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Tasmanian Blackwood Growers

Blackwood sawmillers


Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) has just released an updated Tasmanian Primary Wood Processor Directory.

The directory is a listing of 45 of the estimated 57 primary wood processing businesses believed to be operating within the State of Tasmania at the time of publication.

The directory has been primarily developed to help private forest owners with logs for sale to identify potential buyers. As well as enabling the forest owner to more easily locate and contact primary wood processors, it also identifies the log types purchased by them.

The directory also helps the listed primary wood processors to source logs from the Tasmanian private forest estate.

It isn’t at all clear to me how the directory helps the listed primary wood processors to source logs from the Tasmanian private forest estate, but anyway….

18 of the 45 listed processors indicate that they want to buy blackwood logs from private landowners. To find these processors simply download and open the document in Adobe Reader. Once the document is open press the Ctrl+Shift+F keys together on your computer. In the search box type “blackwood” and hit the Search button. All 18 instances of the word “blackwood” will now be shown.

ERRATUM: My apologies! I have just realised that three of the primary processors in the Directory list “special species” without listing blackwood separately. I assume these three processors include blackwood in their definition of special species. So that makes a total of 21 of the 45 listed processors are looking to buy blackwood logs from private growers/farmers. That is a very crowded market!!

That there are so many sawmillers around Tasmania looking to buy blackwood logs from private landowners I find very encouraging.

Clearly there is good demand for blackwood timber.

But what size and quality logs, and at what price? What markets are these processors accessing? These are critical questions that need answers.

If blackwood is Australia’s premier appearance-grade timber species then how do we build this industry into something proud and profitable?

How do we get greater transparency and tradability into the blackwood market?

How do we put the blackwood market on steroids?

I don’t mean artificially inflate the demand. I mean create much greater transparency and tradability into the blackwood market so landowners start to see some realtime market activity. Only then will landowners begin to think about investing in the future of blackwood.

How do we get farmers to make a 30-40 year investment commitment to grow more blackwood for the future as both remnant blackwood forest and in plantations?

ANSWER: By giving farmers as much incentive and positive market sentiment and feedback as we possibly can. Once farmers begin to see the blackwood market operating like other rural commodity markets then we might have some hope.

Every day we see blackwood timber making its way to the very highest of the wood value-adding markets both in Australia and increasingly overseas. Markets such as premium furniture, veneers, and musical instruments. So why isn’t this market demand stimulating grower interest? Why doesn’t Tasmania have a thriving blackwood grower community? Is growing blackwood a profitable investment for a landowner?

These 18 sawmillers can help answer these fundamental questions.

How many of these 18 processors are thinking about the future of the blackwood industry as anything other than a clean-up salvage operation?

Are they waiting for the Government to solve the problems of the forest industry, or are they prepared to take responsibility themselves and take some action?

These blackwood sawmillers are fundamental to the future success of Tasmania’s blackwood industry. But things need to change and change radically.

At the moment the blackwood market is completely obscure, which inhibits growth and investment in the industry.

The day that I can write my first Blackwood Market Report for Tasmanian Country will be a significant day for the blackwood industry.

There is plenty of potential and many opportunities with blackwood provided Tasmanians are prepared to help see them happen.

What’s in it for these sawmillers?

  • Access to more blackwood resource as more farmers participate in the market;
  • Collective marketing with access to more diverse, larger, more profitable markets;
  • Stronger links and relationships to both suppliers and buyers;
  • Being part of an expanding, high-value, niche market.

Or are we going to surrender our blackwood heritage to the New Zealand farmers?

I would like to hear some thoughts and ideas from these blackwood sawmillers. Reply to this blog, or phone or email me so we can have a discussion.




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