We are pleased to report as follows:
Growth & Form
The inland North Canterbury weather in the last 12 months has been pretty good from a forest grower's point of view.
A mild autumn and winter; a slow cool wet spring; a very wet first half to summer and a moderately dry second half; then a mild, sunny, still autumn. Until the other day!
Less wind than average and lots of rain in December have been excellent for growth and form, particularly your Douglas-fir which does most its growth in November, December and January.
Real Growth and Forecast Growth
We have done some preliminary measurements of your forest stands, and we are about to accurately measure them. New maps are in the pipeline and should be to hand in a couple of weeks. Then we will put in randomised plots to measure height, diameter, form and stocking.
For the three Radiata clearwood regimes, measurement will enable us to divide the stands into compartments and accurately schedule pruning. It is very important to time pruning correctly as the difference in value created can be very significant in the long run.
As we have said, we believe about a third of your Radiata will be ready to start pruning late this year. Most of the rest will be on schedule for next year, we think. A minor part is likely to be late or not worth pruning.
For the small stand of Radiata at Glens of Tekoa, alongside your Douglas-fir, it will be interesting to see what the plots show. To date it has not looked to be up to speed, with pruning originally forecast to begin next spring. Some of it may well be good for pruning, although clearly other parts are of poor form so would best be converted to a framing regime.
Any unpruned area, and almost every stand has some, becomes 'framing'. This means a higher stocking is retained to suppress branch size, with the objective of growing as much small-knotted material as possible. Knot size is one of the key determinants of framing timber's strength, and hence its value.
Your Douglas-fir forest, which is in four stands close together, is healthy and has good form. The areas where trees are competing with patches of gorse are safely ahead of it. Possum numbers are very low, as comprehensive poisoning to combat Bovine Tb has been underway for two years now in North Canterbury. That campaign is slowly working and as a side effect, the region's flora and fauna (except marsupials) are benefiting significantly.
Warren Forestry Ltd