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The Log - issue two - news in brief

Welcome to the second edition of “The Log”, the newsletter of Programme Three Harvesting and Operations. It has been a productive time for our small team since issue one was released; here is just a glimpse…..

· University of Tasmania Postdoctoral Research Fellow Mauricio Acuna completed the programme’s first major field trial, conducted with input and cooperation from South East Fibre Exports Pty Ltd (SEFE), addressing native forest thinning at Eden. These findings were presented to the Programme Coordinating Comittee (PCC) in Albany in February - if you would like find out more, please contact Mauricio. The field trial report is now being finalised and the results will be presented to SEFE and their contractor Stephen Pope in mid April. While the results relate specifically to native forest thinning they have considerable relevance more widely and are well worth reviewing. This trial enabled us to test and refine data collection methods while working for several weeks within (and having negligible impact on) a highly productive harvesting operation. This experience will be invaluable for future field trials.

· University of Melbourne Postdoctoral Research Fellow Martin Strandgard completed the first part of his project addressing harvester measurement calibration and accuracy. These findings were also presented to the PCC. Martin’s work is of particular relevance to those involved in mechanised harvesting operations where a range of products are produced and value optimisation at the stump is important. As interest in solid wood options from eucalypt plantations continue to grow, the relevance of Martin’s work becomes even more apparent. A summary is provided by Martin here.

· Programme Leader Mark Brown sourced a considerable amount of log truck tare weight data from a number of industry partners and has begun initial analysis of these data. Early results indicate that there is considerable potential to improve the load carrying capacity of transport fleets with obvious benefits from both a financial and environmental perspective. Those not involved in this activity so far are encouraged to become involved. For more information on the assessment or to include your data please contact Mark.

Timbercorp - Blue Chip - truck

A Timbercorp purpose-built trailer for chip haulage that provides better loading and transport efficiency.

Read about the modified shunt truck

· In December 2007 a series of two-day harvest planning workshops were held in three locations around the country. Ninety-seven participants attended these workshops and analysis of the feedback forms indicated an overall positive response. However, there were some attendees critical of the content and we are taking this into account when planning future activities, including the workshops held in May, machine evaluation on the front line. Many participants observed that the December workshops were successful just in terms of providing a forum for a wide range of harvesting and operations expertise to gather and engage with each other within a targeted learning environment. You can read a report on the December workshops which was featured in the December issue of CRC for Forestry News
An article on the May workshops is featured in this issue of The Log.

· As part of the CRC’s commitment to help build research capacity in harvesting and operations in Australia, Programme Advisor Loren Kellogg and Programme Leader Mark Brown are playing an active role in the development and presentation of a forest operations course, which is a component of the National Forestry Masters Program. The forest operations course can also be taken independently of the National Forestry Masters Program, providing further excellent professional development options for industry partner staff. The first units of the forest operations course were conducted over a 10 day intensive teaching period from 23 June to 4 July this year at the Creswick Campus of Melbourne University.

· Harvesting and Operations has been negotiating with two new potential industry partners to join the programme - Integrated Tree Cropping Limited and VicForests. At the PCC meeting in February it was agreed that new partners would be charged a one off administration / buy-in fee (negotiable depending on their current involvement with other CRC for Forestry programmes but a current minimum of $5,000 that will be reviewed over time) in lieu of the considerable effort expended by the existing members to establish and develop the programme so far, and an annual fee related to the annual log / chip production of the incoming partner in line with that paid by other comparative organisations that are currently programme partners. It is believed that selected new partners will add to the strength to the programme and contribute additional funds to underpin research and deployment activities.

We thank our industry partners for your extensive input into the Project Agreement, which is a requirement of the agreement between the CRC for Forestry and the Federal Government. It was pleasing to receive indicative approval of the final draft at the PCC meeting. This document will soon be circulated and signed off.

· While the Project Agreement outlines the programme's overall objectives, the Strategic Work Plan outlines how we intend to achieve these objectives. This document has also been finalised and was approved at the PCC meeting. The Strategic Work Plan is a working document that will be reviewed annually to make sure the programme’s research activities continue to meet industry partners’ research needs.

Please contact Programme Leader Mark Brown with your comments or suggestions for articles for The Log issue three.