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New technology for steepland harvesting

The outputs from the Steepland Harvesting Programme, managed by Forest Growers Research (FGR), will be highlighted at an upcoming field demonstration day in conjunction with the HarvestTECH17 Conference in Rotorua on Monday 19th June 2017. The demonstration is being hosted by contractor Mr Ian Harvey and his FPNZ Ltd crew in PF Olsen’s Gammons Forest 25km north west of Rotorua.

A wide range of innovative products developed by equipment manufacturers in conjunction with FGR and local harvesting contractors will be demonstrated. The equipment has been developed to improve both safety and productivity of steep land harvesting operations and will include:

  • Teleoperated John Deere 909 feller buncher operated from an operator cabin on the landing

  • HarvestNav machine navigation system with machine slope warning

  • Alpine Grapple Carriage to eliminate manual breaking out

  • New CutoverCam hauler vision system to provide the hauler operator with full vision of the breaking out zone

  • Skyshifter tail hold carriage to reduce manual skyline shifts

  • Automatic Quick Coupler that permits rapid changing of processor heads and loading grapple on excavator boom

  • New UAV drone technology for harvest planning, flying straw lines and post-harvest assessment

  • Synthetic logging rope for guy ropes and straw lines

The Field Demonstration is being run in conjunction with the Harvest Tech 2017 Conference and is only available to conference delegates. For registrations http://www.fiea.org.nz/harvesttech/

The current steep land harvesting programme ends on 30 June 2017 after 7 years of intensive effort by forest growers, contractors, researchers and technology developers who have focused on improving the safety and productivity of harvesting on steep land. During this time the industry has seen a major shift to mechanisation on steep terrain and the adoption of technology to make harvesting safer and more productive.

A new Primary Growth Partnership proposal, focused on the introduction of new automation and robotics technology to forestry value chains has been submitted to the Ministry for Primary Industries. The programme, titled “Te Mahi Ngahere I te Ao Hurihuri – Forestry Work in the Modern Age”, will be presented to the PGP Investment Panel by Mr Russell Dale representing Forest Growers Research, and Mr Peter Clark, representing a consortium of forest growers and contractors driving the proposal. We expect to know by early June whether the proposal will proceed to the development of a full business proposal.