Tropical Forestry Services (TFS) says its happy with its first commercial harvest of Indian Sandalwood in the Ord region of Western Australia, despite yields being below initial expectations.

TFS has already stated publically that it expected its first harvest to be below what was first anticipated in 1998, due to the trees having a low survival rate.

The company has harvested five hectares of the tree since September 3 and is expected to harvest 144 hectares in the next year.

TFS's Malcolm Baker says in some places the survival rate is as low as 20 per-cent.

"We have both estimated and communicated over a number of years that the yields from the first harvest would be substantially lower than what we expect and certainly a lot lower than the later plantations."

However, Mr Baker says the company is impressed with the quality of the product.

"We have been very pleased with the quality and the quantity of the heartwood in the trees we have harvested.

"The main concern we had with this plantation, that we have known for a long time, is the survival rates were very low. However, we will still get a return from this plantation."

Investors have been waiting since 1999, when the trees were planted, for a return, a return Mr Baker says they should be receiving.

"Even though we have got very poor survival rates and in some cases very poor growth, it is anticipated that the growers at a minimum will get the investment money they put in back and we are anticipating a small return as well."

 

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