Please click on the following links for more information and to register.
Forest-Insight-Conf 2015 Valdosta -Superior Pines field tour
If you have any questions, please call for visit: http://www.forestlandowners.com/events
International Forest Co.
For more information please contact the NFWF Longleaf Stewardship Fund .
Feb. 12, 2015 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Over the past 100 years, Texas A&M Forest Service has accomplished many feats, including establishing itself as a premiere entity in both forestry and all-hazard response.
The state agency was established in 1915 by the 34th Texas Legislature under the Texas A&M College—making TFS the first state forestry agency in the nation to be part of a land grant institution. A fact not lost on former TFS director (1980-1996) Bruce Miles.
“Texas A&M Forest Service has always been a leader nationwide among state forestry agencies,” Miles said. “A big part of this comes from being part of the state’s land grant institution system where our department heads shared information, technology and research results.”
For the past century the people of TFS have been answering the call to service by monitoring the forests to improve health and productivity; working with communities to plant, care for and conserve the trees where people live, work and play; and by informing and educating landowners on sustainable land management practices.
“The employees of this agency are so vital in continuing to accomplish the goals and dreams that were put in place. TFS has become the most highly respected national leader in forestry,” said former director (1996-2008) James Hull. “However, there has never been a time in our one hundred year history that the agency was not striving to do the best it could to meet the needs of forestry.”
With a duty to protect, TFS is mandated by the state as the lead agency in wildfire suppression and through predictive services, prevention programs and response models have revolutionized the way states prevent, prepare for and protect against wildfire.
TFS leads incident management teams during state disasters and has led responses to such incidents as the Space Shuttle Columbia recovery, Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike, and the 2011 wildfire season.
Having led the agency through the historic drought and wildfire season in 2011, current state forester and director Tom Boggus has seen the dedicated service and innovative spirit of TFS employees through the good times and bad.
“What an honor to represent the people of this agency as the director, especially during our centennial celebration year,” Director Tom Boggus said. “Words like ‘first agency in the nation’ and ‘a national model’ have been used repeatedly over the last century to describe TFS and they still ring clear and true as we begin our next century of service.”
TFS is one of four agencies under The Texas A&M University System that is also part of Texas A&M AgriLife—a cornerstone of one of the state’s premier institutions of higher education.
“Texas A&M AgriLife brings today’s best teaching, research, extension and service to Texans. For 100 years, Texas A&M Forest Service has embodied service as it protects against wildfires, provides forestry education, and leads the way in sustainability and conservation” William A. Dugas, acting vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences said. “We are proud to have them as part of the AgriLife family!”
With no signs of slowing down, this year marks the first century of service for TFS. The agency will have celebrations across the state to recognize this centennial milestone.
The centennial celebration kicked off at the annual Texas A&M AgriLife Conference the first week of January and continues in February as the agency is recognized during the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents meeting, and by the Texas Legislature.
TFS has partnered with the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum and the George Bush Presidential Library Foundation to host an exhibit, History in the Making: Texas A&M Forest Service, highlighting the agency’s past 100 years. The exhibit is open March 16–November 8 in College Station.
The agency will also host several events throughout the state, including 100 tree giveaways, a commemorative tree presentation to each county in Texas and has published a new edition of the 1970 book Famous Trees of Texas: Texas A&M Forest Service Centennial Edition.
For a list of centennial events, visit TFScenturyofservice.tamu.edu. The website provides visitors access to historical agency images and documents, and allows visitors to listen to, view and explore historic films and audio files.
Texas A&M Forest Service Communications
Jessica Jackson, Communications Specialist
How Wayne Bell and the International Forest Company are popularizing genetically improved container seedlings
“This is what a bare root seedling looks like,” says Wayne Bell as he cradles the slender trunk of a tree no longer than his forearm. He taps its root plug against a metal tray, crumbling the soil in dense chunks to the ground until a nest of straggly roots, like threads, is all that remains. “Now, this one has more roots than actual bare root seedlings because it was grown in a container, like all of these,” he motions wide with his free hand to reveal millions of containerized seedlings spread green around him at the International Forest Company’s nursery. “But you get the idea. Containers grow healthy roots.”
Healthy roots are important to Bell, who was raised just a few miles up the road from IFCO’s present location in Moultrie, Georgia. His dad grew peanuts in a small town called Sycamore, where his land bordered a then brand new interstate highway. “When I was twelve,” recalls Bell, “I’d plow peanuts beside a rest stop on I-75. People from Ohio and other places up north would pass through and shout, ‘Hey! What’re you doing?’ I’d tell them, ‘I’m plowing up peanuts.’ They were surprised, saying, ‘We thought peanuts grew on trees!’ So I’d toss them a vine of peanuts over the highway fence.”
The thrill of resolving confusion stuck. And after a Forestry degree from the University of Georgia and several decades of growing pine seedlings, he’s well-prepared to unravel misconceptions about how things are grown. “I was with a group of foresters a few weeks ago who were showing us some survival problems. I asked them, ‘What are your survival ratings with bare root seedlings?’ They said, ‘About 70%.’ We did the math and found that they wasted sixty dollars an acre with bare roots. I asked them, ‘How would you like to tell your landowner that you wasted that much of his money?’ They were shocked. You see, container seedlings would have solved the cost of their empty space.”
Bell’s conviction about containers began in the mid-80’s, when a then Swedish-owned International Forest Seed Company hired him to build a nursery and start cloning pine trees with rooted cuttings. Though the procedure is considered archaic now, it was the first of its kind in commercial seedling production. They would take a small piece of a pine tree, plant it in soil, and watch it grow. The catch, however, was that cloned plant could survive only if it was grown in a container.
Like most leaps in technology, the rooted cutting procedure was expensive in its earliest form, and the market was not ready to pay for clones. But the containers stuck. Bell found that growing seedlings in a container offered major advantages in terms of survival and growth. He tried containers with regular seedlings; one species of pine went from a 50% survival with bare root seedlings to a 95% survival rate with a container seedling. They started selling containers as an opportunity to offer something valuable and unique. Though many places around the world had long been using container seedlings to grow trees–Sweden, Canada, Brazil, South Africa, even the Northwestern US–the southeast was dominated by bare root practices.
Despite the dramatic improvement to survival rate, the industry in the south was hesitant to make the switch. “That’s just the way it is,” recalls Bell, “The timber industry is conservative.” Trees take a long time to grow, and therefore change tends to be slow. Bell and IFCO continued to sell container seedlings at a steadily increasing rate, but they kept their eyes open for an opportunity to show the industry the value in containers.
In the early 1990’s, the vegetable industry experienced a sudden and massive shift to container seedlings. “A huge part of what changed the vegetable business over to container seedlings was genetic research. When expensive hybrid seed and very specific varieties began being bred, farmers wanted to make sure their investment would survive. They started using containers to ensure survival.” IFCO took the cue, and decided to give their long-existing genetic research programs a boost.
Since then, IFCO has become a leading player in tree genetics research. “We’re one of two major seedling companies working on tree genetics,” says Bell. “The biggest timber companies do genetics research too, but they own millions of acres–And where do you think they put the best seedlings they get from their research?”
This conflict of interest for large timber companies has prevented common landowners from benefiting from genetics research. In other words, the companies funding the studies have kept the best and sold the rest. But IFCO, who participates in six of the premier research co-ops on tree genetics in the US, has no incentive to keep the best for themselves–they don’t manage timberland. Instead, they provide top-level seedlings to regular-joe clients who want to grow amazing trees. IFCO has opened the flood doors for everyone to benefit from common improvements such as accelerated growth rates, smaller limb size, and fusiform rust resistance.
“We’re a powerful story for landowners and independent foresters,” says Bell as he walks through IFCO’s expansive plant breeding orchard, “We bring the big time research to common folk.” Kneeling down to grab a pine cone, he continues, “The trees in our orchard are bred from the best genetics in the research co-ops. This tree here is one of the best that came out of the co-op a few years ago,” he says as he grabs its thin trunk. “It out-grew and out-produced everything else in the study. Now, it has some characteristics that aren’t perfect. For instance, it has a slight propensity to fork. But we’ll breed it with something that doesn’t fork until we have an offspring that captures the best of both–the productivity and the absence of forks. That’s a simplistic explanation, but you understand.”
Walking further, he stops next to a pair of pre-pubescent pines grown chest high and starts pointing in various directions at plots of perfectly rowed trees extending for miles around him. “Those trees over there are genetically customized for the Piedmont region. And those ones are for Chattanooga. In fact, one of the first questions we ask a client is: ‘Where is your land located?’ If you put a selection from Florida in northern Georgia, it’s going to start flushing earlier than it’s supposed to, and the frost will kill it back.”
Knowing how to cater to specific needs comes naturally to Bell, who along with his wife raised two daughters with disparate interests. Both adults now, one oversees an Academy Sports and Outdoors retail center in Kansas City, and the other is a social worker who counsels children and teenagers in Alabama. Driving back to the seedling nursery, Bell holds his steering wheel with one hand, tilts his head to the side, and flashes a full southern grin as he talks about his girls. “The one who runs Academy called me last week and said, ‘Dad, we’re hosting a store fundraiser for kids, and you wouldn’t be able to guess who I’m going to play a game of horse with.’ I said, ‘Who?’ She said, ‘Andrew Wiggins, the number one draft pick in the NBA this year.’ I told her, ‘You better get out there and start practicing!’ You see, she was real good player in high school. Not tall, but she could shoot the eyes out of it. She called me up after the game of horse all excited and said, ‘Guess who won? I did! I beat the number one draft pick!’” The excitement lingers on his face a few moments and slowly transforms into an expression of focus and strength. Gripping the wheel with two hands now, he fixes on something in the distance ahead of him and continues, “My other daughter, the social worker, meets with kids eight hours a day, rough backgrounds, one behind the other. It’s not easy,” he sighs and shakes his head slowly to communicate a mixture of pride and awe, “She fulfills a huge need, I’m telling you.”
Back at IFCO’s seedling nursery, Bell points to several massive metal contraptions extending like horizontal ladders above the tiny trees. “We pioneered the concept of growing container seedlings under pivot irrigation. It’s normally used for crop circles, for peanuts and other things, but we found it’s perfect for containers. Under each pivot we’ve got roughly four million seedlings.” He nods at the metal trays raised four feet in the air, “The beds are raised for airflow. When air hits the roots, it prunes them off. We designed the tray ourselves for optimal root length. Auburn just did a research study on container root formations. Guess whose container design came out number one?” he asks with an eyebrow raised and a slight grin, “That’s right, ours.”
His competitive tone is not easily mistaken for hubris; Bell is driven to provide the best product possible to landowners. He understands the stakes. Due to the nature of the timber business, IFCO’s clients will not see the return on their investment for at least ten years, and in some cases, fifteen to thirty. But he has spent his career–and perhaps his lifetime–learning the long-term value of investing in life’s youngest stages. “Children are the common link between humans wherever you go,” he says, explaining why he and his wife teach second and third grade Sunday school. “If I look a kid in the eye and talk with him, the mom gets excited and says, ‘I’ve never seen him talk with anybody like that!’ I tell her, ‘That’s because no one ever looks him in the eye.’” For Wayne Bell and the International Forest Company, it’s pretty simple: give seedlings the respect they deserve, the nurture they need. Now that’s a new idea.
You can read the original article at http://www.timberupdate.com/wayne-bell-ifco-new-trees-deep-roots/.]]>
Eligible existing program participants with contracts expiring September 30, 2015 will be granted an option for one-year extensions. Farmers and ranchers interested in removing sensitive land from agriculture production and planting grasses or trees to reduce the soil erosion, improve water quality and restore wildlife habitat are encouraged to enroll.
Please contact your local FSA or NRCS office for more details concerning the program.]]>
Tom is a part of the Southern Forest Nursery Cooperative (SFNC), which is an organization that provides research and technical support to companies that grow seedlings for reforestation. The information below comes from published research data and the evaluation of seedlings sent into SFNC’s disease clinic over the last 10 -12 years.
We’ll cover seedling production:
Let’s open up with a question. The south accounts for what percent of total US production?
How about another question. What percent of Southern production does IFCO grow?
International Forest Company grows 72 million (40%) seedlings in the Southern region and that number continues to rise.
Now let’s take a look at total production in the South and how it breaks down into bareroot and containerized seedlings.
There are 755 million bareroot seedlings grown in the Southern region of the U.S. Of that 755 million:
There are 181 million container seedlings grown in the Southern region of the U.S. Of that 181 million:
Now that we have a clear picture of what kind and how many seedlings are being grown in the South, let’s get into our seedling commandments.
“Thou shalt remember that superior seedling genetics will NEVER compensate for poor planting decisions.”
Superior seedling genetics will not help if you:
“Thou shalt focus on deeper planting holes and plant loblolly, slash and shortleaf pine deeper in drained soils.” (This commandment does not apply to longleaf.)
Directly below, you will see a comparison of studies where seedlings were planted at the root collar or deep. The circles below the center line favor planting trees at the root collar. While the circles above the line favor deep planting.
Below is another study comparing height growth of seedlings planted at a regular depth versus those planted deep.
“Thou shalt remember that larger diameter (RCD) seedlings and good seedling nutrition are directly related to survival and early seedling establishment.”
The above graph shows the increased pine survival and early growth rates by planting “morphologically improved” seedlings. The red box within the graph indicates commonly planted seedlings.
Seedling nutrition facts:
Bareroot and container nurseries manage seedling growth during the growing season, so that they reach their target size at the beginning of shipping season
Fertilization is reduced or even stopped prior to and after target size is achieved
Seedlings shipped early will generally have the highest seedling nutrition
Tip: Order your seedlings early! Also, be sure to check out our containerized pine seedlings.
“Thou shalt aim to plain all seedlings early…also forget the month of March!”
Why should you plant early?
In this study, seedlings were planted every two weeks from mid November to mid March, then the seedlings were removed from the ground on April 23 and again on June 13. Upon removal, the length of the new roots were measured.
You can see that the earlier seedlings were planted, the more new root growth occurred.
Why should I plant early?
This study is from SW Louisiana slash pine, 2nd year height and shows that no matter the stock type, early planting provides a jump on seedling growth.
Why should I plant early?
When should I plant?
“Thou shalt not skimp on planting costs with improved genetic seedlings, such as controlled mass pollinated (CMP).”
This is data from Union Camp comparing hand and machine planting on the same track:
“Thou shalt call your planting contractor, consulting forester, and/or nursery manager early when survival problems occur.”
Don’t be like this landowner who waited for two years before contacting the consulting forester to inform him that some was wrong with the planting.
“Thou shalt always remember that the ‘once in a 100 year’ freeze, flood or drought may happen this year!”
“Thou shalt handle the seedlings with care after picking them up from the nursery–avoid conditions that may stress the seedlings.”
Never pick up seedlings in an uncovered/untarped truck or trailer and watch where you park.
This goes for both bareroot and container seedlings.
Minimize seedlings exposure and remember, “If they dry, they die!”.
The best protection especially for a large planting job is an on-site barrier or simply pick up as many seedlings as you can plant in a day.
“Thou shalt plant seedlings properly. Remember, green side up!”
The Do’s and Dont’s of planting…
There is a large forestry concern that will not allow hoedads to be used on any upper coastal or piedmont soils.
“Thou shalt remember that not all containers are created equal.”
Container production in the last 40 years:
The first attempt to consolidate containers, where individual cells were put into a single container:
The second attempt to consolidate more containers into larger trays and minimize handling and cost:
As consolidation occurred, relatively few changes were made to the basic design of the container:
IFCO instituted the first major change from basic consolidation in 2005.
Root pruning holes and ribs:
Pruning holes are indicative of the root form and growth seedlings produce as seen in the study below:
Don’t get sucked into the scales pitch that a longer plug is always better. For basic survival, it probably doesn’t matter. However, if you are looking to maximize early growth and establishment, choose wisely and be informed.
There are more important characteristics of a good container design than the length of the plug.
So, to summarize, what have we learned?
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us!]]>
Production Quality with Efficiency
From the time container nurseries in the southern United States began things have changed drastically. From methods to sow the crop to those used to ship it, the evolution of nursery practices are as wide spread as an artist color palette. Not that we in the nursery are artists but we do like to have a pretty picture or crop of seedlings come shipping time.
Sowing a container crop differs from nursery to nursery. It really depends on the size of your facility as to what equipment might be best. Smaller nurseries still hand fill their trays and hand sow their seed. Larger, more advanced nurseries use automated sowing lines. Automated sowing lines consist of a bale buster, tray filler, vacuum drum sower, capper, and water tunnel. The automated sowing lines increases production from an estimated 50,000 cavities hand sown per day to 450,000 plus per day. The automated filled and sown trays have a more uniform media compaction as well as seed sown in the middle of the cavity. This helps with better crop management.
Once sowing is complete the growing begins. Like sowing, the growing process differs in every nursery. The irrigation systems are fairly basic in some nurseries and very sophisicated in bigger operations. Small growers use the least expensive fixed irrigation system. This system tends to have patterns and is less uniform in water and fertilizer distribution. A boom or pivot system offers a highly uniform irrigation system.
As far as fertilizers, some growers prefer nine month slow release fertilizer to manage nutrients in their crops. Others use only water soluble fertilizers. A few use a combination of both. This combination gives you the most control. A short term slow release fertilizer gets a crop through early establishment and the prime time of root development. Then the grower will switch to water soluble fertilizer to grow and finish their crop.
Most nurseries have incorporated top clipping as a standard operating procedure. It allows for improved seedling quality, as well as a uniform crop. This technology is very customized to nursery operations but generally starts in early summer and continues into early fall depending on seedling development.
The goal is to have uniform seedlings with well developed root systems and balanced nutrition. Crop reports are developed on every seed lot that evaluates top height, root collar diameter, root development, and foliage nutrition.
Unlike sowing and growing, packing is more standardized. Most nurseries pack their seedling in boxes for shipping. This wasn’t always the case. Decades ago, the seedlings were left in the trays and carried to the field then pulled out of the trays as the seedlings were planted. Today nurseries pack based on customer’s needs with generally 250-300 seedlings packed per box.
There are big differences in nursery operations and we encourage customers to visit their nursery and see how processes work. This also devlops a good working relationship with a key partner to help in establishing a forest.]]>
They also hoped to share with attendees some of the latest developments in science and technology or at least let them know there is new science and technology out there. For more information about the meeting, please visit the following web link:
Growing Pines in Changing Times
You may also contact Leslie Boby at email@example.com or Dan Geller at firstname.lastname@example.org. The SREF hopes to have videos from the meeting available soon.
Applications are taken year round and where as the initial fiscal year 2015 sign up concluded in December 2014, anyone else who wishes to apply must do so by May 22, to compete in this year’s application pool. For more information, please contact your local NRCS office.]]>
By: Dr. Phil Dougherty, CFRAM/IFCO
Failure to not recognize that the environment and the world we live in have changed can be costly; especially in the forestry business. It is easy to fall into the mold of “we know what we have seen or have experienced” and accept that as reality. Failure to acknowledge that atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) , the substrate that trees convert into sugars and then into wood, has increased substantially over a 30 year period and will continue to increase over the next rotation results in an underestimate of expected production from our forest lands.
The same stand that produced 5 green-tons/acre/year of wood (GTons/ac/yr) in the previous rotation would now be expected to produce nearly 6 GTons/ac/yr during the next rotation just due to CO2 improvements. At a blended price of $20/Gton, this means that instead of growing $100/ac/yr of wood a stand planted today might produce $120/ac/yr of wood. In addition, changes in genetic quality of the seedlings available today and improvements in forest management technology over the past 30 years have further increased production potential.
Genetic Improvement Impacts:
Over the past 30 year period a minimum of two cycles of breeding, testing and selection of new loblolly pine genotypes has taken place. This, on the average, would be expected to increase annual production another 25%. Thus, deploying the new genetics in an improved CO2 environment would raise expected annual production to about 7.5 GTons/ac/yr or to an annual earning potential of $150.00/ac/yr. Tree improvement has brought even greater gains in the last decade with the commercialization of control-mass-pollinated (CMP) seedling production McKeand, Abt, Allen, Li, Catts & D Dougtherty, J Wright. The CMP process uses only the best male and female genotypes in an orchard to produce high yielding, high stem quality and more rust resistant seedlings. Use of CMP seedlings can raise production a minimum of 10% bringing the annual production potential to 8.25 GTons/ac/yr or an annual growth worth rate of $165.00/ac/yr.
 What Are the Best Loblolly Pine Genotypes Worth to Landowners; S McKeand, R Abt, L Allen, B Li, & G Catts, Journal of Forestry, 2006 -104:352-358
 Improved Returns on Forestlands; D Dougherty & J Wright; Tree Farmer 28:1 2009 42-46
Improved Silviculture Impacts:
Technological improvements in site preparation, weed control and nutrition management have enabled increasing annual production equally as much as improvements in genetics Fox, Jokela, Allen. Silvicultural improvements coupled with good genetic seedlings can raise annual production rates to near 10 GTons/ac/yr or annual growth worth rate of $200.00 ac/yr.
 The Evolution of Pine Plantation Silviculture in the Southern United States; T Fox, E Jokela, L Allen, US Dept of Ag, Forest Service, Chapter 8: 63-82
1/ An eleven-year old CMP stand planted at less than 300 tpa on a wide row spacing that has greater than 85% potential high quality sawtimber trees.
2/ A one-year-old fall planted container loblolly pine stand located in S.E. Georgia that has received advanced silvicultural treatments. It averaged four feet in height at the end of year-one. In the 1970-1980 era this amount of growth would have taken between two-three years to achieve.
3/ A seven-year-old stand of prime-superior OP family growing in south Alabama. This stand would have 55-65% high quality sawtimber stems and very low risk to fusiform rust and breakage due to forking or large ramicorn branches.
Stem and Wood Quality Impacts of Fast Grown Wood:
This age-old question always comes up: will wood growing this fast be useful for anything? The truth is, future stands will be considerably better than previous rotation stands if the correct genetics and silvicultural practices are coupled. A recent review of wood density changes McKeand, Jett, Byram suggest that there is no evidence of significant changes in wood properties with the faster grown wood. Stands derived with new genetics that have greater branch size control, better straightness, less forking, less large ramicorn branches and less fusiform rust will have a greater percent of the trees that have high quality sawtimber potential and even pole potential logs. More-better is always good.
The net effect of improvements in growth environment, genetics, and silviculture is that the annual growth potential of an average acre in the SE USA has at least doubled! Indeed, it can be costly to assume nothing is different from the results you may have experienced in the past. It truly is a new day in the forestry arena. To efficiently capitalize on the new opportunities in forestry may require consulting with a professional forester that is current on the latest genetics and technology available and aware of the many silvicultural adjustments that need to be made when establishing todays’ high production forest stands.
 Good Wood; McKeand, Jett, Byram; Forest Landowners, 2014 73: (2) 14-19
Give yourself the best opportunity to maximize growth and yield with IFCO seedlings.
We believe that doing business with an open hand and sharing information builds trust between the forest industry and the landowners who grow it.
IFCO participates in over six research and genetic cooperatives and is committed to bringing what was once only available to the elite to every landowner.
IFCO specializes in cross zone hybrid testing and orchard improvement to ensure that the highest quality seedlings are delivered to our landownders.
IFCO hand-packages each seedling and ships directly from our fields to the landowner.
International Forest Company, Dougherty & Dougherty Forestry Services and The Forest Landowners will host the “Forest inSight” conference and field tour October 27-29, 2015 at the Rainwater Conference Center in Valdosta, Georgia and the field tour to Superior Pine at Fargo, GA. CFE credits will be available for the conference and tour. Please click on […]
August 13, 2015 by IFCO
The National Fish & Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) has announced a $4.6 million in grants to help support the longleaf ecosystem and advance the objectives of the Range-Wide Conservation Plan for Longleaf Pine. Funding will restore more than 11,600 acres and enhance more than 163,000 additional acres of longleaf pine habitat. For more information please contact […]
July 2, 2015 by IFCO
TEXAS A&M FOREST SERVICE CELEBRATES A CENTURY OF SERVICE Feb. 12, 2015 — COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Over the past 100 years, Texas A&M Forest Service has accomplished many feats, including establishing itself as a premiere entity in both forestry and all-hazard response. The state agency was established in 1915 by the 34th Texas […]
June 8, 2015 by IFCO