The largest forestry expo on the planet

Australian Forests and Timber - - Elmia - By Nick Reynish

THE WORLD’S largest forestry expo was big­ger than ever this year both in terms of area and num­ber of ex­hibitors. Many visi­tors were drawn to Elmia Wood to see new forestry prod­ucts and ser­vices and to learn about new high­tech so­lu­tions and ex­per­tise in the for­est in­dus­try, about 30 kilo­me­ters south of Jönköping, Swe­den.

Elmia Wood in 2017 con­tin­ued its long-stand­ing tra­di­tion not to dis­ap­point, with records be­ing bro­ken on many counts. A to­tal of 555 ex­hibitors from 28 coun­tries, of which 200 were there for the first time. There was over 85,000 square me­ters of stand space, 7km of for­est trail, around 131,000 square me­ters of demo area where for­est ma­chines were shown in op­er­a­tion. The expo saw 41,834 visi­tors walk through the door along with more than 200 ac­cred­ited jour­nal­ists from 24 coun­tries all viewing 143 large-scale for­est ma­chines po­si­tioned along the fair’s large-scale trail.

More than 230 Aus­tralians plus a small num­ber of Ki­wis made the long-haul trek to Swe­den, in­clu­sive of com­pa­nies such as Ko­matsu, John Deere, Tiger Cat plus rep­re­sen­ta­tives from AFCA, IFA and many con­trac­tors and in­di­vid­u­als. It was Bren­ton Yon from Ko­matsu For­est Aus­tralia’s sixth Elmia Wood Expo. Bren­ton was im­pressed by the va­ri­ety and num­ber of ex­hibitors on site as well as the large num­ber of Aus­tralians who were present. He said that at times on the for­est paths there were 5 to 6 peo­ple abreast and you were con­tin­u­ally bump­ing into Aus­tralians! He be­lieves that Elmia Wood also shows our AUSTim­ber equiv­a­lent is with­out a doubt a world class event and what equals suc­cess is the holis­tic sup­port from in­dus­try and ex­hibitors alike.

Jon Lam­bert, from Heart­wood plan­ta­tions in Gipp­s­land, Vic­to­ria, is a four­time vet­eran of Elmia Wood and said “It’s the busiest I have ever seen it”. Typ­i­cal to Nordic weather, the first two days saw mother na­ture open up the rain clouds and caused some is­sues with traf­fic lead­ing into the expo, how­ever, by day two Elmia Man­age­ment had put in place con­trol mea­sures to en­sure a smoother flow. The rain did not dampen spir­its nor de­ter the Euro­peans who came in droves. By days 3 and 4 the weather im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly.

For Stacey Gar­diner, Gen­eral Man­ager of the Aus­tralian For­est Con­trac­tors As­so­ci­a­tion and first time Elmia Wood at­tendee, the fair was an in­valu­able ex­pe­ri­ence with plan­ning for AUSTim­ber2020. “Not only did I get a first­hand ap­pre­ci­a­tion of the breadth and scale of ex­hibitors pos­si­ble, I also left with knowl­edge of ways in which AUSTim­ber can grow and the range of pos­si­bil­i­ties go­ing for­ward,” she said.

She also hoped the con­nec­tions made and pro­mo­tion for AUSTim­ber dur­ing the visit would open fu­ture in­ter­na­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties for 2020.

What can we learn from the Swedish and Euro­peans? They are def­i­nitely years ahead of us in terms of in­no­va­tion and tech­nol­ogy. The stats say they have been do­ing forestry for a lot longer so they ad­mit­tedly have had a head start, but their ef­fi­cient ways such as self-load­ing log trucks, have evolved due to their in­ten­sive small plan­ta­tion sizes. Could this be adopted with our large-scale op­er­a­tions? More ex­treme weather pat­terns and hours of day­light have also forced the Euro­peans to adapt over time and in­no­vate. All in all glob­ally forestry is in good shape and this was re­flected by the num­bers of both ex­hibitor and at­ten­dees at Elmia Wood 2017.

Not many peo­ple down un­der are aware of Skogs Elmia which is a smaller ver­sion of Elmia Wood at­tract­ing around 26,000 visi­tors but by all counts not one to be dis­missed due to the size. Skogs Elmia is the Nordic re­gion’s big­gest forestry expo with around 200 ex­hibitors from 24 coun­tries. The event is held at the same venue as Elmia Wood from 6-8th June 2019. For more in­for­ma­tion re­gard­ing this please con­tact Nick Reynish nick@forestrycon­nect.com

Left to right: Fran­cis We­ston (ForestryCon­nect) Bob Gor­don (CEO IFA) Nick Reynish (Elmia Wood Aus/NZ rep­re­sen­ta­tive)

The Aus­tralian flag fly­ing high at Elmia Wood among other big forestry na­tions.

A leg of the 7km for­est trail.

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