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  1. #31
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    Default Where to get some more unusual species for the Sth Gipps planting

    Grevillea robusta (Silky oak) do well in Melbourne and I've seen Toona ciliata growing well on several properties in the Otways. Any suggestions on where I could get seedlings for either of these? Ideally with some information on provenance and form.

    And similarly with Casuarina cunninghamiana.

    We could do with an agroforestry nursery in Sth Gipps that specialised in doing farm forestry trees with proven forestry provenances. There's a bunch of nurseries that do reveg seedlings but these aren't necessarily what you want for agroforestry purposes.

    All this rain means with a bit of weed removal I should be able to do some spring planting.

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  3. #32
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    Default Unusaul Species

    G'day MAI

    Try contacting the Otway Agroforestry Network for info on those species. Silky oak and River She-oak are attractive timbers with stunning medullary rays. Don't quote me on it but I've heard She-oak can be troublesome when drying. I remember Red cedar being talked about briefly at a field day in the Otways several years ago. Interesting thing was that apparently there is not the problem of the cedar moth that causes tip die-back and subsequent poor form that creates sever problems up north. Would be interesting to know how those red cedars in the Otways are going now. It is a species that has a summer rainfall maximum and higher annual temperatures than we get down here. This often results in poor long-term growth and survival when species from up north are transferred down south. By all means have a go at planting a few species such as those above but don't plant any significant areas with such species. Your best bet for south gippy is blackwood and yellow stringy.

    If you're going to plant this spring then get them in the ground asap. Personal experience has taught me that if you get them in the ground in late spring and there is an early on-set of dry conditions then growth will suffer dramatically. Good weed control is of cause essential.

  4. #33
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu70 View Post
    G'day MAI

    a/ Try contacting the Otway Agroforestry Network for info on those species.

    b/ Would be interesting to know how those red cedars in the Otways are going now.

    c/ Your best bet for south gippy is blackwood and yellow stringy.
    Hi Stu,

    Few comments:

    a/ I'm after seedlings from known provenances ideally with farm forestry cred rather than just info.

    b/ As I said in my earlier post they're doing well. The tip moth is in Vic but if the trees are far enough apart there's a geographical barrier to their finding individual plots. The RIRDC report on growing cedar also suggested that if they're grown in an environment that's more similar to their natural site conditions they'll do better with respect to tip moth than if they're grown in the middle of a paddock as a monoculture plantation under blazing sun. This could be described as not a surprising result.

    c/ I'm reminded a bit of Rowan Reid saying that he was told 25 years ago that Mountain Ash was the only worthwhile plantation species in the Otways. BW and YS are both worthwhile candidates for planting in high rainfall areas in the Strezeleckis but there are a bunch of other species depending on the objectives and available micro-climates and aspects on the individual block. This is where farm forestry can differ from large-scale forestry as there is room for a wider range of outcomes and more differentiation on a site. Without going into too much detail I have an interesting mix of Warragul volcanic soil, some Strezelecki clay, south and south east facing slopes on gullies and a broad band of north facing slope. The 1750 Ecological Vegetation Class is Wet Forest. It would be an ideal site for Mountain ash but 60+ year rotation is too long. I need to be seeing some returns a bit quicker than that.

    My current planting list is:

    For the eucs: maculata, muelleriana, botryoides, globulus, nitens and bosistoana. And probably a few melliodora, tereticornis and some other boxes and ironbarks just to see how they go. I've heard that cladocalyx hasn't done so well in Gipps so 'twill be interesting to see how dryer country boxes do. I've been told that there are yellow boxes growing in some sites on cooler, wetter north-facing slopes of the Divide so if I can find a good provenance they might do OK. They're a good honey tree. (My wife is a beekeeper.) There's some spectacular ironbarks growing in Melbourne so on a north facing, well-drained slope see how they go.

    Acacias: melanoxylon, dealbata and maybe mearnsii. With a number of other species such as implexa, elata and pycnantha for various purposes.

    Other natives: some casuarinas, toona and Grevillea robusta as mentioned above with some banksias. I'd like to try satinwood as well.

    Exotics: Pinus radiata, probably a few stone pines, some other nut trees, some poplars, sequoia, several quercus, some American black cherry if I can find some and probably some fruit trees on standard root-stock for craftwood.

    The intention with this property is to make some money out of the wood while demonstrating integration of trees with other agriculture. If the worst comes to the worst I'll have an income from the land, firewood security and all going well some increase in land value.

    There's no active email lists or similar covering farm forestry in Gipps that I'm aware of. (There's one or two covering more Landcare oriented activities.) Through various activities I've spoken to a number of farmers interested in farm forestry but who are unsure how to proceed. With an extraordinary wealth of Australian species and, of course, the many northern hemisphere species that grow well in Southern Vic we're blessed with choice for growing high value timber.

    This forum could be a useful place to exchange information on what works, what doesn't, markets, suppliers, contractors etc

    My two bob's worth

    MAI

  5. #34
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu70 View Post

    A/ There was a time when the following example was considered a great concept that originated in NZ and the idea then taken up by growers in Tasmania. Plant 2-3 rows of Radiata pine close together with wide bays of 8-12 meters between for pasture production. Prune and thin the pines to ~200sph and graze underneath. The outcome was disastrous. Pasture production was OK for the first 5-8 years until shading altered pasture species composition and feed quality to the point where it was virtually of no value. The pines developed huge branches and diameter growth was so fast that timber quality was exceptionally poor. The idea has since been abandoned.

    B/ To maintain pasture quality tree stocking needs to be very low. This excludes pines for reasons of timber quality as explained. Might be possible with say blue gum at stockings of ~50sph where fast diameter growth is not detrimental to wood quality in the pruned butt log. Problem is volume production suffers considerably at such low stockings and pasture quality is still reduced later in the rotation. Best value of such a system is shelter provision during periods of extreme heat and cold. However, best productivity is either 100% grazing or 100% tree growing, agroforestry as described above will lower overall productivity. To put it simply, grow quality grass where best suited and grow trees as well managed plantations where best integrated into the agricultural landscape.
    Hi Stu,

    Couple of comments on the points above:

    A/ Do you have any data on the wood quality from these fast grown pines? The Kiwis have been doing work on fast-growing, dense radiata. No argument that you would have problems with broccoli trees and the need for a lot of pruning but I wonder if the wood quality issue still applies.

    B/ You might get lower total biomass production but if you're making a good quality sawlog (ie worth more) and getting some pasture benefit, reducing stock losses and seeing the livestock feed conversion ratio go up as the animals are using less metabolism to stay warm/cool the overall returns would be of interest. A number of studies here and overseas show positive returns for mixed systems. With respect to good quality bluegum, I've been told that there's a market around Daylesford for locally grown bluegum for use in construction. $1000-1500/m3 for sawn, dried timber was mentioned. The market is people who want to use wood from local sources that they regard as sustainable. Similar niche markets may exist elsewhere

    MAI

  6. #35
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    Default Tasmanian blackwood growing WWW site

    This site might be of interest to anyone considering growing blackwoods.

    Tasmanian Blackwood Growers Cooperative | Sustainable and profitable plantation blackwood for the future.

    I've had some informative and entertaining discussions with Gordon who I think could fairly be described as passionate on this topic.

    He makes a very good point that farm growers often start with the best intentions but find it hard to keep up with the pruning and thinning due to other demands on their time. A lower initial stocking rate reduces this load.

    I'm thinking about 4-500 stems per hectare for the blackwoods initially with good wind protection. (Gordon suggests around 200.) Have to see how I go with the pruning and thinning.

    MAI

  7. #36
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    Default RE Blackwood Stocking and Further Info

    G'day MAI

    I don't want to sound negative but I know Gordon reasonably well and he is totally off the mark with his idea of planting only 200 blackwood / ha for commercial plantations. There are no such examples in existence other than his very small planting that is only some 6 years of age (way too early to determine long term success and very site specific). I've personally surveyed blackwood plantations throughout Tassie, been to NZ and observed all their major blackwood trials and seen numerous blackwood trial sites throughout Vic.

    If you want to produce a quality stand of blackwood then plant 800 sph with the aim of a final stocking of 200 stems/ha at most. If you are worried about the number of trees I am suggesting then concentrate on smaller areas to start with. All the stands in NZ and elsewhere that have produced quality results started with a selection ratio of at least4:1.

    With regards to high density Radiata and low stockings I'm not aware of it happening. There are breeding programs for improved density but what has not been overcome is the density gradient that occurs with age (it can be reduced a little with clones but offset is only a few years). The first 10 years growth is referred to as the juvenile core, with wood quality increasing with age. Once timber is formed it doesn't improve, the increase in wood quality only occurs in the new growth rings. As I mentioned, the idea of grazing under pruned Radiata has been abandoned and low stocking / fast growth is very detrimental to wood quality of Radiata.



    Growing arange of species is worthwhile and commendable, particularly in higher rainfall zones. Youíll find that majority of farm forestry trials throughout Victoria have been established in the lower rainfall zones with poorer quality soils. This is a shame, as results from lower rainfall areas do not reflect species performance at better quality sites. Blackwood is an example. Unsurprisingly, provenances from lower rainfall zones have often performed better in trials at low rainfall sites. However, such provenances are unlikely to perform at higher rainfall zones in the long-term. I am particularly critical of some forestry departments for a lack of foresight. To me it is a no-brainer. Just because a species occurs in an area doesnít imply it can be commercially grown at that locality. Blackwood is a classic example. While planted in heaps of trials in low rainfall zones, large commercial Blackwood is only sourced from high rainfall zones. Itís a shame that some decent trials were never established in higher rainfall zones in Victoria to start with (itís largely thanks to the work of the NZers that we have such good info about Blackwood provenances). Unfortunately, there is little information out there regarding provenance performance of many species in higher rainfall zones. Youíre best bet is try and touch based with growers in higher rainfall zones that have planted alternative species such as C.cunninghamii to gain info.

    Same goes for those that advocated Mountain Ash as the only species for high rainfall areas such as the Otways. Iíve been frustrated over the years with foresters who are driven by volume production. Iíve worked for organizations that have established eucalypt plantations that they perceive must have a commercial return from thinning to be viable, only to compromise their sawlog potential when markets for thinnings have not materialised, or not achieved positive cashflows from thinnings and sent contractors broke in the process. In my opinion, if you want to grow commercial sawlogs then achieve that objective and donít let early cash flow become the over-riding factor. As far as Iím concerned, quality is a better objective than quantity.

    Some information you may find interesting. Iíve learnt more from farm foresters Iíve met in New Zealand than anyone Iíve met in Australia. Some of the best farm foresters know far more about trees than professional foresters. A number of NZ farm foresters and a few professional foresters realized what it took to grow quality eucalypt sawlogs some time ago. Species such as young plantation Mountain Ash were found to have significant drying issues due to internal checking, which has proven to be even worse in E.nitens. In NZ they have also largely abandoned eucalypts from the sub-genus symphyomyrtus (species such as E.saligna and E.botryoides) due to pests and diseases that have affected health and survival, where as species from the sub-genus monocalyptus tend to be more resilient to pests and diseases.

    The ash species are monocalypts but can suffer from growth stress if stockings are too high and have drying issues as mentioned. Of the ash species, E.fastigata has been found to have the best milling and drying characteristics and has good cold / frost tolerance and is a preferred species to E.nitens. However, the form isnít as good so higher initial stockings are preferable to allow greater selection.

    Another group from the monocalypts is the stringybarks, including E.muelleriana (Yellow Stringy). Iím still talking NZ where growth rates tend to be higher than we get here, but Iíve seen YS to 80cm at age 26 and photos of trees in excess of 100cm diameter by age early 40s. These sort of growth rates are only achievable at low stockings and timber quality is excellent. The most stable timber from eucs is when they are quarter sawn. From experience this means logs with an underbark diameter of 40cm+ at the small end, at breast height this means 60cm+diameter trees when pruned to ~6m. All too often Iíve seen pruned euc plantations with final stockings of 300+ stems / ha which is inappropriate Ė basically a Radiata pine regime applied to eucs. Keep your pruned stocking to 200 stems / ha at most (with relatively even spacing) to enable sufficient diameter growth by age 25-30. Donít be fixated on any commercial thinning, stocking should be thinned to final pruned stems by age 6-10 depending on site and initial stocking.

    While YS canít match the ash group for growth rates, it has a number of characteristics I prefer. Wood density is significantly higher at a young age than the ashes and the gradient of density increase with age isnít as steep, hence growth stress is not as significant, improving sawn recovery. Drying degrade (internal checking) can be significant in the ashes as mentioned, particularly E.nitens. YS doesnít share this problem Ė this I believe is due to the higher density of the wood at a young age. Durability of YS is far better than the ash group and can be used for external applications such as decking and cladding with longer service life. Timber strength and surface hardness is better than the ashes. Sapwood of YS is immune to lyctus borers so doesnít need treating. Heartwood of YS is immune to termites. Another advantage is its ability to cope with fire. The ashes are very susceptible to fire (easily killed) while YS has proven ability to rebound even following severe fire and complete crown removal. As I mentioned in a previous post, a pruned plantation with long grass underneath will not suffer from timber degrade as the fire is quick moving and heat will not penetrate the bark and damage the underlying cambium layer. Should a fire go through a pruned plantation as a crown fire then the ashes are cactus while YS will rebound.

    Aside fromYS I am also a fan of Spotted Gum (C.maculata). Timber quality is better than YS and it will cope with drier sites. However, it canít match YS for growth rates in higher rainfall sites and isnít as frost tolerant (keeping in mind that YS can tolerate mild frosts at best). The one species that will grow as fast as the ashes in high rainfall areas, produce high density timber and can be sawn and may be successfully dried is E.globulus. However, it can be susceptible to tension wood formation which will certainly affect drying and recovery. Tension wood can be controlled with silviculture by early non-commercial thinning to final pruned stockings, but I would recommend 150stems/ha at most with even spacing. Pruned stems close together (eg: 5 metersor less as a guide) will result in unbalanced crowns, another significant causeof tension wood formation.

    Only my opinion, but personally I would concentrate on the following species for high rainfall areas with good soils. Blackwood for small areas such as steep slopes and gullies that are sheltered. YS for lower valleys and mid slopes. Maculata for drier ridges and exposed areas where YS would suffer. Fastigata for cold high elevation sites or areas subject to heavy frost. A mixture of YS and Blackwood can be done but stocking needs to be lowered. Globulus probably worth a go but be wary of tension wood and not for frosty sites. Another I would grow is a cypress called Ovensii. Redwood has potential and a range of species is always worth trialling but if wood production for commercial return is the aim then concentrate on a few species and grow them well. Working in the forest industry and now in commercial sales of timber products, volume certainly helps with marketing. If a number of growers within a region are working towards growing the same product then collective marketing becomes possible.

  8. #37
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu70 View Post
    G'day MAI

    I don't want to sound negative but I know Gordon reasonably well and he is totally off the mark with his idea of planting only 200 blackwood / ha for commercial plantations. There are no such examples in existence other than his very small planting that is only some 6 years of age (way too early to determine long term success and very site specific). I've personally surveyed blackwood plantations throughout Tassie, been to NZ and observed all their major blackwood trials and seen numerous blackwood trial sites throughout Vic.

    If you want to produce a quality stand of blackwood then plant 800 sph with the aim of a final stocking of 200 stems/ha at most. If you are worried about the number of trees I am suggesting then concentrate on smaller areas to start with. All the stands in NZ and elsewhere that have produced quality results started with a selection ratio of at least4:1.

    Hi Stu,

    I'd like to run a few things by you to see what you think. With trees I can obviously plant in haste and regret at my leisure so this sort of interchange is very useful before seedling enters soil. We were going to go down to the block today but my wife has a cold so we didn't make the trip. Which does segue nicely into my first point.

    Gordon argues that farm foresters may have the best of intentions but generally find that they don't have the time to do thorough thinning and pruning. Hence one of his justifications for a low sph. Fewer trees so less pruning. He also argues that if the provenance and site is right and the trees are appropriately sheltered this will drastically reduce the need for thinning. Hence lower initial stocking and reduced work for our farm forester.

    In the process of buying our block I wandered across 20-30 properties in the area roughly between Foster and Mirboo North. Because I want to grow blackwood and silver wattle I spent quite a bit of time in various gullies. Often with steep sides. One place in Dollar I could just about touch the slope in front of me and the slope steepened as it entered the actual gully! There's some very fit sheep and cows on some of these blocks. Which does make it hard for them to put on condition which is one reason why these properties are being sold and which in turn suggests using some of the land to grow high value timber. The trees don't care about the angle of the slope. Although at harvest this might require chainsaw felling, limbing and bucking and winching the logs up the slope.

    But a distinguishing feature of the blackwood and silver wattle in at least the south and south east facing gullies that had some shelter from prevailing winds was the superb form of these trees. Now I guess it is possible that the trees that had survived were the ones that had the genetics for heading for the sun at max speed and then popping out some canopy. In this scenario the BW/SW would have effectively self-thinned. But perhaps if these favourable conditions could be replicated, lower stocking rates would still provide a satisfactory number of good form stems.

    What do you think?

    Regards

    MAI

  9. #38
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu70 View Post
    G'day MAI



    The ash species are monocalypts but can suffer from growth stress if stockings are too high and have drying issues as mentioned. Of the ash species, E.fastigata has been found to have the best milling and drying characteristics and has good cold / frost tolerance and is a preferred species to E.nitens. However, the form isnít as good so higher initial stockings are preferable to allow greater selection.

    Well, fastigata wasn't one I was thinking of. The NSW DPI Private Forestry are also complimentary about this tree:

    http://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/__data/ass...-fastigata.pdf

    And I think from the notes our site would be OK although it might prefer a bit more altitude. We're at about only 200m but we would be at the southern tip of its natural range so might be cool enough.

    So the question becomes where I can get some seedlings, ideally with some form and provenance info. I'm finding this something of a problem with any farm forestry species outside the more common plantation trees. A friend with a background in nursery propagation is doing some seedlings for me from "best trees" (such as the melliodora and G. robusta in her front yard) but she's only setup for small numbers. She might be able to do some of the acacias and the sequoia etc

    I think I might have to get some local provenance seed for some of the species and get them commercially propagated.

    Thanks for the tip

    MAI

  10. #39
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Stu70 View Post


    Aside fromYS I am also a fan of Spotted Gum (C.maculata). Timber quality is better than YS and it will cope with drier sites. However, it canít match YS for growth rates in higher rainfall sites and isnít as frost tolerant (keeping in mind that YS can tolerate mild frosts at best). The one species that will grow as fast as the ashes in high rainfall areas, produce high density timber and can be sawn and may be successfully dried is E.globulus. However, it can be susceptible to tension wood formation which will certainly affect drying and recovery. Tension wood can be controlled with silviculture by early non-commercial thinning to final pruned stockings, but I would recommend 150stems/ha at most with even spacing. Pruned stems close together (eg: 5 metersor less as a guide) will result in unbalanced crowns, another significant causeof tension wood formation.

    Only my opinion, but personally I would concentrate on the following species for high rainfall areas with good soils. Blackwood for small areas such as steep slopes and gullies that are sheltered. YS for lower valleys and mid slopes. Maculata for drier ridges and exposed areas where YS would suffer. Fastigata for cold high elevation sites or areas subject to heavy frost. A mixture of YS and Blackwood can be done but stocking needs to be lowered. Globulus probably worth a go but be wary of tension wood and not for frosty sites. Another I would grow is a cypress called Ovensii. Redwood has potential and a range of species is always worth trialling but if wood production for commercial return is the aim then concentrate on a few species and grow them well. Working in the forest industry and now in commercial sales of timber products, volume certainly helps with marketing. If a number of growers within a region are working towards growing the same product then collective marketing becomes possible.
    Thanks for the suggestions. YS, maculata, globulus are all on the list. Interesting suggestion about Cupressus ovensii. There's some material at:

    http://www.privateforests.tas.gov.au...s_overview.pdf

    which you're probably well aware of but which might be of interest to other readers. I have lusitanica on the planting list. I'll add ovensii but again will need to source either some seed for local propagation or some seedlings

    Bye for now

    MAI

  11. #40
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by MAI View Post
    Thanks for the suggestions. YS, maculata, globulus are all on the list. Interesting suggestion about Cupressus ovensii. There's some material at:

    http://www.privateforests.tas.gov.au...s_overview.pdf

    which you're probably well aware of but which might be of interest to other readers. I have lusitanica on the planting list. I'll add ovensii but again will need to source either some seed for local propagation or some seedlings

    Bye for now

    MAI
    G'day MAI

    Private Forests Tasmania's farm forestry series on blackwood, cypress, eucs and radiata I'm aware of, I actually wrote them for PFT.

    Stu

  12. #41
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    Default Plan for Success

    Gíday MAI

    How have you gone about planning for your property? If you havenít already done so the following will need attention.

    Lodgment of a Plantation Development Notice with the Local Council to ensure you have legal right to harvest in the future. This requires info such as an accurate property map, species composition, regimes and timeframes.

    Have you worked out exactly what youíre in for? How many ha to be planted to each species, stocking rates, seedling, chemical and fertiliser requirements, hours and $ required to conduct weed control and planting. What means of browsing control is required and what threats are there to newly planted seedlings Ė rabbits, hairs, wallabies and/or stock? Have you considered what it will take to get all the pruning and thinning done?

    All this needs to be worked out in advance so you can succeed. This is where landowners usually go wrong, entering into a farm forestry venture without knowing what it will take to achieve the end goal.

    If youíre a primary producer then expenses can be claimed as deductions against farm income. However, if you earn your primary income off-farm then you need very detailed plans and economic modeling to be submitted to the Taxation Department. The ability to demonstrate a taxable income at the end of the rotation may allow non-capital expenses to be claimed in the year of expenditure against personal income.

    MAI, Iíve been providing you with some of the best free advice youíll get but I fear you may be going into this a bit blind. Iím not trying to be critical but good planning is essential to success and will save you a fortune in the long run. If you are doing the planning Iíve mentioned above then youíre on the right track.

    Stu

  13. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by Stu70 View Post
    Gíday MAI

    How have you gone about planning for your property? If you havenít already done so the following will need attention.

    a/ Lodgment of a Plantation Development Notice with the Local Council to ensure you have legal right to harvest in the future. This requires info such as an accurate property map, species composition, regimes and timeframes.

    b/ Have you worked out exactly what youíre in for? How many ha to be planted to each species, stocking rates, seedling, chemical and fertiliser requirements, hours and $ required to conduct weed control and planting. What means of browsing control is required and what threats are there to newly planted seedlings Ė rabbits, hairs, wallabies and/or stock? Have you considered what it will take to get all the pruning and thinning done?

    c/ MAI, Iíve been providing you with some of the best free advice youíll get


    Stu
    Thanks, Stu. Replies to above.

    a/ The current planning overlays in Victoria treat agroforestry (substantive agricultural activities mixed with trees for purposes such as timber production, shelter-belts etc) differently to farmland converted exclusively to timber production. But, of course, this could change in the future.

    b/ Either done or in progress. I agree that a lot of farm forestry could be better planned. Why this isn't happening is an interesting question.

    c/ Certainly been useful to have your input. Much appreciated.

    Now I just need to find some seed/seedlings for some of the more uncommon plantings I have in mind. David Kleinig at Dendros Seed was recommended to me today as a potential source for cedar and silky oak
    Regards

    MAI

  14. #43
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    I can vouch for the fact that wide spaced pines have big branches. I pruned 10 ha at Taggerty and they were not nice. They should be close to harvestable size now. Same chap had wide spaced nitens but i heard they didnt go so well. They looked good when i pruned to 6 m there so not sure what happened I suspect they ran out of water. My own look pretty good. I do need to thin them soon though.

    Much of the plantation establishment i was involved in was planted at 1000 sph with an eventual goal of 150 sph. Its a tough job convincing farmers that there is no point in trying for a commercial thinning but that is a lesson NZ farmers learned a long time ago. Thin to waste, use what you can for firewood yourself and mulch the rest.

    ironbarks...hmmm be prepared to form prune form prune form prune but don't give up on them. You'll think they'll never straighten out but they do seem to. Go for Higher density stocking ?1500? for ironbarks so you have plenty to select from.
    I'd suggest trying to concentrate on one or two main species ~ either YS or E globulose ssp globulose with selected plantings of any of the others. Perhaps add in spotted gum in dryer areas if you think they can handle the frost or on a slope where they will get air movement on cold nights.
    I have a few E glob ssp bicostata but the taper on them appears sharp. They did seem to handle the drought conditions we had here better than some of the tas bluegum. On the whole the tas bluegum seem pretty good and any that arn't is probably a result of less than ideal soil nutrient at establishment (boron). I had no idea about nutrient additions when i started out.

    I do have a concern about the harvestability of steep gullies especially in some of the places i have seen in Gippsland. erosion land slip etc could be a major problem after harvest. You may not get permission to harvest.

    I don't have much else to add. stu seems to be on the money with most of his advice.

  15. #44
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    G'day Dadpad

    Have to agree with you, Red Ironbark does need high stockings in the order you suggest for selection ratio. Great timber tree for low to medium rainfall sites and as you say, it's surprising how trees can straighten out with time provided form pruning is done on time.

    With respect to Radiata, it's more than just the branches that are the problem at low stockings. Timber density, strength and stiffness suffers from fast growth, especially at high productivity sites. It's the proportion of younger, low quality wood within a log that is the issue. Quality can be affected to the point where it fails to meet specs for structural purposes. Personally I wouldn't recommend Radiata unless you have a significant area to plant such that economies of scale can be achieved. In general it's a low-value bulk commodity product that is competing with significant import volumes from lower cost producers such as NZ and Chile.

    I hear your concerns regarding harvesting on steep slopes. Keep within the guidelines of codes of practice with respect to slope limits. However, I would argue that on steep slopes previously cleared of native vegetation and now in grass and stock that harvesting, done appropriately, is a better outcome than leaving such slopes to grass. The root systems of harvested trees will stabilise soils post harvesting until the next rotation is well established. There is also the option of not clearfelling steep slopes but undertaking selective harvesting and practice continue-cover forestry.

    Glad to hear that you too recommend concentrating on just a few species.


    Stu

  16. #45
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
    Location
    Melbourne
    Posts
    84

    Default Radiata, markets and multiple species plantings

    No argument that you will struggle to compete at wholesale prices with local and overseas suppliers of commoditised construction timber. But I still intend to plant some radiata. I know I can get good quality seedlings and with appropriate silviculture I should be able to get some nice logs with good milling recovery rates. And I intend to follow the example of this chap - just down the road in Foster! - by value adding on farm and selling at retail prices to markets interested in locally grown timber.

    From the AFG WWW site:

    2010 State Tree Farmers of the Year

    Victoria Tree Farmers of the Year 2010
    Harry and Gina Baess

    Property: 'Hazyna Timber', Foster, Victoria
    Harry and Gina Baess are the winners of the Victorian AFG Tree Farmers of the Year for 2010. They farm a 23 hectare property near Foster in Victoria, which they purchased as a rundown windswept block in 1976, after which they began planting trees. Their property is at an elevation of 350 metres and has an average rainfall of above 900 mm. They grow high pruned pine, hardwood and a range of nuts as well as grazing cattle and sheep.

    On-farm processing is a feature of this property, with trees being hand fallen, and then extracted using a combination of a winch on a farm tractor and a four-wheel-drive loader. The logs are then milled with a home-built sawmill. Furniture timber is air-dried and then kiln-dried in a home-made kiln. Selling timber for both furniture and construction has been carried out over the last 15 years.

    Timber is graded and packed into 1m3 lots and sold to regular clients and also direct to the public. Furniture grade timber is dressed and sold direct to the public, often through regular advertising in the local newspapers. Sawdust is collected in 12m3 loads by a contractor for use in calf bedding and also by a local garden supplier. The timber products produced from the Baess property made up 60% of the property income, with 30% coming from cattle and sheep and 10% from nuts.

    The Baess family believe they can demonstrate that their farm can support both forest and stock in a sustainable manner and that combining these enterprises results in greater profits then having either enterprise on its own.


    With respect to number of species, perhaps a useful approach is as with any other venture, system design, etc to do a thorough plan covering objectives, time horizons, markets, returns, constraints in inputs such as owner time, capital and land, site conditions, risks and so on. In some cases, the obvious outcome from this design process will be a small number of species. In other cases multiple species, multiple outcomes will be the aim. Objectives might be as simple as getting a reliable return from a block with minimal involvement from the landowner in which case leasing land for a small but guaranteed return to a pulp grower may be appropriate. This was particularly rewarding during the period up the mid-2000's as rural land prices rose considerably so landowners could get a return from the trees and sell the land at a profit for a twofer. In other cases the outcomes might include stock and horticulture shelter, food, habitat, biodiversity, fine timber, construction timber, craftwood, posts, poles, firewood, riparian zone protection, steep slope erosion control and more. And it you also look at this process with some consideration for how investment portfolios are constructed, multiple species can start to look more attractive.

    What I'm proposing is more along the lines of what I've seen on agroforestry farms in Middle Europe. And if you could sell hunting rights for deer in Vic even better I had a close up and personal encounter with Bambi on one property. That went straight off the potential purchase list as deer are very difficult to keep out, enthusiastic browsers of young trees and there's bag limits etc. That property was at Mt Best, surrounded by some lovely native forest which was obviously providing some useful habitat to this attractive but introduced species.

    Lots of good stuff to be done in farm forestry in Australia

    MAI

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