Silviculture: Mechanised planting

Mechanised planting demys tified


When Timberlands first considered trialling mechanised planting in Kaingaroa Forest, it was with some trepidation. What about the costs, the continuity of work, the product support, the risks? Those were some of the challenges that needed to be overcome says Ben Dixon, Timberlands Operations Manager. “But if not us, then who in New Zealand would trial this technology? We needed to have an open mind about the potential of mechanised planting and to be involved with its development.”


That led them to the M-Planter. With just four in the country – the first imported by Timberlands in 2018, two more in 2019 and the fourth in 2020, owned by another contractor – the first trial was followed by a full season of planting last year with some 350 000 seedlings planted during that season. Initially planting was done on prepared sites, says Henry Fear, Director of HA Fear and M-Planter NZ, the companies conducting the trials. The machines have since been adjusted to be able to do the main preparation as well, with the planting encompassing the full operation in one system and the resulting increased productivity.


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