WoodWeek – 18 March 2020

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Greetings from your favourite wood news source. Well, how things can change in just a week! Last week we reported on industry efforts to stem forestry job losses caused by the supply chain log jam from New Zealand to China. This week, the rest of the world has gone toilet-paper-hoarding, media-zombie mad. It’s a roller coaster ride fuelled by fear right now.

We are seeing reports that China’s people are headed back to work, after their authorities’ swift actions to minimise the virus spread demonstrated the power of early and massive lockdowns to combat this hidden threat. Overnight, its' also been reassuring that several government financial support announcements have stabilised sharemarkets somewhat.

As with many of you, our loyal clients, the challenges we’re facing are coming at us rapidly. The changes are hard to fathom and the actions required are changing every day. Focused as we are on bringing people together, we are working to make the best of a constantly evolving set of circumstances.

We have moved swiftly to create certainty where we can. Taking into account the specific nature, audience and timing of our many conferences on the 2020 calendar, we have made changes as follows:

1. Our international ForestTECHX Conference in Vancouver has been rescheduled to 1-2 September.
2. Our MobileTECH Conference in Rotorua on 7-8th April will proceed as originally planned using with all measures recommended by the Ministry of Health to ensure the smooth and safe running of this event for delegates.
3. Our FIEA Forest Safety & Technology Conference will now run concurrently with our HarvestTECH conference program on 16-17 September in Melbourne and 22-23 Sept in Rotorua.
4. We are planning to work closely with our conference speakers, sponsors and delegates to minimise any disruption to your plans.

Back to today’s industry news: Forestry exports for the year ending June 2020 are expected to decrease by 17.9 percent to $5.7 billion driven by falling Chinese demand for logs. This is $0.5 billion lower than the previous forecast released in December 2019. Expectations that the log market would improve after Chinese New Year have been overtaken by trade disruptions due to COVID-19.

Looking to forestry equipment, John Deere and Cable Price are ending their distribution agreement in New Zealand. John Deere will announce its new dealers in the coming weeks with a full transition of business scheduled for 1 July.

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MPI: Forestry forecast in SOPI

Forestry exports for the year ending June 2020 are expected to decrease by 17.9 percent to $5.7 billion driven by falling Chinese demand for logs. This is $0.5 billion lower than the previous forecast released in December 2019. Expectations that the log market would improve after Chinese New Year have been overtaken by trade disruptions due to COVID-19.

Log inventories at Chinese ports are near or at capacity. With recent low levels of daily log sales, current intelligence puts the backlog at upwards of 4 months of supply. Clearing the backlog, however, will only be part of the problem going forward. Construction activity also usually slows down when China moves into the hotter months so it may take until September for demand to begin to reach normal levels.

Price competition will also remain a large factor in the market, as there is still a continuous supply of lower priced European spruce logs and the introduction of Australian salvage logs will also increase supply pressure.

Volumes of timber exports remained only slightly below our previous forecast despite mill closures in the North Island late last year and lay-offs in February 2020. There is ongoing uncertainty about the effects of COVID-19 on timber production.

In the short term, reduced demand for logs from China has affected prices that domestic processors are paying to source logs. However, if forest owners cease harvesting logs altogether, this could result in reduced supply.

Source: MPI State of Primary Industries Quarterly Update

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John Deere ends Cable Price agreement

John Deere Construction & Forestry and Cable Price (NZ) Limited end distribution agreement in New Zealand Yesterday, John Deere Construction & Forestry and Cable Price (NZ) Limited (CPL) agreed to end their distribution arrangement of Deere branded and manufactured construction, forestry, and compact machinery in New Zealand. As the joint businesses expanded over the years, so have each company’s priorities in various markets around the globe.

“John Deere Construction & Forestry Company (Deere) and Hitachi Construction Machinery (Hitachi) have a long and successful global partnership spanning multiple continents and product lines,” said Dan Fitzpatrick, global director of construction & forestry sales outside of the Americas. “This partnership served both companies well and supported each company’s global growth over the multi- decade relationship. Over the course of the next five months Deere and Cable Price will work together to execute a seamless transition of business to John Deere newly appointed construction and forestry dealers in New Zealand.”

John Deere plans to announce its new dealers for the New Zealand market in the coming weeks with a full transition of business scheduled for July 1, 2020.

“John Deere and Cable Price committed to working together to ensure this transition has minimal impact on customers’ access to machines, parts, and/or service,” said Fitzpatrick. “Similarly, John Deere and Cable Price are committed to smoothly transitioning customers who have existing agreements and service contracts with Cable Price. We believe this change in distribution will allow both companies to increase focus on their respective brands and provide a world class experience to John Deere customers across New Zealand.”

The changes announced in this press release have no impact on Deere and Hitachi’s partnerships or distribution arrangements outside of New Zealand.

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Log Export Update

Thanks to the team at Champion Freight we have the latest log export update for you.

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Study: Results on fatigued drivers

Truck drivers are twice as likely to crash when fatigued and 11 times more likely to crash when both fatigued and distracted, according to the latest findings by Monash University Accident Research Centre (MUARC). Using a new purpose- built truck simulator to measure truck driver performance, the study accurately detected the level of truck driver fatigue ahead of when a safety critical event occurs.

The study also tested fatigue prevention and driver-monitoring technology in working fleet trucks on the road.

World-class Guardian technology supplied by Seeing Machines was used during the evaluation that included the participation of 74 different drivers. It actively monitors for and alerts commercial drivers to fatigue and distraction in real time.

Seeing Machines in partnership with Ron Finemore Transport and Volvo Trucks Australia, used automotive grade technology alongside Guardian, to study driver behaviour well before a microsleep resulted. In a breakthrough innovation never reportedly achieved before, the study also detected where a driver was looking as part of the distraction monitoring in real-time testing.

This resulted in the team creating a comprehensive distraction warning system for drivers. With the direct input of Ron Finemore Transport, the team fitted ten fleet trucks with the technology and monitored drivers for nine months. Over 100 drivers enrolled in the study, collectively driving 22,000 trips across over 1.5 million kilometres, resulting in the largest and most comprehensive study of its kind in the world.

Using Australia’s first Truck Simulator, Monash researchers conducted tests on truck drivers under different conditions, using Big Data to fine-tune the technology that will be rolled out in future vehicles. The drivers were sleep deprived and then intentionally distracted during driver simulation for two-hours. Researchers recorded 29 crashes in the simulator, with 21 (72 per cent) in fatigue condition and eight (28 per cent) in an alert state during a crash.

Drivers were twice as likely to crash when fatigued, but 11 times more likely to crash when fatigued and distracted at the same time. The study provided a unique test-bed for the evolving sophistication of the sensor technology that aims to reduce heavy vehicle crashes in Australia, improve truck driver well-being and help truck companies better manage their drivers’ fatigue. More >>.

Fatigue, and safety issues around wood harvesting and haulage operations are key themes for this years Forest Safety & Technology series set up for local companies by the Forest Industry Engineering Association. Programs for both the Australian and New Zealand events running on 16-17 September in Melbourne, Australia and then again on 22-23 September in Rotorua, New Zealand can be found on the event website, www.forestsafety.events.

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Horticulture: Can forestry solve labour shortage

Hundreds of forestry workers who have lost their jobs due to the Covid-19 outbreak are being offered work in the horticulture sector, which is desperate for labour. However, many will struggle to make the same money... and some are warning the roots of the industry's problems go much deeper.

Many forestry contractors are running at a loss, trying to keep valued staff employed in the hope the log-jam in China from Covid-19 will free up in the next few weeks. Up to a third of the country's logging crews have been stood down, and the Forest Owners Association estimates 1500 jobs could go this year.

Prue Younger from FICA said the industry was pinning its hopes on a long-awaited government relief package. She welcomed moves by farmers and growers to take on forestry workers - but said forestry contractors were loath to lose skilled staff.

"As much as we hate to think we're losing our people from our industry and are unsure whether they will return, we certainly want to see them not impacted, making sure they can provide for their families and whanau. In that case we don't care where they go, we just want some opportunities for them to be employed."

Labour shortages are a perennial problem in the horticulture industry, which relies heavily on backpackers and workers from the Pacific through the Registered Seasonal Employer (RSE) Scheme.

More >>

Source: RNZ

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Aratu Forestry decision from courts

Aratu Forestry Limited has been fined $379,500 on charges brought by Gisborne District Council following two rain events in June 2018.

Formerly called Hikurangi Forest Farms Limited, the company was sentenced on two charges under the Resource Management Act for discharging contaminants – logging debris, slash and sediment – to land in circumstances where it entered water.

Environment Court Judge Brian Dwyer also ordered Aratu to pay emotional harm reparation to three victims totalling $125,000.

Council brought the prosecution against Aratu following its investigation of compliance issues arising from the June 2018 rain events.

Between June 3 and 4, large amounts of logging debris, slash and sediment collapsed from 83 skid sites at Aratu-owned Te Marunga Forest, 12 kilometres west of Tolaga Bay. Material that collapsed from skid sites in Te Marunga Forest affected the Mangatokerau valley and properties in the valley.

The second charge related to Aratu’s forest in Waimata – Wakaroa Forest. Between June 11 and 12, slash and sediment mobilised from the forest, inundating Uttings Bridge on Waimata Road and causing significant damage.

Aratu was fined $229,500 for its offending at Te Marunga Forest and $150,000 for its offending at Wakaroa Forest.

Judge Dwyer said a significant factor in his considerations was the known vulnerability of the environment in each forest.

“Two thirds of this forest is situated on land which is very highly susceptible to erosion, in some cases being the most vulnerable land to erosion in the district or region. Additionally, the rain events which had brought about the discharges occurred at a time in the period shortly after harvest.

“Forest operations on such land have to be undertaken with great care and in absolute compliance with codes of practice and conditions of resource consent, but a high degree of risk still remains.”

Judge Dwyer said the possibility the area could be subject to extreme weather should have been well known, and similar events in recent years had led to the mobilisation of forestry debris.

“Even adopting best practice there is a real risk of incidents such as this happening on steep, highly erodible land which has been stripped of tree cover. The fact is that forest harvesting on these slopes is a high risk operation in terms of its affect on land stability. Aratu has taken the risk in this instance and predictable consequences have resulted.”

Council’s director of environmental services and protection Helen Montgomery says the Court’s sentencing decision sends a strong message to the forestry industry about the importance of managing environmental risks, complying with resource consents and adhering to the Forest Owners Association Environmental Code of Practice.

For further information, read the full sentencing decision.

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FWPA support for drone award winner

FWPA is proud to congratulate mechanical engineer and University of Tasmania PhD student Sean Krisanski for his recent success at the 2020 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

Mr Krisanski was awarded a grant that will enable him to develop a drone for tree sample collection. Krisanski’s work will subvert current sample collection methods, which can be expensive, time consuming and dangerous.

“I will be designing a 3D-printed airframe which will protect the rotors and make the system fairly robust to the inevitable collisions with branches. There will also be a small saw integrated into the airframe” Mr Krisanski said.

Run by the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences, the awards have seen 11 young agricultural researchers receive grants valued up to $22,000.

The forest and wood products award was funded by FWPA, which also selected Mr Krisanski as the recipient.

FWPA’s Managing Director, Ric Sinclair, said Krisanskis’ win highlights the importance of young Australian scientists to the future of forestry.

"I am confident that the contribution made by these young leaders will advance the forestry industry and keep us at the forefront of research and development.”

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In Memory of Grant McIntosh 1954 – 2020

It is with great sadness that TimberLab Solutions Ltd advises of the sudden passing of our CEO Grant McIntosh. Grant suffered a heart attack on Sunday afternoon and passed away on Monday night surrounded by his family. Grant inspired a family culture at TimberLab and his passing is a huge shock to the team.

The unexpected passing of Grant brings to an end a three-generation involvement in the Glulam industry spanning a period of 60 years.

In 1982 Grant joined Mcintosh Timber Laminates and in 1999 became Managing Director when his father Ken retired. Grant’s passion for increasing efficiencies in the production systems for Glulam saw him introducing many leading-edge developments - mechanical stress graders, NZ’s first 2metre wide beam planer and much other specialised equipment.

In a bold move, 2013 saw the emergence of the TimberLab brand resulting from the merger of McIntosh Timber Laminates with TimberBond Industries. Under Grant’s leadership, digital technology took Glulam manufacture to a new level. 3D computer modelling and CNC processing achieved efficiencies and accuracy not previously possible.

Over the past year, Grant had started to step back from TimberLab leaving the majority of the day-to-day running of the company to General Manager, Darren Stead.

Darren is fortunate to have a team of experienced and dedicated administrative and production staff that will continue to drive the company forward, leading the production of engineered timber solutions that are gaining momentum in New Zealand and abroad.

Our heartfelt sympathy and thoughts go out to Grant’s wife Merilyn and the family. They have been part of the TimberLab family and we are very grateful to them for allowing us to have had the privilege and pleasure of Grant’s generous and inspiring leadership for so many years.

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More money for wilding control

More Funding Needed For Wilding Pine Control - Forest & Bird has sent a letter to the Prime Minister, and other Government Ministers, asking for increased funding for essential wilding pine control.

“Wilding pines are trees which have self-seeded and are growing where they are not supposed to be. They are the wrong tree in the wrong place. They are a threat to Aotearoa New Zealand’s native ecosystems and landscapes,” says Forest & Bird Canterbury and West Coast Regional Manager Nicky Snoyink.

The letter to Ministers asks for $100 million over four years. A previous budget allocated $21 million over 2019 and 2020.

“These trees spread so quickly that every year control and eradication efforts are delayed, the cost of removing wilding pines rises by 30%,” says Ms Snoyink.

If wilding pines are left to spread, the cost to the natural environment is estimated to be at least $331 million in biodiversity loss. This is likely to be a conservative estimate.**

One of the Government’s Budget 2020 priorities is a just transition to a climate- resilient, sustainable and low-emissions economy.

“Achieving a just transition requires a strong commitment to ensuring the natural environment is resilient as the climate changes,” says Ms Snoyink. “Our native landscapes are being taken over by wilding pines. These weeds are threatening the places we love by sucking up fresh water, shading out native plants, and increasing fire risk.”

“Prioritising the protection and restoration of our native ecosystems will ensure a climate resilient future by preserving the high country grasslands we love, which have their own carbon storage benefits*, and have considerable benefits for catchment water retention and for native biodiversity.”

Under-funding future wilding pine control will have dire consequences for places like the Central Plateau, Marlborough high country, the Mackenzie Basin, and the upper Waimakariri.

Ms Snoyink says, “We need our incredible wild places, and right now they need us to act urgently on wilding pine eradication. Wilding pines spread fast. Currently these unwanted weeds affect at least 1.8 million hectares (almost 6%) of New Zealand’s land area. Unmanaged, within 30 years they will cover more than a quarter of New Zealand."

"Forest & Bird is urging the Government to increase funding for wilding pine control to $100 million over the next four years as part of ensuring a climate resilient future for Aotearoa."

*red tussock grasslands contain on average 194 tonnes of carbon per hectare in above ground vegetation and soil carbon. Exotic forest and scrub averages 249 tonnes of carbon per hectare. (Carswell et.al 2008; Synthesis of carbon stock information regarding conservation land. Maanaki Whenua/Landcare Research)

** $331 million in biodiversity loss is based on a cost benefit analysis prepared for the Ministry of Primary Industries. Unmanaged, wilding pines present a $4.6 billion threat to our economy as a whole.

Source: Scoop News

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New Forests climate report released

International forestry investment manager New Forests has just released its inaugural Climate Disclosure Report, documenting the company’s application of the Task Force for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations. New Forests also announced an ambitious Climate Action Plan that combines advocacy for forestry-based climate solutions with the development of robust greenhouse gas (GHG) accounting methods to support a science-based target for New Forests’ investment portfolio.

While financial institutions increasingly recognise the risks of climate change to the global economy, the use of the TCFD recommendations by investors is nascent. The report describes how New Forests integrates climate risk and opportunity analysis in its business strategy, governance, and risk management as well as in its role as an investment manager.

The report includes New Forests’ analysis of physical and transition risks to its business, building on the work of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development’s (WBCSD) TCFD Preparer Forums. As a WBCSD member, New Forests endorses the effort to support informed, efficient business decision-making through climate management and disclosure.

New Forests’ CEO David Brand reflected on the company’s motivation for using TCFD: “First, as stewards of real assets we believe we have a duty to our clients to manage and disclose the climate-related risks of their investments. Second, although forests face real and rising physical risks from climate change, we also see opportunities arising from climate finance and the need to invest in climate mitigation, adaptation, and resilience. TCFD gives us a comprehensive framework to consider how we can be resilient in a changing world.”

Brand noted, “We also want our climate efforts to be part of a broader movement that accelerates investment into natural climate solutions and the circular bioeconomy.”

New Forests’ Climate Action Plan sets the framework for its climate commitments:
  • New Forests will be a climate neutral business – addressing the challenge that to date, business contributions to climate neutrality have been insufficient to meet global needs.

  • New Forests will work collaboratively to ensure that forestry is recognised as a climate solution – addressing the challenge that corporate GHG accounting frameworks do not accurately capture the role of carbon removals by forests and carbon storage in durable wood products.

  • New Forests will demonstrate investable pathways to transition the forestry sector from a net GHG emission source to a source of net carbon removals – addressing the challenge of shifting from the sector’s historical emissions profile from 24% of global emissions (for forestry and land use combined) to one where forestry and land use instead contribute 30% or more of all climate mitigation by 2030.

“While we are proud to ‘walk the talk’ by formally pursuing climate neutrality as a business, the true impact of our Climate Action Plan lies in collaborative engagement on forestry solutions and our ambition to demonstrate investable pathways to flip forestry and land use from being around a quarter of the global GHG emissions problem to generating a third of the solution,” explained MaryKate Bullen, Director of Sustainability and Communications for New Forests.

Bullen continued, “Reaching this objective requires real risk and opportunity analysis across the forestry sector, paired with aggressive targets. Ultimately, the outcome of our roadmap will be the pursuit of a science-based target for our investment portfolio and showing how forestry can help investors achieve their broader net zero GHG targets.”

New Forests’ Climate Disclosure Report and Climate Action Plan are available to download from www.newforests.com.au/CDR2020

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Tigercat launches LogOn system

Tigercat is pleased to announce the launch of LogOn, a powerful onboard information system to optimize machine performance and reduce downtime.

Users can now easily access detailed machine data and diagnostics tools at the worksite, including mechanical parameters, fuel economy, performance metrics, service codes, service manuals and more. Users can access detailed fault codes and important troubleshooting information onsite to help ensure the correct fix the first time.

“LogOn is a valuable new tool that allows you to access vital machine data onsite,” says telematics project manager, Irfan Zardadkhan. “Users can easily access the system through the Tigercat mobile app when they are within a few meters of the machine.”

Users open the Tigercat Mobile App on their smartphone, select the LogOn™ icon, and connect to the secure Wi-Fi hotspot to enter the system. From there, users have access to detailed activity charts, stem count and production volume, important failure cause and repair information, along with operator and service manuals. No electronic tools or cables are required.

The LogOn system collects data automatically and provides extensive built-in reporting and analytics. No operator training is required.

Data is displayed with an easy-to-use mobile interface. No cellular coverage is needed. An optional satellite modem allows access in the world’s most remote locations.

LogOn comes standard on all 2020 Tigercat machines.

Source: Tigercat

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Sweden's big little forest industry

Sweden is a small country in northern Europe where forestry has been a key business for almost 200 years - Today's' story is from a series of articles, describing what forestry has meant for Sweden and what it has done for forestry in the rest of the world, e.g. when it comes to development of technology. We will also have a look at forestry in the rest of Europe as well.

Basic facts about Sweden - Sweden is a part of both the Nordic Countries and Scandinavia. Apart from Sweden the Nordic countries are Iceland, Norway, Denmark and Finland. Denmark, Norway and Sweden are the three Scandinavian countries.

Sweden is 1,600 km (994 miles) long from south to north and is crossed by the polar circle. At the widest spot the width is approximately 500 km (311 miles). The total land area of the country is 40,823,000 hectares (100 875 830 acres). Of these are 23 550 000 hectares (58 193 317 acres) productive forest land. So, 58 % of the country is covered with trees. Although Sweden is a quite small country there are big differences between the north and the south of the country due to differences in climate. Most people live in the south, the large forest industries are in the north, the large forest areas are in the north, but the annual cut is much larger in the south.

How can that be? - The average annual growth in the southern parts of Sweden is 6,7 cubic meters (2 366 cubic foot) per hectare and year. In the north the annual growth is 4,2 cubic meters (1 483 cubic foot) per hectare and year. That´s why the 10,5 million hectares in the south produce more wood than the 13 million hectares in the north.

The total cut in Sweden in 2017 was 84 million cubic meters, 22 in the north and 62 in the south.

In wider economic importance wood and paper exports rank well down the export scale for Sweden. The following export product groups represent the highest dollar value in Swedish global shipments during 2018. Also shown is the percentage share each export category represents in terms of overall exports from Sweden.

1. Machinery including computers: US$27.1 billion (16.4% of total exports)
2. Vehicles: $24.9 billion (15%)
3. Electrical machinery, equipment: $14.9 billion (9%)
4. Mineral fuels including oil: $13.2 billion (8%)
5. Paper, paper items: $9 billion (5.4%)
6. Pharmaceuticals: $8.7 billion (5.2%)
7. Iron, steel: $7.3 billion (4.4%)
8. Plastics, plastic articles: $5.7 billion (3.5%)
9. Fish: $4.7 billion (2.9%)
10. Wood: $4.3 billion (2.6%)

Source: Various

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Who knew? Phone screens grow on trees

Who knew – Mobile phone screens from trees.

According to this recent post - US company Rayonier did!

More things you didn't know … from Rayonier – When we educate non-foresters about our industry, they're often shocked at the amount of everyday products that rely on sustainable forestry.

One of the biggest surprises is that touchscreens come from trees. They're made using highly-sensitive cellulose nanofibers.


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Buy and Sell

... and finally ... time for a laugh

"How come when you mix water and flour together you get glue, and then you add eggs and sugar and you get cake? Where does the glue go?" --Rita Rudner


I came home one night and my wife was crying.
I said, "Whats wrong?"
She said, "I'm home sick."
I said, "This is your home."
And she said, "Yes, and I'm sick of it."


"One nice thing about egotists: they don't talk about other people." ---George Carlin


Little Susie was Mommy's helper. She helped set the table when company was due for dinner.
Soon, everything was on, Mr. Smythe the guest came in, and everyone sat down. Then Mother noticed something was missing...
"Susie, dear," she said, "You didn't put a knife and fork at Mr. Smythe's place."
"But, Mommy, I thought he wouldn't need them," explained Susie. "Daddy says he always eats like a horse”.

That's all for this week's wood news.

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John Stulen
Innovatek Limited
PO Box 1230
Rotorua, New Zealand
Mob: +64 27 275 8011
Web: www.woodweek.com

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