Our aim is to develop forestry site equipment that will get the new seedlings into the ground as soon as possible after the logging operation, and for less cost per hectare or acre.
This requires a re think of old site prep techniques, like burning, chopper rolling, vee shearing and straight discing of the harvest debris.
This is a photo of a classic example of a site that has been chopper rolled and then mounded. The debris has just been pulled together over the old stumpline mound. With so much debris on the ground, the discs would not have disced to any depth so the internal cultivation of the bed would be poor making it difficult for the tree planters.
Chopper rolling is used to crush logging debris, which can be substantial, in the expectation that it will rot enough to be mounded. The only plow that has any chance of discing through the debris is a Savannah mounder but even it can’t cut through heavy slash. This means that poor cultivation has occurred under the rows of debris in the photo above.
I believe that moving the debris off the planting site with minimal effort, so that a cultivation can be performed is the most economical method to handle debris or slash.
The Davec Vee Rake can rake the debris to the side of the strip to be cultivated allowing the plow to disc deeply and thoroughly.
Vee rakes have been used previously but not successfully as the pinwheel can push debris but needs an effective method to open up the line of debris so that it can be pushed.
That problem has been solved with a large scalloped coulter. This photo shows one mounted by Nuland Contracting on a Komatsu D85.
It shown that once the debris has been cut right through, it can be parted, or opened up, using a heavy chain behind the coulter. This allows the pinwheel vee rake to effectively push the debris further off the stumpline and enabling the mounder to build a clean cultivated planting site.
DAVEC will further develop minimal site prep methods to assist companies that are forced to reduce replanting costs to an absolute minimum due to budgetary constraints. With over 35 years experience in forestry site prep, I know that the accountants will target site preparation as a sector that can have it’s budget reduced easily without anyone, except the foresters, knowing much about the cost cutting until the harvest 12 to 25 years later. Setting fire to the debris, spraying herbicide on the regrowth and then planting with a dibble can get the trees in the ground at minimum cost but the results will be poor. I believe we can achieve cost effective methods of mechanical site prep that will fit most budgets, AND the trees will grow well.