PF Olsen Nursery

PF Olsen has owned a containerised forest nursery producing Radiata pine tree stocks, located at Waiuku in the Franklin District, since 1996. During the last five years PF Olsen has invested a significant amount of capital into the nursery to improve tree stock quality, increase total production and lower production costs. Initiatives have included developing more raised beds, purchasing new trays, installing an automatic tray washer and destacker and automating the seed setting and covering process.

The capital development and mechanisation of nursery processes has lifted the production of the nursery from 2.1 million to 3.6 million tree stocks "out the gate". This has been achieved with a reduction in the annual labour requirements. This has enabled PF Olsen to reduce the cost of containerised seedlings making them much more competitive with bare rooted stock.

The total annual market for Radiata pine tree stocks, both cuttings and seedlings, increased from 38 million in 2009 to 64.5 million in 2012 due to higher harvesting levels and new planting stimulated by the Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS).

However for 2013 this increase in tree stock demand has not only disappeared but has gone into serious decline. This is due to:

  • The price of carbon credit units (NZU's) which has dropped from $20 to $2 due to emitters having unrestricted access to cheap European "offset" units. This has seen investment in new planting disappear.
  • The drop in price in carbon units has also meant that pre-1990 land which has been harvested can now be converted to alternative land uses. Land conversion that had stopped at 31st December 2007 when the ETS commenced has gained momentum again and large areas of forest land in the Central North Island and Canterbury are being converted to dairy farms.

We expect tree stocks sales in 2013 to be of the order of 45.5 million a reduction of 20 million (30%) from 2012.

PF Olsen's tree stock nursery at Waiuku is producing around 3.6 million high-quality and competitively priced containerised treestocks per year.

Containerised tree stocks suffer less root damage when packaged and transported to site. They retain an intact root plug, along with their vital fine root system, protected in a moist and nutritious growth medium. Some say they come with a "packed lunch". Survival rates and post-plant growth is excellent. The known benefits of planting containerised tree stocks include:

  • Lower risk of establishment failure due to less transplant shock.
  • Less risk of mortality in dry conditions and light sandy soils.
  • Less planting shock and more rapid occupation of the site and faster growth.
  • Out of season planting, i.e. harvest cutovers can be planted even in November or early December.
  • Promising resistance to needle cast disease from trichoderma inoculation of roots.

PF Olsen Nursery has reduced production for 2013 by 20%. However, there is still GFPlus and SSOP containerised seedlings for sale. Should you wish to try planting containerised tree stocks to compare their performance against normal bare root planting stock please contact Dawn Lewis on dawn.lewis@pfolsen.com.