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New Zealand Journal of Forestry (2017) 62(2): 26–32
©New Zealand Institute of Forestry

Professional Paper
Economics of in-forest debarking of radiata pine in New Zealand and Australia

Glen Murphy *,1, Mauricio Acuna 2 and Mark Brown 3

1 Director, GE Murphy & Associates Ltd, Rotorua. Corresponding author:
2 Senior Research Fellow, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia
3 Professor, University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs, Queensland, Australia
*Corresponding author.

Abstract: Restructuring has been recommended as an approach for improving forestry supply chain efficiency. In-forest debarking (IFD), as opposed to debarking at mills or ports, is an example of supply chain restructuring. No debarker head capable of pine IFD is currently available. The aims of the research reported in this paper are quantifying the potential costs and benefits of IFD of Pinus radiata, and identifying the maximum capital costs that could be paid for modified mechanised harvester/processor heads to debark logs. Economic models were developed that allowed quantification of the potential costs and benefits of IFD, as well as breakeven costs for a purpose-built pine debarker head. The models spanned from forest establishment through to delivery of logs to mills or shipside. The models were populated with data from a mix of trials carried out in New Zealand and Australia, forest industry sources and published figures. The models indicated that, for both Australia and New Zealand, IFD might be an economically viable alternative to debarking further along the supply chain. Potential gains in net revenue of 3% to 9% were possible. Breakeven prices for a pine debarker head ranged from $245,000 to $800,000. Net revenue gains and breakeven prices were sensitive to some key factors. The effect of value losses associated with sapstain following IFD deserves further research.
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