Last year I commented on the high returns from current harvesting, however I don’t believe this is being translated into
significant interest in new planting, certainly not at the rate of the governments aspirational target of 50,000ha per
year. The Crown Forestry action is clearly around doing deals to secure land for leasing and other deal makers, like
Toitu Te Waonui, and various forestry consultants, are doing the same, good on them.
But this doesn’t really raise the general awareness of the forestry business opportunity for land owners and investors.
The challenge is how to create a pipe line of prospects who are considering land use change. The target group must be
the approximately 25,000 drystock farmers in New Zealand, owning 9.5m hectares. The timeline is also important,
seedlings for next winter are already booked, but the deadline for orders to secure plants for the following winter
(2019) needs to be placed with nurseries by Oct-Nov 2018.
So, there are only 9 months to ramp up the planting rate for 2019, and about 18 months to increase that in 2020, then
comes the election. A government based, salaried extension officer service, is unlikely to scale up to meet these
targets. While government incentives to plant trees will help, a new broad scale initiative that raises the profile of
the opportunity with timber and carbon is urgently needed. This is perhaps more than extension in the traditional sense,
this time round forestry advice needs to be professional and focused around economics and business opportunities. Many
forests in the past were poorly sited and will not make much money.
There are 88 registered NZ forestry consultants, most available to provide professional extension, but need funding.
There are about the same number of top level successful farm foresters, they have given years of free advice, but need
support to meet this challenge. There are existing agricultural networks (e.g. Beef & Lamb NZ extension service and field days) that can be collaborated with. We don’t have to reinvent this, let’s join the
dots, we need a little more of the kiwi attitude of “let’s just get on and do it with what we have”.
Graham West is a registered forestry consultant and farm forester (read Graham’s profile)
ForestX is the universal, easily accessed place for buying and selling forests. It provides transparency in terms of the
range of lots that are available and how a transaction for any one lot will take place.