De­lay for FGR forestry trans­for­ma­tion plan

New Zealand Logger - - Forest Talk -

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.

NZL

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