Research article Mechanical site preparation using excavators
The use of excavators for site preparation is becoming increasingly popular in New Zealand and overseas. Excavators can be fitted with a wide range of attachments and can fulfil multiple tasks within a forest.
This paper summarises recent LIRO studies of excavators used in a site preparation role in the forest industry.
Windrowing with an excavator fitted with a slash rake achieved 0.46 hectares per productive machine hour at a cost of $240 per hectare.
Spot cultivation by ripping and mounding with an excavator cost $434 per hectare at 0.29 hectares per productive machine hour.
The ROTREE spot cultivator-mounder working on sites with slopes of 0-15° covered 0.23-0.29 hectares per productive machine hour at a cost of $450-$540 per hectare.
Excavators can typically work on steeper slopes than other commonly used site preparation equipment and operate with less site impact.
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