Farm Forestry Website
A website created for local speciality timber producers and farm foresters
Farm Forestry Timbers, a new website developed by Dean Satchell with help from the Sustainable Farming Fund, offers a marketplace which is a one-stop shop for locally grown specialty timbers, logs and trees.
Dean says “We need species other than radiata pine in New Zealand to develop a truly sustainable forest and timber industry. But for farm foresters to have confidence in alternative timber species they need to be assured there are markets for their trees, logs and timber. Previously there had been no concerted marketing efforts, no focus and no marketplace for alternative species. Any progress had been ad hoc.”
“The NZ Farm Forestry Association set up action groups to bring alternative species out of obscurity and into the mainstream, and now there is a reasonable volume of these species planted and coming on stream.”
With the Ministry for Primary Industries’ Sustainable Farming Fund money, Dean took six months to build a new website as a hub for marketing trees, timber and services associated with locally grown specialty timbers.
Farm Forestry Timbers has been set up as an independent non-profit society, and people can join on-line.
Dean has 10 different groups of locally grown trees listed on the website (www.nzffa.org.nz/specialty-timber-market). They are farm totara, beech, macrocarpa, eucalyptus, cypress, cedar, redwood, blackwood, poplar and paulownia.
As well as a marketplace with 300 current listings, the website has all sorts of other features and advice. The website links all aspects of the value chain from growers, suppliers, millers to designers and architects.
Dean wants the website to kick start the market for specialty timbers in NZ. There are no imported timbers, or illegally harvested or unsustainably managed timbers for sale.
As well as the market site, it’s a one-stop shop of information about alternative timber species, how they can be used and their grades. There is information on the different species, sustainability, certification, durability, harvesting, sawmilling, drying and processing.
If people are managing a hardwood sawmilling project, the site contains information to outline the issues at each step of the process. This would prevent mistakes occuring and ensure the highest quality timber is offered for sale.
“One of the keys to the market is providing a consistent product, and customers want consistent quality timber. If buyers can be assured of a consistent product then we will have opened up market opportunities”, Dean says.
In a NZ first, the site also contains extracts from various NZ standards which apply to timber construction with alternative timbers. Information on timber grades is also available to give customers certainty about the products they are buying. “We want everyone to go to this site if they are looking for timber or looking to sell logs. It’s a massive information resource.”
Dean is using the website himself to sell timber and standing trees through his Go-Eco business. “I’m being a middle man trying to link the buyer to the seller.”
His own 30ha of eucalyptus trees are halfway through their rotation and still 15 years away from harvest. In the meantime he will be selling posts and poles which are thinned out of this forest.
Li Legler, a grower and sawmiller who grows 200ha of eucalyptus and cypress trees in one of the most significant plantations of specialty timber in the country, has a lot at stake. He is starting his marketing now so that in 10 to 15 years when he has larger harvests, the infrastructure is all set up and developed.
A recent enquiry from the website came from an Auckland landscaper who wanted environmentally friendly round timber, so Li sold him a truck and trailer load of thinnings from his eucalypt forest.
The website has a showcase of photographs of products made from specialty timbers. Dean has also built his office out of 100% specialty timbers he sawed himself. “It’s all built from natural materials that required no treatment, and I’ve made it look very smart through using timber in a decorative manner.
The office includes laminated Leyland cypress joinery, Japanese cedar cladding and curved laminated eucalyptus beams. The flooring and panelling are all eucalyptus, and the walls are in-filled with sawdust for insulation. But the desk is made of MDF, so that’s his new project; building a timber desk!
Li says, “It is early days yet for using the website, and I should use it more. I am trying to skip the middle man and sell directly to the public. I can see the website being perfect. I think it is a good way to get producers in contact with customers. The one-size fits all philosophy in New Zealand of making radiata pine do everything is not going to work. That’s why special purpose timbers need to be promoted more”.