Grow tim­ber and cat­tle to sur­vive

NewsMail - Wide Bay Rural Weekly - - FRONT PAGE - Peter & Bevly Hughes

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.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

Da­gun Tim­bers sawmiller Wayne Mor­ris who spoke at the field day.

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