Research article Harvesting: radiata pine production and cost trends.
C. J. Terlesk
Estimates of harvesting production rates are often required by forest managers prior to the commencement of the operations. In an effort to meet this requirement, various harvesting studies have been combined into a series of graphs linking piece size with production rates and direct cost per cubic metre either at the landing or on the logging truck. Ground and cable extraction operations in both clearfelling and thinning are covered, but the data for cable logging operations are weak and this area requires further research effort. The crew numbers and capital investment have been allowed to fluctuate with piece size to give a better representation of a balanced logging system. To ensure greater homogeneity of the data the standard FRI costing format has been used to calculate the cost per cubic metre. All production rates are calculated on a 100 m haul distance, with the exception of the clearfelling cable operation which is standardised at 200 m. The various graphs show that small piece size reduces production rates and inflates cost. Small piece size material is relatively more expensive at the landing or on the truck than larger piece size material in both thinnings and clearfellings utilising either cable or ground extraction systems. The information in this report is gathered from operations solely within the Bay of Plenty region, and primarily from high-producing contract crews. Production rates therefore appear high by some standards but they are achievable. Costs will date rapidly and technology will cause production rates to alter over time. However, the relationship between piece size and production should continue to give a reasonable estimate of achievable production rates in current and proposed long-length Pinus radiata (radiata pine) operations.
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