The Juken Nissho plywood mill in Kaitaia is cutting costs and hours worked by contractors.
The company is the Northland town's biggest employer with about 300 staff and contractors at its two plants.
Manager Denis Clarke says the plywood veneer plant will be shut between orders to save power and runnning costs.
Permanent employees will be put on cleaning and maintenance, but two dozen yard contractors will be out of work in the down-spells.
Mr Clark says inquiries about the mill's other product, Triboard, are increasing as companies look for faster and cheaper ways to build houses.
He says new markets are opening in India and Australia.
Juken Nissho is to open two Triboard show homes in Australia this winter.