Getting wood onto the landing or skid site is just half the battle – transporting logs to the mill or port in a timely manner is equally important. This year’s Woodflow conference saw various ideas and new technologies sounded out.
INTRODUCING MORE ROBOTICS INTO harvesting operations will ease labour shortages, the Woodflow 2018 conference was told last month.
Keith Raymond, Harvesting Programme Leader with Forest Growers Research (FGR), says the lack of young people coming into the industry is already limiting wood flow from our forests.
And the situation will continue to worsen, with another thousand young loggers required by 2025 as the wood harvest in New Zealand increases to 35 million cubic metres.
But it could be alleviated by introducing more automated equipment and systems more quickly.
“I don’t know where we’re going to get the hundreds of youngsters for our crews, so if we can have more automated machines it will keep a lid on the numbers we’ll need over the coming years,” says Mr Raymond.
FGR is close to receiving the green light for an ambitious research programme that will speed up the introduction of automation by 2025.
It has applied to the Ministry of Primary Industries for funding under the Primary Growth Partnership programme and Mr Raymond says it could be signed off within a matter of weeks.
The new programme could see up to $30 million pumped into research on a range of new machines and new ideas, with the aim of commercialising them by the middle of the next decade. FGR has already brought a number of industry players on board in readiness to kick-start the programme, including seven manufacturing partners, nine technology development support participants, nine forestry company consortiums and five harvesting and log transport companies.