Harvesting Starts in McQuade Forest

Clearfell harvesting was commenced in McQuade forest on Saturday the 31st of September. Harvesting started in the entrance way to the forest, with the skid site located just inside the gateway. The contractor commissioned to do the job is Mangoihe Logging. Mangoihe have previously working in the Rayoneir managed Farley bock located just after Upokongaro on State highway 4, about 20km south of McQuade.

Mangoihe have the cabability of being a hauler crew however, for this particular setting in McQuade it was decided that groundbased harvesting was most appropriate. Their gear includes a Cat 324D log loader used to shovel stems, stack processed logs and load trucks as well as a Cat 336D with a Woodsman 800 processing head attached. The 336 processes all stems into log sorts whilst delimbing and measuring each individual stem. It is also capable of felling trees on easy terrain. Wood is pulled from the cutover using a Cat D6R bulldozer equipped with a winch. Mangoihe employ 7 men in their crew who operate machinery, fell trees and carry out quality control.

An estimate of 220 tons of wood is able to be pulled each day on average which equates to around 7 truckloads. Piece size is averaging around the 3 ton mark at the moment however some stems are up to 8 tons and can produce 2 tonne pruned butt logs worth around $260 each. Almost every stem produces a pruned butt log, with quite a high proportion of export grades (large branched wood) coming from the unpruned portion of the log. This is because of the high growth rates associated with the site. As more wood from higher up in the stand is processed more S grade (small branched wood) is being produced. All pruned and S grade logs are sent to Waverley sawmills. A large branched sawlog is sent to Tangiwai Sawmill near Ohakune as well as rough pulp logs which are sent to the pulp mill at Karioi. Export logs are currently being trucked to Palmerston North Rail Yard and then freighted via rail to Napier. The cost of this is about $4 more than trucking to the New Plymouth port however, prices at Napier are substantially higher due to less handling costs and also a shortage of log supply in that area.

The crew should be in McQuade for around a month, at which point a smaller ground base crew will continue clearfell as well as a roadlining crew which will clear roadside trees and also begin road condtruction.

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