will also mean around 6000 fewer logging truck trips annually across the Rimutaka hill road.”

KiwRail runs two log trains each day from Waingawa to Wellington’s CentrePort. CentrePort has an inland hub for logs at Waingawa. Piper said the log trains can carry more so they will be lengthened rather than extra trains being put on. Two hundred new wagons intended for logs are due to arrive by the end of the year and KiwiRail is also converting container wagons nearing the end of their useful life to carry logs.

The conversion process will provide an additional 100 wagons this year on top of the 200 new wagons. Log exports from the region are booming and when Shane Jones visited last year the industry raised the issue of capacity constraints on log trains. He is Forestry Minister and Regional Economic Development Minister.

The damage logging trucks do to roads has been an issue and the trucks have been in the news with a logging truck overturning on Monday on the turn into Norfolk Rd at Waingawa, and a log dropped on the northern roundabout in Masterton last December.

Forest Enterprises is part of a new company called Log Distribution Ltd, which is trying to make transportation of logs as efficient as possible. Spokesman Bert Hughes, the Forest Enterprises chief executive, says LDL is happy to see the new log wagon capacity.

“It is the amount we expected based on our long-running consultation with KiwiRail and CentrePort. Longer trains are an efficient way to better utilise existing transport capacity.”

He acknowledges that log harvesting levels are rising and says the peak volume is difficult to predict because much of the increase comes from private woodlots where harvesting tends to correlate with change in log prices rather than be programmed into an annual plan. Most of Forest Enterprises’ annual export log volume could go to Wellington by rail, except for three- metre length logs which are difficult to stow on rail wagons, he said.

Hughes said transport planning is dynamic by nature, and rail is the best way to deliver consistent daily volumes from aggregated stockpiles to the wharf where they are accumulated for log ships. Truck carriage is more adaptable to volume fluctuation and widespread harvesting sites, and therefore remains a crucial part of the transport plan.

Daily volume fluctuations are common due to the influence of weather on forest roads and production rates as well as normal variability in the ability to utilise labour and machinery. Not all logs are exported.

“We are harvesting approximately 350,000 tonnes per year from the forests we manage in Wairarapa. Around 60 per cent [210,000 tonnes] is exported via CentrePort – two-thirds of which is transported by rail; the rest by truck and around 40 per cent [140,000 tonnes] is supplied to local mills.”

Forest Enterprises and LDL prioritise rail transport over road cartage where it has benefits of increased efficiency of resource use and reducing impacts on the travelling public.

More >>

Source: Wairarapa Age

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Australia: Plantation forestry statistics updated

The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES) released the Australian plantation statistics 2019 update report on Friday 3 May 2019 (click here).

Key findings:
  • In 2017–18 Australia’s total commercial plantation area was 1,942,700 hectares, a decrease of 12,400 hectares (0.6 per cent) from 2016?17.
  • The total area of softwood plantations increased marginally in 2017–18 to 1,037,000 hectares, and accounted for more than 53 per cent of total commercial plantation area. The total area of hardwood plantations was 896,000 hectares, a decrease of 12,500 hectares (1.4 per cent) from 2016–17, and accounted for 46 per cent of total commercial plantation area.
  • In 2017-18 Victoria continued to have the largest total area of commercial plantations of Australia’s states and territories (420,600 hectares), followed by New South Wales (393,200 hectares) and Western Australia (361,700 hectares).
  • A total of 3,150 hectares of new plantations were established in 2017–18, comprising 1,700 hectares of softwood plantations and 1,450 hectares of hardwood plantations.

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ForestTECH 2019 - Coming in November

An example of structure from motion modelling of a forest just prior to harvest.
This is a 3D point cloud generated from drone / UAV camera imagery, which is then used in studying the efficiency and productivity of harvesting operations.

This is a taste of what was on offer at the 2018 event. More presentations on rapidly advancing technologies will be coming once again to ForestTECH 2019 in Rotorua and Melbourne – be sure to mark your diary for November. Visit www.foresttech.events for more information.

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When forestry was fun - A memoir

Jim Spier's memoir "When Forestry was Fun" published - Rotorua’s 95-year-old Jim Spiers has recently published his book, When Forestry was Fun.

This combines a good yarn with Jim’s wealth of knowledge and experience to record developments in forestry and logging, from the early 1940s to the mid-1980s.

His personal story traces developments from horse logging in the Tapanui District of West Otago in 1941, to the post-WWII focus on measurement and management of indigenous forestry.

Then, with three university degrees related to forestry management behind him, he ran Whirinaki Forest in the Urewera before taking over management of New Zealand’s largest exotic forest at Kaingaroa. He held this position for nine years.

Appointed as inaugural director of the newly formed Logging Industry Research Association (LIRA) Jim remained in this role for a further nine years before retiring in 1984.

When Forestry was Fun is available at McLeods Booksellers, Rotorua. Copies will also be available for purchase at our FIEA HarvestTECH Conference in June from the registration desk.

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ANZ Commodity Price Index

Protein power

The ANZ World Commodity Price Index pushed up 2.5% m/m in April, following a revised 4.1% rise in March.1 This puts the index 2.1% ahead of this time last year. The NZD index lifted 4.2% m/m in March, as commodity returns in local currency terms also benefited further from the lower New Zealand dollar.

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This week's SNAPSTAT

Here's a new feature - it's as simple as this - here is a story in a snapshot. So, if you've got one of these and want to share it with our WoodWeek readers -- please email it to us (office@innovatek.co.nz) and we just might run it. THANKS in anticipation.

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Rayonier reports Q1-2019 results

Rayonier Inc. (NYSE: RYN) just reported first quarter net income attributable to Rayonier of $24.8 million, or $0.19 per share, on revenues of $191.5 million. This compares to net income attributable to Rayonier of $40.5 million, or $0.31 per share, on revenues of $203.2 million in the prior year quarter.

New Zealand Timber (Note: Currency is US dollars) - First quarter sales of $57.1 million increased $4.1 million, or 8%, versus the prior year period. Volumes increased 8% to 604,000 tons versus 558,000 tons in the prior year period.

Average delivered prices for export sawtimber decreased 1% to $116.24 per ton versus $117.70 per ton in the prior year period, while average delivered prices for domestic sawtimber decreased 4% to $83.42 per ton versus $87.02 per ton in the prior year period. The decrease in export sawtimber prices was primarily due to increased competition from lower- cost lumber imports and alternative species. The decrease in domestic sawtimber prices (in US dollar terms) was driven primarily by the fall in the NZ$/US$ exchange rate (US$0.68 per NZ$1.00 versus US$0.72 per NZ$1.00).

Excluding the impact of foreign exchange rates, domestic sawtimber prices increased 2% from the prior year period. Operating income of $15.7 million decreased $0.3 million versus the prior year period as a result of lower net stumpage prices ($0.9 million), higher road maintenance costs ($0.4 million), higher depletion rates ($0.5 million) and unfavorable foreign exchange impacts ($0.2 million), partially offset by higher volumes ($1.5 million) and higher non-timber income ($0.2 million).

First quarter Adjusted EBITDA1 of $22.0 million was $0.3 million above the prior year period.

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Brazil: Leap in log exports to China

Brazil is Latin America’s biggest economy, and one of its top exports is wood. But with rising concerns over deforestation, businesses are turning to sustainable alternatives. CGTN’s Paulo Cabral reports on the emergence of a new market for eucalyptus.

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Forestry Field Day

Merrill & Ring won the Forestry Award and the company is now hosting a public field day showcasing their work and featuring guest speaker Dr David Hall from Auckland University of Technology.

Please see flyer below (click on image)

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Wairarapa farmers worried

Farmers worry as pine trees cover Wairarapa land - As more and more of Wairarapa's rolling green pastures are being blanket-planted with pine trees, which rural communities warn are killing their way of life. And with the Government's target of planting one billion trees by 2028 and the uncertainty over the Zero Carbon Bill, farmers say the rest of the country should be worried.

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Source: Radio New Zealand

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Oil giant Shell plans tree-planting projects

Oil giant Shell has a new plan for cutting carbon footprint: Planting millions of trees:
  • Royal Dutch Shell plans to invest $300 million over three years in reforestation projects, including in the Netherlands and Spain.
  • The initiative and others aim to offset the carbon emissions produced when customers consume the fossil fuels that Shell produces.
  • Shell is also creating a program to allow drivers to support the company's purchase of carbon credits from ecoprojects.

The CEO of Royal Dutch Shell recently said the world needs to plant enough trees to essentially create another Amazon rainforest in order to combat climate change. On Monday, the Anglo- Dutch oil major announced plans to support a mass reforestation drive.

Shell will spend $300 million over the next three years on initiatives like planting more than 5 million trees in the Netherlands and Spain, supporting forest regeneration in Australia and potentially engaging in conservation in Malaysia. The company also revealed new investments in electric vehicle battery charging stations and a fuel program to help drivers offset carbon pollution from their tailpipes.

The investments in ecosystems are part of Shell's plan to reduce its net carbon footprint by 2% to 3% over the next three years. By shoring up forests, which absorb carbon dioxide, Shell aims to offset the CO2 emitted when its customers burn the petroleum products and natural gas that it produces — and which still account for the vast majority of its revenue.

In the Netherlands, Shell is partnering with Dutch forestry service Staatsbosbeheer to plant more than 5 million trees over 12 years. In northern Spain, it will work with Land Life Co. on a 300-hectare reforestation project with a goal of planting 300,000 trees by the end of the year.

Shell has also established an 800-hectare forest regeneration project in Queensland, Australia, and is jointly studying projects with the Sarawak state government in Malaysia.

More >>

Photo credit: Shell

Source: CNBC

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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... Ha ha ha

An outback farmer was making his first visit to a city hospital where his teenage son was about to have an operation. Watching the doctor's every move, he asked, "What's that?"

The doctor explained, "This is an anesthetic. After he gets this he won't know a thing."

"Save your time, Doc," exclaimed the man. "He don't know nothing now."


Once upon a time, there was a policeman that saw a man sitting in a car with a tiger sitting next to him. The police officer said, "It's against the law to have a tiger in your car. Take him to the zoo."

The next day the police officer saw the same man in the same car with the same tiger. The police officer said, "I thought I told you to take that tiger to the zoo."

The man replied, "I did. He liked it. Today we're going to the beach."


This is something to think about when negative people are doing their best to rain on your parade... So remember this story the next time someone who knows nothing and cares less tries to make your life miserable:

A woman was at her hairdresser's getting her hair styled for a trip to Rome with her husband... She mentioned the trip to the hairdresser, who responded:

"Rome? Why would anyone want to go there? It's crowded and dirty. You're crazy to go to Rome. So, how are you getting there?"

"We're taking Continental," was the reply. "We got a great rate!"

"Continental?" exclaimed the hairdresser. "That's a terrible airline. Their planes are old, their flight attendants are ugly, and they're always late. So, where are you staying in Rome?"

"We'll be at this exclusive little place over on Rome's Tiber River called Teste."

"Don't go any further. I know that place. Everybody thinks it's gonna be something special and exclusive, but it's really a dump."

"We're going to go to see the Vatican and maybe get to see the Pope."

"That's rich," laughed the hairdresser. "You and a million other people trying to see him. He'll look the size of an ant.

Boy, good luck on this lousy trip of yours. You're going to need it."

A month later, the woman again came in for a hairdo. The hairdresser asked her about her trip to Rome.

"It was wonderful," explained the woman, "not only were we on time in one of Continental's brand new planes, but it was overbooked, and they bumped us up to first class. The food and wine were wonderful, and I had a handsome 28-year-old steward who waited on me hand and foot."

"And the hotel was great! They'd just finished a $5 million remodeling job, and now it's a jewel, the finest hotel in the city. They, too, were overbooked, so they apologized and gave us their owner's suite at no extra charge!"

"Well," muttered the hairdresser, "that's all well and good, but I know you didn't get to see the Pope."

"Actually, we were quite lucky, because as we toured the Vatican, a Swiss Guard tapped me on the shoulder, and explained that the Pope likes to meet some of the visitors, and if I'd be so kind as to step into his private room and wait, the Pope would personally greet me.

Sure enough, five minutes later, the Pope walked through the door and shook my hand! I knelt down and he spoke a few words to me..."

"Oh, really! What'd he say?"

He said: "Lovely to meet you - by the way, who stuffed up your hair?"

Thanks for keeping up with the latest wood news with us!
Have a safe and productive week.

John Stulen

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