THERE is a huge opportunity in south-west Victoria to revert land previously planted with bluegum trees back to grazing land; it’s just a matter of cost.
Large tracts of land could become available in western Victoria, particularly north of Hamilton that was previously owned by forestry companies to grow bluegums.
Following the demise of the Managed Investment Schemes that saw a number of forestry companies exit the industry, the remaining forestry companies will look to consolidate to high yielding plantations with close proximity to port and will dispose of the less viable freehold land. They will also surrender expensive unviable leases after one rotation, leaving some lease holders with bluegum stumps in their paddocks.
Already some plantation stump blocks are available for purchase and some have been returned to grazing land. The big questions everyone wants to know are: What is the best, most cost effective method to revert the land? And how much does it cost?
These questions were answered on Thursday at the ‘Beyond Bluegums’ seminar run by the Grassland Society of Southern Australia, held at Macarthur. The interest in this topic was exceptional with around 190 people attending, which included farmers, contractors, real estate agents and even property valuers from Melbourne.
The seminar heard from Adrian Marti, Silvicultural manager, Green Triangle, Australian Bluegum Plantations (ABT) that there were five methods of stump removal: grinding, stump ripping, stump plucking, cutter-bar and the ‘old timers’ recommendation’ of leaving (then discing in 3-5 years).
Full story in The Spectator on Saturday, April 12, 2014, or subscribe to our epaper at top of page.