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Newsletter 70, April 2014

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New Zealand Farm Forestry Association
P.O. Box 10349
The Terrace

Wellington 6143

Farm Forestry Newsletter
 May 2014  No. 70

In this issue

Wood quality - is it still relevant?

Delivering Planning Consistency for Forestry under the RMA

Report on National Conference, Blenheim 11-15 April 2014

The Falcon Claw

Doubling forest productivity sustainably


Ian Jackson
-South Canterbury
-North Otago

-Sthn High Country (north)

Vice President
Dean Satchell
-Far North
-Mid North

Newsletter editor
Dean Satchell

National Executive

Angus Gordon

-Taupo & Districts
-Middle Districts
-Hawkes Bay

Neil Cullen
-Mid Otago
-South Otago
-Men of Trees
-Sthn High Country (south)

Hamish Levack
-Gisborne East Coast

Patrick Milne

-West Coast
-Central Canterbury
-North Canterbury

Peter Berg

-Lower North

-Bay of Plenty


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Events: Branch secretaries, please notify head office of any branch or action group events.
For more information on these events they are posted on the website >>

  • Marlborough Trees on farms Workshop
    Theme: Trees and farming for water quality, Wednesday May 7
  • Nelson Branch Trees on Farms workshop
    Theme: Trees on farms, Where are we going? Wednesday 7th May
  • South Otago Branch AGM, 8th May
  • TREES FOR BEES - Eastwoodhill Arboretum, Gisborne, May 9th and 10th 2014
  • West Coast Trees on Farms Workshop
    Theme: Opportunities for trees on the West Coast, Friday 9th May
  • Mid Otago Branch Trees on Farms Workshop
    Theme: Opportunities for trees on hill and high country farms in Otago, Tuesday 13th May
  • South Otago Trees on Farms Workshop
    Theme: Opportunities for trees on all farms in South Otago, 14th May
  • Bay of Plenty Branch Field Trip to Gisborne 15/16/17th May
  • Southland and Men of Trees, Trees on Farms Workshop
    Theme: Opportunities for trees on intensively managed farms in Southland, Thursday 15th May
  • Mid North Trees on Farms Workshop
    Theme: Believe us: trees can make you money!, Wednesday 21st May 2014
  • Far North Branch Trees on Farms Workshop
    Theme: Trees: an essential part of sustainable land use, Thursday 22nd May 2014
  • Lower North Trees on Farms Workshop
    Theme: Adding value with trees, Saturday 24th May 2014
  • NZIF 2014 Conference. This will be held at the War Memorial Conference Centre in Napier from Sunday 6th to Wednesday 9th July 2014. The theme is “Tackling Challenges and Delivering Value”. 

Wood quality - is it still relevant?

Free Scion workshop, Christchurch 7th May and Rotorua 14th May

Forest managers and wood processors want to realise the greatest value from their resource by getting the balance between quality and volume correct. There is an old adage that you can’t manage for both maximum value and maximum volume at the same time. However, current market conditions only allow small premiums for higher quality logs.  Managing for maximum value can be achieved by managing for maximum volume – with implications for wood quality. But will this always be the case and what are the implications of increased productivity on wood quality? Both forest growers and wood processors want to improve both quality and uniformity, but what does this mean and how might we achieve it.

The objective of this workshop is to give participants a better understanding of how wood properties develop over time, how stands respond to silvicultural treatments, and what quality variation means to wood processors. The workshop is aimed at forest managers, consultants and wood processors and will discuss a number of high level issues, the main ones being:
How important is wood quality for our major markets now and in the future?
What are the current issues?

More information >>

Delivering Planning Consistency for Forestry under the RMA

The Ministry for Primary Industries has been working closely with representatives from the forestry sector, local government, and environmental NGOs to address the inconsistent treatment of forestry activities under the RMA.

Bulletin 2 is now available in a series of information bulletins to inform stakeholder of the progress the Ministry for Primary Industries led working group has made. The first Bulletin and more information on the work programme can be found on the MPI website.

If you require any further information please contact me ( (04) 819 4675) or Peter Lough ( (04) 894 0404).

Aoife Martin, MPI

National Conference, Blenheim 11-15 April 2014

A personal view by Ruth Houghton, Mid Otago branch

The programme included three great field days as well as meetings which I found more interesting than anticipated.  Lively discussion included anticipated changes to re position the organisation to be of value to younger members and forest investors in addition to farmers.  It was great to see two of our newest Mid Otago members attending.

The day on Pelorus Sound was a highlight for me.  Access issues for harvest as well as the incursion of wilding pines in conservation areas were considered.  Even landing for lunch included a coordinated effort with the local barge company (operating here for over 95 years) which allowed us to get on to the beach with dry feet; the barge was there for removing logs from the Hopai foreshore. Scenery and afternoon tea of mussels completed the day.

Another significant day was the visit to see steep land harvesting using new technology.  “Safety is paramount” – this was  the message from Dale Ewers, Moutere Logging.  The Falcon Claw, operated  from the skid site, using cameras, could do the breaking-out even  in darkness (such as during the fire season when early starts-3 am- were required). This has been operating since October 2012 , with continual refinement.  Dale says he does not want to patent it but to keep it free for others to use and continue to improve. Like many others in the industry, he has seen close friends injured and/or killed while working. One or two people from our group viewing the operation tried to focus on cost, but Dale continued to emphasize the significance of safety in these technological developments.

The ClimbMAX  steep slope harvester is another innovation which protects operators.  (For more information on these developments see

Scion scientists were active participants in the field days and added value to the events. :  Manuka tree stands are decreasing due to clearance, but also as they reach about 25 years of age no longer produce sufficient pollen for honey production.  A security of supply issue is an issue for the honey industry.  New stands of 5-10 ha need to be established (Simeon Smaill, Scion)

Radiata pine permanent growth sample plots provide an important source of information for New Zealand (established by FRI and now available to Scion). Native riparian plantings, mycorrhizase and root development, and emerging species research at Scion were also highlighted in presentations.

The Falcon Claw

On Tuesday Hamish Levack and I along with others saw the Falcon Claw working as part of the steep land harvesting trip. There is a video of this on this weeks Friday Offcuts and it seems to me a big advance in preventing accidents while breaking out. At the logging site we observed the trees had been felled by a excavator with cutting head held by a rope so removing almost entirely the human logger exposed to accident. Dale Ewers who developed the Claw is planning to adapt it to also fell trees. It sounds like he did this work without any assistance from FFR.
Neil Cullen

Like Neil I was very impressed with the Falcon claw, and have subsequently also googled the Climbmax, a tethered steep hill robot tree felling machine, which we did not manage to see because of the weather.  Together they are more cost efficient than conventional systems re harvesting costs, but also are much safer, leave the cutover cleaner, [making replanting cheaper], and disturb the topsoil less. It  seems to be a major breakthrough.
Hamish Levack

Doubling forest productivity sustainably

A multi-disciplinary team of scientists at Scion and other research organisations is embarking on a six year research programme aimed at raising the profitability of current and future commercial forestry. More >>
(Source: Friday offcuts)


Disclaimer: Personal views expressed in this newsletter are those of the writers and do not necessarily represent those of the NZ Farm Forestry Association.



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