Delay for FGR forestry transformation plan
THE MUCH-ANTICIPATED START TO A MAJOR FORESTRY RESEARCH project to transform harvesting operations in New Zealand is unlikely to take place until the New Year.
Negotiations between Forest Growers Research (FGR) and the Ministry of Primary Industries to secure partial funding for the project from the PGP programme have taken much longer than anticipated.
“Realistically, this will not happen until January 2019, which is disappointing, but we keep at it,” says Keith Raymond, Harvesting Programme Leader for FGR.
However, there have been some ‘small’ wins for forestry research, he says, with FGR’s Forestry Automation programme having recently progressed to the contracting phase.
The recent release of the review of the Primary Growth Partnership by consultant, Deborah Battell, which was commissioned by Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor a year ago, confirms there are nine smaller programmes in the PGP pipeline, four of which have progressed to contracting phase.
One of these programmes is FGR’s Forestry Automation programme, which seeks to continue the research and application of automation and robotics applied further down the forestry value chain to drive the momentum already generated.
Financial benefits from the nine-year-old the programme have already exceeded the $272 million the Government has invested to June 30, 2018.
• See the Forest Grower’s Research conference coverage on page 16.