NZ prepares for ‘invasion’ of loggers
Field tours pre- and post-event
MARK THE middle of June into your diaries. HarvestTECH 2017 is running in Rotorua, New Zealand, on 20-21 June. The inaugural harvesting event ran two years ago with close to 450 meeting in Rotorua.
The event SOLD OUT! It was the largest gathering of logging contractors, forestry managers, forest owners, harvest planners and equipment suppliers to the industry seen in New Zealand. Equipment suppliers, researchers, forestry companies and international contractors from throughout Australia, Canada, the US, Finland, Austria, Germany, Indonesia, and South Africa also flew into Rotorua to attend the event.
The focus was on steep slope logging. The number of logging crews working on steeper terrain in the country had seen exponential growth. Of course, with growth came innovation. The move by forest owners and contractors to increase mechanization, the desire to increase productivity and the requirement to improve safety had led to significant advances in harvesting practices and equipment that was being used on this steeper country.
New gear to work on steep slopes had been developed by some of the larger equipment suppliers. Much of the innovation, though, was coming from contractors working together with local engineering companies. The 2015 event run by the Forest Industry Engineering Association (FIEA) was able to showcase to the rest of the world, some of this new kiwi logging ingenuity in practice.
Since 2015, opportunities to profile logging innovations for steeper slopes had been taken outside New Zealand. An International steep slope logging event ran in Vancouver, Canada, in 2016 with over 250 logging contractors from B.C. and other regions from the Pacific North West attending. Overwhelming demand has since led to another event being run on 20-21 April in Kelso, WA, USA.
Two years on, logging steeper terrain will again be covered in Rotorua this year. Developments by local engineers, manufacturers and contractors over the last couple of years have been significant. “Steep slope logging though won’t be the only focus for the 2017 program,” says FIEA Director Brent Apthorp.
New technologies and operating practices in small woodlot harvesting (particularly around some of the unique challenges being faced harvesting the increasing number of woodlots on steep and more remote sites), harvest planning, advances in the mechanisation and automation of harvesting operations and issues around attracting people and new skills into the industry have been built into HarvestTECH 2017.
“Those attending this year will also get an insight into some truly innovative harvesting operations,” said Brent.
“Feedback from the 2015 event told us that rather than contractors setting up their own site visits around the conference, field tours to local logging operations should be set up. At this stage, two one-day field tours have already been planned for HarvestTECH 2017 delegates.”
A Future Forests Research Tour runs the day before the conference, Monday 19 June.
Visits will be to a local logging contractor demonstrating innovative products and equipment recently developed by equipment manufacturers in conjunction with FFR and logging contractors. The second tour, the day after the conference, is the AB Equipment Harvesting Tour which runs on Thursday 22 June.