Our Services

Land Selection
Tree Species
Management Plan
Cultivation
Planting the Seedlings
Managing the Site
Inventory
Fire Management
Harvesting & Infield Chipping
Farm to Port
Port Handling

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LAND SELECTION


Sites must have a long-term average rainfall of 650mm or
more and have suitable well drained soils to be considered for tree plantations.

The major factors found to affect plantation productivity in the Green Triangle Region are in order of importance; soil depth, effective rainfall, soil nutrition and the level of salinity.

TREE SPECIES

Softwood (Radiata)
Softwood plantations have been grown in the Green Triangle for over a century. Both the Victorian and South Australia State Governments fostered the early plantings, by their active participation in developing state owned plantations. 

Softwood plantations are managed on a 28-37 year rotation. During this time the plantation may be thinned 3 to 4 times. Thinning occurs at regular intervals to reduce competition between the trees, allowing the plantation to grow high quality sawlogs.

Thinning plantations can produce returns from about 10 years old. Early thinnings tend to be predominantly used for pulp and treated posts (preservation). Later thinnings can also produce sawlogs. The product mix will depend upon the age of thinning and the quality of the plantation.

The history of softwood plantations in the Green Triangle has resulted in considerable research being undertaken by the companies to improve their management and thus the yield quantity and quality.  Cooperative research has also resulted in a better understanding of the variations in plantations and how to maximise the growth and thus return on the investment.

Forest owners have a range of rotation length from 28-37 years. Shorter rotation lengths are currently being phased in by some operators and therefore there are some older plantations. This reduction in rotation age has resulted in a slightly higher level of harvesting during recent years.


Hardwood (E.Globulus)
Hardwood plantations have a relatively short history in the Green Triangle Region.  In the 1980’s plantings commenced to supply hardwood chips to the Kimberly-Clark Australia tissue products manufacturing plant near Millicent.

Interest in the region increased with small plantings by two Japanese based consortiums in the mid 1990’s.

Blue gum plantations are currently managed and grown on an 8-12 year rotation with the aim of producing woodchips used in pulp production.  The proximity of plantations to the Port of Portland and the expected Japanese demand for blue gum woodchips has been a major factor in the expansion of hardwood plantations in the Green Triangle.

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MANAGEMENT PLAN

A management plan is developed for all plantations. It
provides a clear blueprint for the development of the plantation and is used to schedule day to day operations.

The management plans are required by shire councils to enable development applications for new plantations to be approved. All management plans strictly adhere to the principles, goals and guidelines in the Code of Practise for Victoria.


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CULTIVATION




The site is generally prepared for tree planting by ripping, cultivating and mounding the soil. This work is done on the contour to reduce the flow of surface water and to improve infiltration into the soil.


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PLANTING THE SEEDLINGS



Seedlings are planted in rows and blue gums are typically spaced 4-5 metres apart with a distance of 2-3 metres between each seedling depending on the site condition.


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MANAGING THE SITE

Weeds and other agents such as insects and vertebrate pests that have the potential to significantly affect plantation growth are controlled as required.

All operations are carried out in accordance with health and environmental regulations, using licensed contractors.


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INVENTORY

The growth of plantations is monitored at key stages during the rotation. This information is gathered, processed and used to determine the company's harvesting schedule.


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FIRE MANAGEMENT




Plantation Timbers places great emphasis on fire protection management. The company has a strong interest in ensuring that the plantations it has under management remain free of damaging agents including fire.

Plantation Timbers is recognised as a Forest Industry Brigade in Victoria. Fire crews are trained to CFA standards and all safety equipment and protective gear conform to the stringent standards of the County Fire Authority in Victoria.

The interest of Plantation Timbers client's are held at the highest level and the company provides 24 hours a day service, 7 days a week throughout the entire contracted fire season period.

Plantation Timbers strategically positions its fire suppression equipment throughout the operational area with slip on units being centrally located near Casterton, Dartmoor and Heywood. All firefighting equipment and slip on units conform to CFA standards.


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HARVESTING AND INFIELD CHIPPING



Harvesting involves the felling and processing of forests into a variety of products that are harvested from the forest, extracted, graded and then destined for a variety of enterprises. The primary forest products from harvesting are:

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Logs of variety of structural timber products

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Woodchip for export markets and boiler fuel

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Pulpwood as log or chip for paper making

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Preservation material - primarily posts and rails that receive further treatment.

 


Extensive harvesting operations are carried out in the Green Triangle Region and in the majority of cases mechanical felling and extraction systems are used.

Each year around 1.1 million tones of softwood chip is exported to Japan through the port of Portland. This material is generated from mill residues and in-forest chipping operations which use heavy equipment to convert whole trees into export-quality woodchip. Woodchipping operations utilise hydroaxes, feller bunches, skidders and chippers.


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FARM TO PORT



Haulage is primarily carried out by contractors and sub contractors who perform the task under agreement with Plantation Timbers.

Products are hauled from the forest plantations to numerous destinations such as mills within the Green Triangle Region and to the wharf at Portland.


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PORT HANDLING



In July 2004 a trial shipment saw the first bluegum woodchips grown in the Green Triangle shipped from Portland to Japan. Since then the port has built a new $7 million facility to handle hardwood woodchips (shown right).

Trucks including B-doubles are able to drive onto the platform which can be elevated to an angle of 60 degrees for ease of unloading. The woodchips are then screened, stored in a pile and sent along a conveyor belt to the Graincorp Shipping terminal. This facility is capable of handling 1.5 million tonnes of bluegum chips per annum in the coming years.