Tag Archives: Private Forests Tasmania

Tasmanian Primary Wood Processors Directory 2016

pft_tpwpd2016

http://www.pft.tas.gov.au/publications/market_information

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

I’ve reviewed these Directories in previous years:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2015/10/07/tasmanian-primary-wood-processor-directory-2015/

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 the Tasmanian private forest estate.

There’s nothing in that statement about becoming more efficient, profitable and building the industry.

Of the 42 businesses listed in the directory 16 indicate they are looking to buy blackwood logs from private growers, whilst 2 businesses list special species sawlogs without specifically mentioning blackwood. I assume these 2 businesses include blackwood in their requirements.

As in previous years Britton Brothers PL of Smithton, Australia’s largest blackwood sawmiller, apparently does not buy blackwood sawlogs from private growers.

That makes 18 out of 42 businesses (43%) listed as buying blackwood sawlogs from private growers.

To find these businesses:

  1. download the directory from the PFT website
  2. open the directory in Acrobat Reader
  3. Press CTRL+Shift+F to open the Search box
  4. Type “blackwood” in the search box and press Search.

As I said last year, there are far too many players in the blackwood market for the tiny volumes coming off private property.

Yes we need competition.

We also need much greater price and market transparency.

Simply having a Directory of Processors is a long way from building a profitable sustainable future.

The Tasmanian blackwood industry needs to be more commercial, efficient and profitable. This means fewer processors who are processing larger volumes more efficiently, accessing more valuable markets and offering growers better money to encourage more blackwood growing.

Clearly this is not happening in Tasmania!

Which of these 18 businesses are offering the best prices for blackwood logs?

Which of these 18 businesses have access to a variety of high-value domestic and export markets?

Which of these 18 businesses provide price and market transparency to stimulate interest and encourage investment?

Which of these 18 businesses are actively encouraging Tasmanian farmers to grow/regrow commercial blackwood for the future?

Which of these 18 businesses are actually looking to build the future of the blackwood industry?

Do these businesses understand the critical part they play in ensuring the future of the industry?

Or are we still in salvage mode?

When will Tasmania get a fully commercial profitable forest industry?

Private Forests Tasmania

pft

A dedicated Government agency fostering the private forestry sector seems like a great idea at face value.

Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) is the only government-funded authority established in Australia to specifically promote, foster and assist the private forestry sector on forestry matters. We provide strategic and policy advice to Government on private forestry issues and represent Tasmanian private forest owners’ interests nationally.

http://www.pft.tas.gov.au/

But as soon as you start thinking about it the idea doesn’t look so good, especially when the Government is itself a major player in the industry in terms of wood production, market domination and control, and industry policy.

What happens when Government policy is in direct conflict with the interests of private forest growers as it often is? PFT cannot come out and oppose Government policy. They are Government employees after all.

And as for providing policy advice to Government that must present quite a challenge within a policy vacuum. The PFT website has no policies so what it says to Government remains a complete mystery.

Where’s the policy for the Radiata industry?

Where’s the policy for the pulpwood industry?

And where’s the policy for the high-value appearance grade timbers industry, including blackwood?

And where are the policies around the changes that are needed to the Forest Practice Code around plantation establishment and management?

And how about some policies about greater competition, price and market transparency?

I could go on….

And what about a PFT business plan?

You know a plan with goals and objectives and performance benchmarks and criteria, and a regular review process.

At least they have Vision and Mission statements.

But that seems to be about as far as it goes.

 

Our Vision

Sustainable private forestry in Tasmania as an integral and crucial part of our social fabric, economic well-being and a healthy environment in which soil, water and biodiversity are valued and widely used.

 

Our Mission

To facilitate the sustainable management of native and plantation forestry on private land in Tasmania. This mission includes:

  • encouraging commercial wood production;
  • encouraging the use of trees in land management;
  • promoting the environmental benefits of trees and forests;
  • promoting opportunities for competitive markets; and
  • optimising returns for all parties.

 

That mission statement should be clearly divided into a Commercial Wood Production and Other sections.

Regular community forums wouldn’t be a bad idea either.

And a plan of action for implementing the 2005 National Action Statement on Farm Forestry wouldn’t hurt either.

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2016/02/25/two-significant-forest-industry-reports-that-went-nowhere/

Don’t get me wrong. PFT could be a really great organisation but it remains fundamentally conflicted whilst the Government dominates the forest industry.

The objectives of the Government as a grower, price manipulator and policy maker, are not the same as those of private forest growers.

The only basis for a successful forest industry is profitable tree growers. The PFT website doesn’t seem to mention them.

Tasmanian Primary Wood Processor Directory 2015

PFT TPWPD 2015

The Private Forests Tasmania wood processor directory for 2015 has been released.

http://www.pft.tas.gov.au/index.php/news/89-newversiontasprimwoodprocdirect

Here’s my review of the 2014 directory:

https://blackwoodgrowers.com.au/2014/10/27/blackwood-sawmillers/

This 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.

There is also a mutual benefit: this Directory will also help the listed primary wood processors to source logs from the Tasmanian private forest estate.

The Directory is a listing of 37 of the estimated 56 primary wood processing businesses, regardless of size, that Private Forests Tasmania (PFT) believed were operating within the State of Tasmania at the time of publication. Their inclusion in the Directory has only been with their consent. All the data was collected directly from them, including permission for PFT to list their business within this Directory. Not all processors either replied or agreed to be included in the Directory but PFT hopes that, over time, more will see the benefit of participating and that future editions of the Directory will list a greater proportion of the State’s primary wood processors, regardless of size.

Compared to last year only 37 of the estimated 56 wood processing businesses in the State are listed this year. Of these only 14 indicate they are interested in purchasing blackwood logs from private growers (blackwood or special species), down from 21 last year.

What does this reduction in blackwood processors/buyers indicate? Does it indicate a shrinking market? Or are businesses just choosing to stay off the Directory?

Last year 21 of 45 listed businesses were blackwood buyers, which to me indicated a very crowded marketplace. Perhaps too crowded given the limited private blackwood sawlog resource.

Even 14 of 37 businesses in 2015 is still too crowded in my opinion.

The Tasmanian blackwood industry needs to be more commercial, efficient and profitable. This means fewer processors who are processing larger volumes more efficiently, accessing more valuable markets and offering growers better money to encourage more blackwood growing.

Do these processors understand the critical part they play in ensuring the future of the industry? Or are we still in salvage mode going nowhere?

Commercial blackwood growing needs to be transparently and abundantly profitable for the industry to have a future. Right now we are a long way from that.

Personally I believe the blackwood log exporters have the best chance of helping to change the current situation and make the blackwood market more transparent and profitable.

PS. Curious how the most obvious things are sometimes the hardest to see. I just realised that Britton Brothers P/L, by far the largest blackwood sawmiller in the State, is in the directory but does not specifically list blackwood in the Logs Purchased list. Clearly the directory lacks some clarity and detail.

Blackwood sawmillers

PFT_TPWPD2014

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

http://www.pft.tas.gov.au/index.php/publications/market-information

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.

Cheers!