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Tasmanian Blackwood Growers

Those New Zealand farmers are on a winner growing blackwood.

The latest newsletter from AMIGO, the New Zealand blackwood growers group has just arrived. They are having their AGM on the 5-6th November 2011, but unfortunately I can’t attend. Maybe next year. The newsletter has some interesting information. Here are some quotes from AMIGO Chairman Ian Nicholas:

“In May I was fortunate to host two Chile Researchers from INFOR, the government Forest Research Institute, Juan Carlos Pinilla from Concepcion and Juan Carlos Valencia from Valdivia. I took them on a whistle stop tour of blackwood in NZ that included Hunua ranges, Waikato, King Country, Rotorua, Tauranga, Harihari and Canterbury.

From Canterbury I joined them to see blackwood in Tasmania. I think this was a major shock to them. Kiwis growing plantation blackwood and Tasmanians still pursuing mixtures or sticking with managing native regeneration. There were a few nice examples of good trees and some showing disastrous experiences.

I was a little frustrated, after visiting Tasmania for 23 ears, there is almost no best practice plantations to show a visitor! Even one of their key blackwood sawmillers suggested there was no future in plantations, will they still say that when we export timber to them?

While there the two Juans gave a talk to a forestry audience and I chipped in with a summary of NZ experiences with blackwood.

This fired up ex-blackwood researcher Dr Gordon Bradbury who has subsequently tried to initiate a blackwood growers group in Tasmania. As chairman of AMIGO I provided a letter of support, watch this space.”

So both the New Zealanders and the Chileans think Tasmania is lagging behind in developing its blackwood potential. Maybe it is time to change….

And here is another interesting piece from the newsletter:

“Blackwood timber fetches good prices: On the good news front Malcolm Mackenzie from Otorohanga, who felled some blackwood trees as part of a pine logging operation, had them sawn up and recently sold some dried timber to Peter King’s 4th Generation ( factory at Carterton. On boards that were clear on
two faces and met King’s criteria, Malcolm was receiving $3,000/m3.

With imported blackwood ranging from $3,120/m3 to $5,170/m3 for 100 x 25 mm to 150 x 40 mm respectively ( there is an opportunity for good prices from Z grown quality timber. Congratulations to Paul Millen who spotted that 30% is added to these prices for lengths 2.1 m or longer (i.e. $4,056/m3 and $6,72l1m3!). Another reason to get pruning blackwood for form and clearwood.”

The majority of New Zealand’s well-managed farm-grown blackwood is still a few years away from harvest age, but small volumes are starting to come onto the market, and obviously having no trouble getting good local prices, even in competition with blackwood imported from Tasmania!!


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