Tasmanian Primary Wood Processors Directory 2016

Having just come back from this field day up in the North West of Tasmania
my one overriding take home message was just how important sawmillers and wood processors are to the future of the forest industry.

They are the front line troops.

If they are struggling to survive then the forest industry doesn’t stand a chance. If they aren’t sending out constant positive supporting messages to tree growers then the forest industry is dead!!!!!

The sawmill we visited yesterday was trying hard to stay afloat, to remain viable, but they had no energy or resources to send positive messages or support to tree growers.

The forest industry in Tasmania is in crisis.

And our politicians play politics.

The field day was great, but the over riding message was one of despair and chaos.

And we are facing a 12 month bitter, divisive State election campaign where the forest industry will be used for political gain.

Oh Tasmania!!!

Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative


The 2016 Wood Processor Directory is now available from the Private Forests Tasmania website.

I’ve reviewed these Directories in previous years:


This Directory is the sum total of “market information” that the forest industry in Tasmania wants the general public to see. Apparently the expectation is that farmers will rush out and invest in growing trees because of this directory. Or is it simply there to assist in the salvage of what remains of the private forest estate?

The Directory is a listing of 42 of the estimated 51 primary wood processors believed to be operating in the State of Tasmania. It 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.  The Directory also helps the listed primary wood processors to source logs from…

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9 responses to “Tasmanian Primary Wood Processors Directory 2016

  1. Hi Gordon, strong contrast to the vibe im getting in sth Africa this week, about to attend the precision forestry meeting. Forestry globally has a strong and important future role, and we need Tassie to be a part of it.

  2. Fair suck of the sauce bottle, Gordon!

    You supported those who sought to destroy the sawmilling sector, and they did a pretty thorough job!

    You can’t cry foul now, without trashing your own diminished credibility even further.

    You are too far over the edge for me….

    On Sun, Feb 26, 2017 at 6:10 PM, Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative wrote:

    > gordonjbradbury posted: “Having just come back from this field day up in > the North West of Tasmania http://www.pft.tas.gov.au/ > home/home_articles/north_west_tree_growers_field_day my one overriding > take home message was just how important sawmillers and wood processors are > to the ” >

    • Hi George,
      I support those who support a fully commercial profitable forest industry. Within the Tasmanian context that is a difficult thing to do because there are so many people who are opposed to this objective for various reasons.

      Blackwood has no future outside of a fully commercial profitable industry model.

      Taxpayer-funded community service forestry is a failed policy.



  3. The flyer for the field visit mentioned milling nitens. Was this from a farm plantation? I understand nitens was popular for farm forestry in Vic 20 years ago on the basis of early good results in some local trials. But the species hasn’t gone so well in at least some farm forestry plots and doesn’t tend to be recommended any more. Was there anything at the field day about how the species had grown? And what were the milling results? Were they young trees? What product were they being milled for?



    • Hi David,

      Yes I think the Euc. nitens logs being milled were farm grown. I think the trees were 27 years old and good size. It is part of a research/product development project that the sawmill is working on. They are investigating milling both clear pruned butt logs and the 2nd and 3rd unpruned logs. The pruned logs are being processed for appearance grade products including flooring, whilst the unpruned logs are being tested for engineered products such as Glulam beams.

      There was quite vigorous discussion about regimes and sites for nitens. No one was recommending planting any more. We have an abundant existing resource to work through. Talked to some farmers who are sitting on a pruned resource with no market except for pulp – pretty sad really.

      So what are my thoughts on plantation euc hardwood?

      It’s a difficult market now and wont get any easier I expect, especially for small scale farm growers. Not unless someone like the Australian Furniture Association creates a plan for future wood supply and builds relationships with farm foresters.

      Durable euc hardwoods will be a small specialist market best suited to the farm grower/sawmiller/enthusiast.

      Engineered wood products will be a “big boys” game in which farm tree growers will have a difficult time.

      All this could change dramatically if State and Federal government policy shifted focus from public native forestry to private wood growers. But I see no evidence of this happening any time soon.



      • I followed the link you posted the other day and contacted AFA. I’ve told them what we’re growing on our block and suggested a seminar between furniture makers and farm foresters to see what the furniture makers want. Woodworkers, for example, in my experience can have quite different requirements compared to the standard timber supply chain. I’m interested to see what furniture makers want and if this goes outside standard timber supplies. If furniture makers are interested in species such as ash and bluegum and prepared to pay more than the current prices this could make these fast growing species viable for farm foresters. And if they would like other less common species – which I suspect is the case – this could be a good fit.

        If durable species stay a niche with high prices that would suit farm foresters. I don’t understand why there wasn’t more enthusiasm for planting ironbarks and boxes 20 years ago during that flush of interest in farm forestry. (And I don’t understand why there was strong interest in nitens at that time which doesn’t have an obvious market differentiator. Doesn’t matter how fast it grows if you can’t sell it for a good price.) Even if the ironbarks grow slower than ash etc the prices even quite small posts sell for are very attractive. Most of the current ironbark supply is from private and state native forest in NSW and Qld. Increasing restrictions on native forestry will be an upward pressure on prices. And posts are relatively simple to process onfarm which increases return to growers. Our boxes and ironbarks are young but growing well so far. Even if farm grown Class 1 durables are not quite as durable as slower grown native forest trees, as long as you get a suitable operational life for a particular use this is what matters. Some of the farm forestry ironbark in Vic north of the divide is not far off some initial commercial thinning/harvest. ‘Twill be interesting to see how it goes WRT markets and prices.

        With appropriate marketing there may be export markets for Class 1 and 2 durable species. The only way to get a naturally durable timber is to grow it. Again, with CITES restrictions etc sustainably grown quality timber may attract a premium.

        I agree with you re supplying timber for engineered wood products. Very much a commodity. If these plants pay higher than pulp prices this might be a good market for logs without another market.

        Regarding your comments on shifting gov attention from native to farm forestry, I don’t see how this would help with the fundamental problem now of crap returns from farm forestry for the commodity species. The WA initiative will be interesting to to keep an eye on WRT this issue. Getting some assistance with genetics/silviculture/onfarm harvest and process techniques/market identification and development for less commonly grown species with the potential for higher returns would be useful. And quite justifiable under current economics as a very strong case could be made IMO that this is an example of market failure.

        What’s PFT up to in this regard? They seem to have a good whack of gov funding. Are they doing work in species beyond commodity species such as ash, bluegum etc?

      • All very good comments David.

        Good luck with your approach to the AFA. I hope something comes of it. I’m also working on this.

        My comment re Government policy was simply about removing the fog of subsidies, waste and politics so the market can focus on what is commercial and what isn’t; what is profitable and what isn’t.

        And farmers become the focus for the industry/processors/exporters/manufacturers.

        I hope the “Forests for Life” initiative takes a very cautious approach to advocating planting commodity wood.

        Poor old PFT have been reduced to a skeleton staff and skeleton budget. The Tasmanian Governments rhetoric to “rebuild the forest industry” does not include PFT.

        In fact most people I spoke too at the field day were deeply disappointed with the current Government after all the rhetoric of the 2014 election. They did not see it as a scam (as I did) and were happy to vote Liberal. “Industry betrayed” would be one way of describing it!

        And here we are 12 months from the next State election with the forest industry about to suffer another enormous political blow.



      • Are there any reports etc that summarise what PFT are seen to have achieved? My understanding is that there hasn’t been a significant increase in Tasmanian farm forestry estate over recent years. An increase in this estate would be one signifier of successful initiatives. I think the current estimate for Vic farm forestry estate is a bit over 20k hectares and currently likely to be dropping. Which again indicates that the current environment isn’t conducive to developing farm forestry.

      • Hi David,

        You could try their Annual Reports:


        I suspect like Victoria the Tasmanian private forest estate is shrinking as significant areas of MIS plantation are either bulldozed and burnt or harvested and put back to pasture. Harvest volumes have increased but mostly private and I suspect mostly salvage.



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