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Spruce Pirate

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    Stirlingshire

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  1. Sounds interesting J. I've often wondered about a similar set up for 1st thinnings in spruce, but never got as far as actually costing anything. A couple of thoughts...… When you load the whole tree onto the forwarding trailer, with them being largely dead, brittle ash you're likely to break a lot of the branches off. Some of these will get left behind in the wood, mostly the smaller ones, but hopefully you'll retain many in the bunk. This might actually increase the capacity per load if I'm not mistaken? The same at the point of chipping, hopefully it will be more compact, resulting in more material per grab getting fed into the chipper. Jenkys are extracting brash from the mats along the road for us and chipping into walking floors in the wood, so there must be some sort of money in it. Clearfell, after everything has been extracted the forwarder lifts all the mats, stacks brash at roadside, tracked chipper comes in, loaded by excavator with grab straight into a walking floor. Commercial operation, non-grant aided as far as I know, customer getting a return on the brash. On a slight downside, if the spacing is that tight then a 30' pole is going to be quite something to manoeuvre around! Either you're going to skin the retained trees which isn't going to be good or you're going to break the poles, especially as they're brittle ash. Realistically I'd think you'd probably do both which is the worst combination. There are good reasons for short-wood working in thinnings as opposed to long-wood. Be interested to see how you get on with it and if the figures add up.
  2. Knowing practically nothing about coppicing I have a romantic image of hand-cutting and brash bonfires. That said there's a bit along the road that's grown for biomass which is cut with a forager. Is it a forage harvester you're talking about or forestry harvester or specific coppice harvester?
  3. Plenty of narrow roads on the continent: By now you really should have learned that everything is better up here!!!
  4. FC are now running Peugeot Partners with 4*4 around here. Look good vans, good enough ground clearance, 4*4 if it's a bit greasy. Towing not great obviously, but look good vans for the woods.
  5. Is this like a sweepstake? Is there a prize for closest guess? 15:47 on the 31st of this month - N/S wingmirror.
  6. I think a good assessor will decide whether someone is competent pretty quickly. How a person looks, acts, what condition their kit is in, what kit they've got all help to inform an assessor whether or not the candidate knows what they're doing or not. That is if the assessor themselves knows what they're about. The blethering and having a cup of tea should then confirm experiencea and underlying knowledge. After that a good assessor should know if they need to spend 45 minutes cutting a couple of trees to confirm what they think or whether they want to do lots of trees to make sure someone is actually up to scratch. So either you have a full day cutting getting refreshed or you only do a wee bit followed by a lot of gossip, reminiscing and drinking tea. This last part should still count as refresher as it is more than likely vocational and will cover all sorts of different scenarios and how they were / should have been dealt with. Never underestimate the importance of a good blether!
  7. Dendroctonus micans? Great spruce bark beetle, plenty of info on FC site about them.
  8. Bottle jack and a plate is by far the cheapest option. You can get a Tree Jack, but they're 5*, 6*, 10* the price. As above a slight angle down toward the felling direction helps keep it in place. Back it up with wedges.
  9. It's the last day of my easter "holiday" and I need to be up early tomorrow so I'll re-read your post tomorrow when my brain is working properly. All I can remember right now is that the yield models show as little as 3 years between thinnings for sitka so you're not totally out with going in so soon.
  10. Trouble is....... What is classed as a thinning machine? In Conor's example an Ergo isn't exactly a small machine, certainly not in first thinnings. Put almost any off the shelf machine from any of the big manuracturers into first thinnings and it'll look HUGE. What the manufacturers class as thinnings machines are, in my opinion, really more suited to later thinnings. In order to do first thinnings properly you're looking as specialist small scale machinery (such as yours J) or going back to hand cutting - or a combination of both. Problem then is a lack of funds to cover the costs. Problem if you put machines that are too big in is you end up skinning trees and damaging the ground , you end up with butt rot and potentially unstable crops. The result can be seen all over the place either non-thin regime or a delayed thin, more instability followed by premature clearfell. There's still quite a bit of figuring out to be done in the thinning conundrum, small scale equipment seems to be getting better, but I thing there's still a bit to do to persuade people (owners / investors) that it's worthwhile doing properly. I should add that I'm talking really about upland spruce (sitka) forests, those who are luckier to be lower down with better soils and more diverse crops may be able to make thinnings work easier.
  11. I don't think that's really any new news as far as the industry is concerned. Been found more on native pine largely due to looking for it more rather than any big jump in spread as far as I can see. It is now so endemic in plantation stuff that its no longer surveyed for by the FC in plantations. The native pinewoods it could have an effect on, especially in tight canopys and thicket stages. Stuff we looked at in Tentsmuir Forest a few years ago that was really badly infected and very sparse in needle coverage has recovered very well thanks to intensive thinning to let the air flow through. Native pinewoods with non-intervention managment policies might suffer quite badly if there are areas of dense canopy. On the other hand, as I understand it, it's very rarely fatal to trees so they might be able to withstand it.
  12. Outside the house last year.
  13. Dothistroma has been found on spruces, but not to any significant degree as far as I'm aware. The pictures looks more like Elatobium (spruce aphid) to me, but I'm not totally sure. Could also be wind blast if there's been a particularly cold east wind? Just scrolled up to look at pictures again and saw your post, so yes, I'd agree with that.

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