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TreeFarmer to help with woodlot harvest decisions

Graham West, New Zealand Tree Grower May 2021.

TreeFarmer is the latest of a series of levy-funded projects aimed at improving a small-scale forest grower’s woodlot harvesting experience.

 TreeFarmer does this by raising the grower’s awareness of the problems and decisions they will encounter when they decide to harvest. This development using the web provides a map of your property viewed as an aerial photograph. It shows your legal boundaries and allows you to draw where you would like the harvest roads to go, allows you to mark out the area of the woodlot to be harvested, and mark where the skid sites may go. Using the underlying layers of information you can then estimate the costs of roading, skids, harvesting and log transport.

It is intended that you can try different ways to get the road or track to the woodlot and understand the effect of factors which influence costs such as the type of road, the ground slope or availability of road metal.

The project has been guided by a steering group made up of forest growers, consultants and scientists. TreeFarmer is intended to be mainly educative and provide the woodlot grower with information to help with the practical and business elements. It does not provide a detailed harvesting operation plan nor deal with all risks and compliance issues. It can be used in conjunction with the Woodlot Analysis Tool to calculate nett profit. TreeFarmer can be used to examine the likely cost of future prospective planting blocks and therefore help find areas that maximise potential returns.

This project has also assembled a harvesting checklist for the forest owner to work through and points to helpful web-based reports, case studies, databases, and manuals. Location specific information on legal boundaries, powerlines, streams, metal pits, and nearest ports and mills are generated.

The name TreeFarmer gives it the context because it is specifically designed for the small-scale forest owner and has the potential to be used for more than just harvest planning. This version should be considered  a prototype and a wish list of additional work has been developed and prioritised by the steering group. Further levy funding is being requested for improvements –

The screen shot below shows a planned skid near the road, an access track, and the woodlot area defined  to calculate harvest costs.


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