A proposal to develop New Zealand’s alternative, specialty timbers industry

cropped-p26-nicholas-presentation-blackwood-2011m.jpg

https://fgr.nz/2020/07/14/survey-a-proposed-industry-association-for-alternative-specialty-timbers-and-small-scale-sawmillers/

This sounds exciting!

As usual the New Zealand forest industry is generations ahead of anything happening here in Australia.

This new proposal to establish a NZ Specialty Timbers Association is just brilliant.

Unlike specialty timbers in Tasmania, the industry in NZ has nothing to do with plundering public native forests, or endless, repetitive political games.

New Zealand’s specialty timbers are farm-grown, and include plantations and managed native forest.

A discussion paper about the proposal is available from the above website. It is only 5 pages and well worth reading.

One of the interesting aspects of the proposal is the key role which portable sawmillers will play in the Association; providing the vital link between the marketplace and the thousands of specialty timbers growers in New Zealand.

The current focus of the discussion paper is on the NZ domestic markets which is fine. There are plenty of opportunities locally. But there are a few specialty species (incl. Blackwood) for which available volumes are already in excess of domestic demand, so that export markets must be developed immediately.

Two aspects that I believe are vital for the new Association to consider:

  1. An Industry Plan is needed, with objective, measurable goals and regular reviews. Having thousands of farmers randomly planting thousands of different timber species with no vision or coordination, will not build a viable future. The marketplace needs to develop a select list of preferred species, so that viable marketable quantities of quality wood from these species are available to the market.
  2. Lots of marketplace support and feedback, from builders, architects, craftspeople, etc., needs to be generated so that farmers can have a sense of what they are doing and why. Currently the marketplace completely avoids thinking 10, 20, 30 years into the future when it comes to timber supply. This must change!!

I will follow this story as it develops over the coming months and years.

Congratulations New Zealand!

You have done it again!!

A Change of Policy

BunningsBlockade

Having spent decades/generations complaining about protesting and blockading “greenies” in the public forests, and demanding legal and political protection from such activity, it seems the forest industry in Australia now openly supports a citizen’s right to protest and blockade.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-07-22/bunnings-logging-protest-after-ditching-victorian-timber/12479914?fbclid=IwAR1HFW46QenXcPH6egLqbAWwTMZZN3EAuVmatbi8wao16Q1ANP9d2fQGOPg

Who would have guessed that such a dramatic change in industry policy was possible?

https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2020/feb/21/tasmanian-anti-logging-protesters-banned-from-forests-over-unsafe-behaviour

Even politicians who have been champions of “lock up the protestors”, have changed their spots and are preparing to chain themselves to the nearest Bunnings charity barbeque.

Will that be white or wholemeal bread with your sausage Maam? Onions? Sauce or mustard? I hope your chains are comfortable Maam! Can I get you a seat?

https://www.theadvocate.com.au/story/6846846/will-braddon-mp-hit-a-bunnings-jail-snag/?cs=12&fbclid=IwAR3yr7tdPMtrABF2Xz02fMTJODND20qQU8gf87ZpGo5buZuXeUQUcYfDK80

It’s not a good look for the forest industry. Bunnings Hardware is stepping out courageously and developing a social conscience, and the forest industry is demanding that they stop!!

I’m not going to mention the “H” word because people get offended by that kind of language. Instead I’m giving these people the benefit of the doubt and assume the forest industry is now a champion of freedom and democracy. The right to protest is a fundamental cornerstone of democracy….even when you are on the receiving end of the protest!

From now on the forest industry will welcome protestors to the public forests with open arms, divided by values but brothers and sisters in freedom and democracy!

And we will hear no more rubbish about Anti-Protest Laws in Australia from either the forest industry or politicians, otherwise I will be forced to use the “H” word!!

It’s a New Age!!

More industry-destroying salvage timber

Whilst wandering around the internet I came across some more Australian salvage timber prices that are completely outrageous!

Once again this is farm salvage macrocarpa cypress.

But these prices are beyond ridiculous.

These prices are total destructive of farm forestry and the greater forest industry.

“Structural” grade macrocarpa timber for $800 per cubic metre???

Even the seriously large sizes are the same cheap price.

These prices are for lengths up to 4.2 metres. Pay 20% extra for lengths of 4.2-4.9m, 30% extra for lengths of 5-5.9m, 40% extra for lengths of 6-6.5m.

Madd

This sawmiller’s motto is “quality timber at affordable prices”!!

More like “premium timber at give-away prices” buy now before it’s all gone!!

This sawmiller obviously believes he’s doing a good job helping farmers get rid of unwanted trees and turning them into something useful.

Instead they are guaranteeing that no one will have premium timber in the future!

When I made this chart up, I had to go back and check my figures to make sure I was doing it right. I could not believe what I was seeing.

No farmer is going to bother growing cypress (or any tree) for wood production when its “sold” on the market at these prices.

If the forest industry wants a future; if the marketplace wants to have premium wood in 20, 30 years time, then this nonsense must stop!!

This kind of pricing destroys your future!

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2020/06/13/salvage-timber-markets-and-their-destructive-impact-on-the-forest-industry/

Bunnings and the Forest Industry Extremists

PS. I just discovered that Bunnings is Australia’s Most Trusted Brand:

http://www.roymorgan.com/findings/8199-roy-morgan-risk-monitor-november-2019-201911110700

So if the forest industry is going to pick a fight with Bunnings it is 100% guaranteed to go badly for the industry.

Cheers!

Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative

Bunningshttps://ausfpa.com.au/media-releases/bunnings-short-sighted-decision-will-cost-aussie-jobs-and-lead-to-environment-destroying-imports/?fbclid=IwAR0jgN7DidmkyPHn2LjzQwbXjN-ccbWDJYxgEi7LWoeVBxb_–z16rK-SDk

Am I surprised?

No not really!

The exaggerated rhetoric and chest beating of the forest industry extremists is utterly predictable.

Is Bunnings short sighted?

Absolutely not.

They have long-standing company policies that seek to improve the ethics and legality within its supply chains.

Bunnings has for many years been supportive of Vicforests efforts to gain FSC certification, but after numerous attempts Vicforests has failed to achieve what so many other forest managers have.

https://www.vicforests.com.au/

In 2018 Bunnings announced that come 2021 they would only sell FSC certified wood products.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-17/vic-forestry-industry-at-risk-of-collapse/10255128

Vicforests has had plenty of opportunity to prove its credentials. It has failed!

The Federal Court ruling in May was a “last straw” which Bunnings could not ignore.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-27/leadbeaters-possum-federal-court-rules-vicforests-logging-breach/12292046

https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/friends-of-leadbeaters-possum-v-vicforests

Vilification

The vilification by the AFPA of Bunnings and the Victorian community who care about THEIR forests, is downright reprehensible.

It does the greater forest industry no good whatsoever.

View original post 390 more words

IST Tender Results 2019-20

IST 1219 log35b

Well I’m sure we can all agree. It definitely hasn’t been your average year!

Island Specialty Timbers (IST), the only source of open, competitive, transparent market blackwood log prices, managed to conduct 6 log tenders during the year. A normal year would see 8-9 log tenders.

https://www.islandspecialtytimbers.com.au/

IST is a business enterprise of Sustainable Timber Tasmania (STT) which sources and retails raw material of Tasmanian specialty timbers from harvest or salvage operations conducted on State owned Permanent Timber Production Zone land (PTPZl).

You can read my previous annual tender summaries here:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/?s=tender

 

Blackwood Results

Despite the fact that blackwood is by far the most common specialty wood in Tasmania, IST insists on restricting tender sales of blackwood. Only 3 blackwood logs were put to tender this year in 2 of the 6 tenders; 3 logs out of a total of 194 logs put to tender!

That’s pretty pathetic!!

Tasmanian blackwood is the only specialty timber species that can be grown in commercial plantations. Having a plentiful supply of market information might actually stimulate investment in tree growing in Tasmania, but IST/STT and the Tasmanian Government are determined to prevent any useful market information being available.

IST/STT and the Tasmanian Government continue to support Welfare Forestry in Tasmania, instead of promoting a profitable commercial forest industry.

All 3 blackwood logs put to tender sold, 1 log had figured grain, the other 2 logs were plain grain.

All 3 logs were of good size and reasonable quality.

The figured grain blackwood log sold for $825/m3, total price $982.

The 2 plain grain blackwood logs sold for $400-$450/m3, total prices $468-$774.

The following chart shows the volume and price data for the last 6+ years for plain grain blackwood logs. Having enjoyed 4 years of steadily improving prices this year showed a subdued market.

These logs are sold into the small local Tasmanian market which restricts prices somewhat.

These prices are effectively mill door delivered, not stumpage prices.

IST 2020 blackwood prices

The following chart shows the range in size of the sold plain grain blackwood logs.

A target plantation grown blackwood log has a volume of 1.5 cubic metres and a small end diameter (SED) of approx. 50 cm.

IST 2020 blackwood vol SED

General Results

Overall IST put 112 cubic metres of specialty timbers to tender in 2019-20 of which 97 cubic metres sold for total revenue of $94,200.

Last year Sustainable Timbers Tasmania sold 9,747 cubic metres of specialty timbers, so these competitive tender sales represent a mere 1% of specialty timber sales from public forests in Tasmania.

The following chart shows the volume and price summary for all tenders back to 2015.

 

IST 2020 alltender volumes

The tiny volumes and wide variability in species and quality of logs that IST put to tender makes assessing trends over time difficult.

The next chart shows the average volume of the sold logs. Here there is a clear trend of diminishing log size. If it wasn’t for the occasional large eucalypt log IST throws into the tender mix, this trend of diminishing log size would be even more evident.

IST 2020 alltender logvol

The following 2 charts show the above data summarised by year:

IST 2020 annual volumes

What remains apparent is that the market continues to pay high prices for quality timber.

IST 2020 annual logvol

The main focus of IST tenders is black heart sassafras (Atherosperma moschatum) which can command very high prices for good logs.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atherosperma

However the tree is slow growing (500+ years to reach commercial size) and is restricted to rainforest and old growth eucalypt forest, so supplies of this species are dwindling.

Surprisingly the marketplace continues to support the plundering of Tasmania’s last ancient forests!

For 2019-20 black heart sassafras made up 37% of sold volume and 52% of tender revenue, whilst eucalypt feature grain logs made up 22% of sold volume and 9% of tender revenue.

6.7 cubic metres of celery top pine logs (Phyllocladus aspleniifolius) were sold at an average price of $1,050 per cubic metre.

Overall highlights for the year were $4,975 per cubic metre paid for a small musk (Olearia argophylla) log; whilst a total price of $2,933 was paid for a medium sized black heart sassafras log.

Bunnings and the Forest Industry Extremists

Bunnings

https://ausfpa.com.au/media-releases/bunnings-short-sighted-decision-will-cost-aussie-jobs-and-lead-to-environment-destroying-imports/?fbclid=IwAR0jgN7DidmkyPHn2LjzQwbXjN-ccbWDJYxgEi7LWoeVBxb_–z16rK-SDk

Am I surprised?

No not really!

The exaggerated rhetoric and chest beating of the forest industry extremists is utterly predictable.

Is Bunnings short sighted?

Absolutely not.

They have long-standing company policies that seek to improve the ethics and legality within its supply chains.

Bunnings has for many years been supportive of Vicforests efforts to gain FSC certification, but after numerous attempts Vicforests has failed to achieve what so many other forest managers have.

https://www.vicforests.com.au/

In 2018 Bunnings announced that come 2021 they would only sell FSC certified wood products.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-09-17/vic-forestry-industry-at-risk-of-collapse/10255128

Vicforests has had plenty of opportunity to prove its credentials. It has failed!

The Federal Court ruling in May was a “last straw” which Bunnings could not ignore.

https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-05-27/leadbeaters-possum-federal-court-rules-vicforests-logging-breach/12292046

https://www.fedcourt.gov.au/services/access-to-files-and-transcripts/online-files/friends-of-leadbeaters-possum-v-vicforests

Vilification

The vilification by the AFPA of Bunnings and the Victorian community who care about THEIR forests, is downright reprehensible.

It does the greater forest industry no good whatsoever.

Will there be job losses?

Absolutely!!

But the WELFARE FOREST INDUSTRY must face its Waterloo.

And the longer the battle rages and the more vehement the rhetoric, the worse the damage will be.

The AFPA is clearly determined to maximise the damage.

Will Bunnings actions lead to greater forest destruction overseas?

This is more disingenuous rhetoric from the AFPA.

Australia has legislation that specifically prevents the importation of illegal timber. You can read about it here:

https://www.agriculture.gov.au/forestry/policies/illegal-logging

If Bunnings is only selling FSC certified wood products, how does that lead to greater illegal forest destruction overseas? The logic doesn’t work!!

With this rhetoric the AFPA is implying that Australians do NOT care where their timber comes from, whilst Bunnings is showing us that Australians do care!

Another implication is that the AFPA believes that the FSC supports illegal destructive logging. I wonder what the FSC has to say about that??!!

Exactly who is the AFPA trying to offend??

None of this exaggerated hostile rhetoric does the forest industry any good whatsoever.

Contempt of Court

Instead the AFPA would rather push the boundaries of Contempt of Court by suggesting that the Federal Court is being misled or in error in its judgement.

Dangerous ground indeed!!

Bunnings is to be commended for having a social conscience and sticking to it despite the political heat.

If only more Australian businesses were like minded. I’m thinking here especially of Australias other hardware empire Home Timber & Hardware:

https://www.homehardware.com.au/

which so far seems to have little sense of corporate responsibility.

https://www.metcash.com/corporate-social-responsibility/responsible-sourcing/

Come 1st January 2021

Bunnings revised its timber policy to require all native forest timber products to be independently certified to Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or equivalent standard by the end of 2020. Officeworks and Bunnings both recognise FSC® as the leading forestry certification scheme due to its high environmental and social standards for responsible and sustainable forest management, as well as its chain of custody processes and balanced governance structure.

https://sustainability.wesfarmers.com.au/our-principles/sourcing/suppliers/

Come 1st January 2021 Bunnings and Officeworks will add the NSW Forestry Corporation and Sustainable Timbers Tasmania to its list of proscribed suppliers

https://www.forestrycorporation.com.au/

https://www.sttas.com.au/

since neither of these Government forest agencies have achieved FSC certification.

There is much change and pain ahead.

I only wish the forest industry would adopt a more positive approach.

I am not hopeful!

Bunnings stops selling timber logged by VicForests after court ruling

Bunnings

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jul/01/bunnings-stops-selling-timber-logged-vicforests-court-ruling

HOORAY!!

Bunnings, Australia’s largest hardware chain and retailer of public native forest products, has brought forward its decision to end the sale of Vicforest products by 6 months.

Back in May the Federal Court ruled that Vicforests was in breach of Australia’s environmental laws. It’s not the first time Vicforests has been in court, so Bunnings has decided enough is enough!

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/may/27/vicforests-breached-forestry-agreement-with-central-highlands-logging-court-rules

The first domino in the marketplace has fallen. The pressure will now mount in the marketplace for other businesses to follow Bunnings example.

The end of WELFARE FORESTRY in Australia is in sight.

Wesfarmers/Bunnings/Officeworks policy is to only sell FSC certified timber products come the 1st January 2021:

https://sustainability.wesfarmers.com.au/our-principles/sourcing/suppliers/

Now Vicforests, then Sustainable Timbers Tasmania will no longer enjoy Bunnings support come December.

Bunnings are to be congratulated on having a social conscience and sticking to it!

Made my day!!

Timber supply chain constraints in the Australian plantation sector

pine2

https://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/House/Standing_Committee_on_Agriculture_and_Water_Resources/Timbersupply

On 26 September 2019, the Standing Committee on Agriculture and Water Resources received a referral from Assistant Minister Duniam for an inquiry into timber supply chain constraints in the Australian plantation sector.

The Committee invites submissions addressing any or all of the terms of reference for the inquiry.

Submissions are requested by Monday, 17 August 2020.

The Committee is dominated by conservative Government members so the chances of anything useful coming from the inquiry are very limited.

Nevertheless here is my submission

Submission

Yet another inquiry into the forest industry in Australia!!!

I think it would be useful for the Committee to do a quick review/summary of every other forest industry inquiry/report. There have been hundreds over the past 50 years, with most of their recommendations having never been implemented.

The Committee could seek to answer the question why have so few previous recommendations been implemented?

Terms of Reference

To inquire and report on:

  • the nature of wood supply from Australia’s plantation sector including:
    • Projected timber volumes available over the next 30 years and the potential grades of logs available.

The question needs to be asked, does current and projected wood supply from Australia’s plantation sector meet current and future needs? Answer. NO!

The next question needs to be asked, if growing timber in Australia is profitable why doesn’t everyone (farmers) know about it? If it is not profitable, then what is the point of this inquiry?

Another relevant question is, what’s wrong with imported timber? If New Zealand farmers can grow timber cheaper than Australia then good luck to them I say! We do not need to be self sufficient in wood products just for the sake of self sufficiency!

 

  • The plantation wood supply available for domestic softwood processors including:
    • Current and future demand for logs for domestic processors; and
    • Any shortfall in current processing industry demand for logs.

This TOR definitely smacks of protectionism and market manipulation. Do you want farmers to invest in trees? If so then get rid of this protectionist bullshit. Domestic processors must compete in open competitive transparent markets, otherwise the domestic processors become increasingly high cost and uncompetitive, which has negative impacts throughout the supply chain from growers to retailers and consumers.

 

  • The competitiveness of log pricing between domestic and export market.

Who in Australia knows what the domestic and export log prices are, let alone whether they are competitive? I’m a forester with 40 years in the industry and I have never ever known!! What does that tell the Committee?

A former Director of Forestry Tasmania once said:

The lack of price transparency for forest products, particularly from hardwood forests/plantations [in Australia], represents an impediment to the uptake of farm forestry. Unlike other commodities, price information for forest products is not published through the newspaper or accessible online. Better price transparency is required to encourage smallscale investment in trees.

Curiously Forestry Tasmania has never ever supported price transparency.

New Zealand has a REAL forest industry with excellent log price transparency. Australia has a completely dysfunctional forest industry.

 

  • The term of log supply contracts needed to support the processing sectors.

This TOR, like the second TOR above, is all about destroying the forest industry through market manipulation and protectionist policies. Local processors must compete in open competitive transparent markets. It is NOT the job of dairy farmers to subsidise cheese makers NOR is it the job of tree growers to subsidise local industry.

 

  • Opportunities to increase Australia’s wood supply, including identifying and addressing barriers to plantation establishment.

There are abundant opportunities to increase Australia’s wood supply, but they are vastly outnumbered by the barriers to plantation establishment. Many previous forest industry reports have addressed these issues, with all those previous reports now collecting dust on library shelves around Australia.

I have to ask why we need yet another report when the answers are already known! The forest industry in Australia is completely dysfunctional. Does it behave like a commercial business desperately wanting a future? No it does not!

 

  • The role that state governments could have in assisting in addressing any problems identified by the work of this committee.

All State Governments that engage in public native forestry (WA, Vic, NSW and Qld) are all engaged in industry-destroying Welfare Forestry. Welfare Forestry is all about subsiding processors and “saving jobs”. It has nothing at all to do with real commercial forestry.

The forestry industry in Australia has no future whilst Welfare Forestry continues to undermine the industry.

State Governments should be encouraging profitable tree growing, but all of them refuse to do this.

 

  • Make any recommendations around any code of conduct or management mode that could assist in addressing any problems identified by the work of this committee.

Please read all previous reports and inquiries and implement the recommendations!

But as just one example, New Zealand has a single set of environmental regulations that apply to all primary producers. The regulations do not discriminate against the forest industry. Similarly to overcome differences between local Council regulations, the NZ forest industry implemented a single set of plantation management guidelines that work across the entire country. Contrast this with Australia where the industry faces a mountain of diverse changing regulations across the country.

How can Australia hope to compete with NZ? We can’t! It is not possible!

 

Blackwood

Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) is Australia’s premium appearance grade timber. It can be grown successful in plantations, as NZ farmers are doing, and potentially it has a very high market value. But most blackwood comes from Tasmania where the State government and the forest industry work to undermine the market and supply the market with cheap taxpayer subsidised blackwood. Transparent competitive markets for blackwood do not exist because neither the Government nor industry want transparent competitive markets.

Attempting to establish a Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative is therefore impossible due to Government and industry policy.

Conclusion

I’m a forester with 40+ years experience in the industry. And for all that time, after hundreds of forest industry plans/strategies/inquiries and reports the industry in Australia remains moribund and dysfunctional.

New Zealand has a real forest industry, one of the most successful in the world. But we choose not to learn from their example. Up until 1990 the NZ forest industry was run by the Government, including public native forestry, plantations and sawmills. In the early 1990s the New Zealand Government decided to get out of the forest industry entirely. Public native forestry was shut down, and plantations and sawmills were sold. Since then the NZ industry has gone from strength to strength, and is now one of New Zealands major industries; fully private, commercial and profitable!! Do they still have challenges and opportunities? Absolutely! But they are committed and capable of resolving every one!!

The NZ forest industry is now 30 years ahead of the Australian forest industry and pulling further ahead of us every day. Will Australia even have a forest industry in another 30 years time? Not if we keep going the way we are!

Good luck with your Committee and its report and recommendations.

 

Sincerely,

 

Dr Gordon Bradbury

Hobart

Tasmania

Salvage Timber Markets and their Destructive Impact on the Forest Industry

If we had a real forest industry in Australia and properly functioning timber markets then salvage timber would be just another option in the marketplace. But neither of these conditions applies.

Australia does NOT have a real forest industry NOR does it have proper functioning timber markets.

So when I go to buy macrocarpa cypress timber for a project and pay a price that is ridiculously cheap I realise that, as a consumer, I am helping to destroy the forest industry that I am so passionate about.

The chart below shows the price list for green macrocarpa from the retailer I went to.

The chart shows that regardless what size timber you buy, you are paying the same very low price by volume.

This is salvage macrocarpa from old farm trees around Tasmania. The quality of the salvage timber is variable. But good quality macrocarpa is a premium timber.

Macrocarpa

Cypress is also an ideal farm forestry tree as New Zealand farmers are well aware. It is quick growing, easy to grow on a wide range of sites, and produces a premium timber.

https://www.nzffa.org.nz/farm-forestry-model/species/cypress/

But I know of only 4 farmers in Tasmania who are growing macrocarpa in small plantations.

This is despite the fact that the timber is in high demand.

So when sawmillers and log traders buy old farm trees and pay next-to-nothing for them, and timber retailers sell the timber for bargain prices, who gets the message that demand and prices are high? What farmers are going to invest in growing this premium timber when the marketplace fails as it clearly is?

If I had to pay the real (replacement) cost of growing this wood, plus a premium for the fact that I am buying a premium product, I would expect to pay MUCH MORE than $2,780 per cubic metre.

Never mind that the price list shows no price premium for large sizes as there should be.

If it was Tasmanian oak I’d be paying over $10,000 per cubic metre for my pieces of timber!!

This is a typical salvage timber price list.

The price list is designed to reflect the fact that no one is deliberately growing this wood in Tasmania.

In other words the price list is designed to prevent investment in tree growing.

Tasmania could have a thriving, valuable macrocarpa industry, but it chooses not too; as if Tasmania has a super abundance of commercial opportunities from which to choose.

Sawmillers and timber merchants traditionally take no responsibility for their own future. It is someone else’s job to encourage and support tree growers.

Would any of my New Zealand readers like to share their local price of macrocarpa/cypress timber?

Within Australia I would include public native forestry within this same “salvage” category since the market price for public native forest timbers does not reflect the cost of growing the wood.

It is the responsibility of the marketplace to support and encourage tree growing otherwise there will be no timber in the future.

How do we fix timber markets in Australia so they support commercial tree growing?

How do we stop the salvage timber market from undermining the forest industry?

When will Australia get a real forest industry?

Hydrowood Timber Price Update

The forest industry, including timber traders, are notoriously secretive about timber prices, including Hydrowood.

So I stumbled upon some updated prices for Tasmania’s premium timbers from Hydrowood.

https://www.hydrowood.com.au/

They are an eye opener to say the least.

I did a review of Hydrowood blackwood prices back in 2016:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/08/03/hydrowood-blackwood-prices-at-uptons/

There is little information on the updated prices, but what they do show is worth a story.

Hydro2020

Prices for select blackwood and myrtle have increased by 28% over the last 4 years to $6,160 per cubic metre, whilst prices for plain sassafras have increased by 35%!

Hydrowood select blackwood and Myrtle is still significantly cheaper than Tasmanian oak at Bunnings Hardware. Premium timbers at heavily discounted prices!

But then we get to the gold!

Prices for Huon pine and fiddleback blackwood have increased by 158% to a massive $26,700 per cubic metre.

The Hydrowood price list in 2016 showed a flat uniform price-by-volume regardless of timber size. There are indications that Hydrowood has moved away from this to better reflect cost and recovery.

So what does this mean for current and prospective timber growers?

It means giving away public assets to create welfare jobs while undermining the forest industry is not a good strategy.

It means selling Tasmania’s premium timbers at heavily discounted prices sends the wrong message to the community and the marketplace.

Does the forest industry want a future? Apparently not!!

Dysfunctional timber markets is just one of the many issues that the new Tasmanian Forest Products Association has to deal with.

In the mean time we can definitely grow premium plain-grain select blackwood in plantations, in the hope that one day all this great bloody mess will be sorted out!

And this great quote from a former Director of Forestry Tasmania:

The lack of price transparency for forest products, particularly from hardwood forests/plantations [in Australia], represents an impediment to the uptake of farm forestry. Unlike other commodities, price information for forest products is not published through the newspaper or accessible online. Better price transparency is required to encourage smallscale investment in trees.

Do I need say anymore?