Chance For Farmers To Cash In On Pine Plantation Expansion

March 3, 2000 The Rural News

If you're a farmer in the South West Slopes you should be considering being part of the pine plantation expansion taking place on your doorstep, according to the Murray Riverina Farm Forestry's Murray Brown.

"This region is the biggest softwood growing and processing area in Australia and many land holders from other regions are envious of the opportunities available in this region:' he said.

Mr Brown is co-ordinating a series of workshops titled Pine Plantations - A Viable Alternative to be held from 1pm to 5pm at the Adelong Ex-serviceman's Club on Wednesday. March 22; Tumbarumba Motel on March 29, Tumut Shire Office on April 5 and Holbrook RSL Club on April 12.

He said the continued expansion of the softwood estate underpins the rapid growth in softwood processing in sawmilling, plywood and laminated veneer lumber manufacture, pulp and paper and horticultural posts, which is occurring across the region.

"It is a hugely exciting time, especially when you consider that Visy Industries alone is seeking the establishment of 30,000 hectares of new plantation in the region during the next 10 years to meet the needs of its new mill at Tumut," Mr Brown said. "This mill is due to start production in 2001 and will reach a production of around 500,000 tonnes of pulpwood per year which almost triples the requirement for pulpwood in the region."

Plus he said there is a rapidly growing demand for sawlogs with CSR at Tumut, Austral Softwoods at Holbrook, Boral at Tumbarumba, Humula Timber and Ausply at Wagga.

"Establishing plantations on farms can result in attractive returns from the timber without sacrificing much in terms of the agricultural returns and, in fact, a well located plantation can enhance the agricultural production on the rest of the farm.

"You've also got to take into account all the environmental benefits associated with growing timber through water quality, lower water tables and enhanced biodiversity:' Mr Brown said.

He said the series of concise workshops are designed to give farmers the facts and figures required to assess the viability of plantation forestry on their land.

"Presentations will be by experienced forestry and agricultural professionals, who will individually discuss participant's properties advising them on the costs, returns, access roads, plantation location and joint venture agreements."