NZ pre­pares for ‘in­va­sion’ of log­gers

Field tours pre- and post-event

Australian Forests and Timber - - IN THE NEWS -

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.

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