The mainstay of New Zealand's supply of softwood poles is disappearing with the utilisation of existing stands of Corsican pine. Attention is now being focused on alternative sources to satisfy the pole market — particularly the market for stress-rated poles such as building poles.
Using stand assessments and simulation, a specialised pole regime is developed for radiata pine on low quality sites. This regime involves two waste thinnings, the second to a final stocking of 1000 stems/ha at top height 13 to 14 m. Clearfelling at about top height 30 m is proposed.
Preliminary economic analysis reveals growing costs for the pole regime of about $15 to $20/m3. As this is an average growing cost for all wood in the stand, the pole element will generally have to earn considerably in excess of it for the pole regime to be profitable for the grower. The risks associated with the proposed regime are identified.
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