Grow timber and cattle to survive
A TIMBER production and management field day held on the Dray family property at Woolooga by Private Forest Service Queensland got the information directly ‘from the horse’s mouth’ when Dagun Timbers sawmiller Wayne Morris gave a broad overview of operations at the milling and growing levels.
He said Drays was an excellent example of very long-term intergenerational management and direction.
“Timber production is an essential part of the family’s grazing operation,” Mr Morris said. “They manage about 2000ha for both timber and cattle.”
The managed area is divided into coups, with a section being logged every second year on a 10–12 year rotation.
Mr Morris said the big question was who paid for timber stand management.
“Thinning costs a fair bit and continual management adds more dollars,” he said. “However if done properly, production can increase at least four-fold and the quality, therefore the price, increases dramatically.”
Mr Morris said what you did now would show results in 15 years or so with a small harvest cut that could also assist in getting higher value stems being produced in the longer term.
Dagun Sawmill has forestry hardwood quotas for another eight years, but is not certain of what may happen after that period is up.
“I want to encourage landholders to manage their hardwood asset,” he said. “Investment of time and money will pay dividends in the future.”
He said production of hardwood from state forests was falling and had no real potential to increase under the current system.
Mr Morris said the relationship between the landholder and the miller was important.
“Each have to trust the other,” he said. “The landholder has to trust that only the designated stems will be taken, and the miller has to trust that the stems will be available.”
On the Dray property, target harvest size is 48cm diameter breast height. At this size another harvest could take place of similar sized stems in 10 years.
If smaller stems are taken, regeneration to the 48cm size takes about 25 years.
Dagun Mill sends about a quarter of their production to Melbourne for use in outdoor structures such as decks and walkways. Other outlets for various parts of a tree have been sourced with chipping, particle boards and mulch playing a role.
Mr Morris said current investigations were being carried out into use for the tree head, rather than leaving that resource in the paddock.
Dagun Timbers sawmiller Wayne Morris who spoke at the field day.