Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Sustainable Living and Land use › Sustainable Forestry › Spring/Summer Logging
- March 7, 2017 at 12:50 pm #90145
After 2 or 3 mud seasons this winter, now we have our rhythm, here comes spring…..
I need to continue cutting to get my jobs done, generate enough cash, keep us all in shape. Other than the obvious concerns; Mud, runoff, soft bark, nesting birds, what types of compromises do I need to consider to continue working?
My local skidder logger friends have given me their 2 cents worth. I was wondering if some of you guys could weigh in on what to consider working in the woods and marketing logs through the spring and summer. Do you choose different stands to work in, market different species?
Please share any and all considerations based on your experiences?
Thanks!March 8, 2017 at 2:23 pm #90149Rick AlgerParticipant
I’m retired now, but when I was hard at it, I didn’t do any logging in the spring, that is from March to May. The roads were banned for much of the time, and the ground was generally too soft. In June I’d work an upland stand and stay there till mid-November. It was usually softwood.
Then I would move to what would be my winter job which would also be softwood. This job would probably be on wetter ground, and it would also have to be reasonably close to a road that would be plowed in the winter. I would work up my skid trails before the heavy snow and make my yard if necessary.
Since I usually worked with a forester who decided most things environmental, I didn’t have too many day -to-day compromises to contend with. It was either “work” or “shut down”.
If I was working by the hour as I believe you said you were, and wanted to work under questionable conditions, I would look into using a rope and snatch blocks to skid out of bogs etc, and a scoot or an arch to forward down the main trails.
As far as marketing goes, I would work out an arrangement with a trucker or a forester who had multiple mill contracts.March 12, 2017 at 11:33 am #90161
I am using an arch now, it has impressed me with reducing damage during these muddy stints. The problem has been on my main trails where I take a lot of trips it gets buggered up. I am working on a timber trailer right now to lessen the hoof traffic on main trails.
I have a few small hourly jobs here and there but lately I have been learning how to market logs, I would love to learn more about how seasonality effects marketing logs?
Other than Mud what other factors play into off season logging?March 12, 2017 at 4:47 pm #90165Rick AlgerParticipant
Not conversant on ecological factors, but I’m sure there are a few.
A business factor would be the problem of having to stockpile wood until the roads firm up. Around here a lot of wood roads aren’t ready for trucks until around June. Some wood could check or stain as it sits, and markets/contracts could evaporate. Even if all the wood finally moved, you could be be working with no cash flow for several months.March 16, 2017 at 8:26 pm #90167
Thanks Rick! I am not doing as much hourly work lately because I am trying to figure out how I fit into the conventional timber market. I also have a log yard less than a mile from house.
Any other opinions on the topic?March 20, 2017 at 2:03 pm #90168Carl RussellModerator
I don’t see too many compromises to working horses in the woods year-round. At different times in my career I have harvested timber around the calendar. Nesting birds, erosion, soft bark all can be significant impacts, but in general the cumulative effect of a horse operation during one summer is minimal. I have redirected skid trails to avoid Ovenbird, hummingbird, and woodcock nests… At least we can see them before we destroy them.
Logs drag harder on dirt, horses sweat more, and flies suck…. but the days are longer and there is no snow to plow, or ice to slip on.
The most perishable product is white pine sawlogs. You need to be able to get them to market within a week of cutting in the depth of summer, or they will stain, and be worth very little. Spruce is not as bad, and hardwoods are less, but all trees with sap flowing in them can spoil due to stain. It works best if you stick to one market at a time, so that you can get loads on the road as timely as possible.
Planning harvest areas ahead of time is worthwhile, so that you don’t stick yourself with scattered timber on a long skid in the hottest weather. Cut a few short skids in the morning to warm up, move farther back for midday, then back to a few short hitches at the end. That way you can make every day an average day.
Your forwarder wagon will be a big energy saver, as will other devices like a scoot. Basically figuring out which devices will give best advantage in which areas, rather than trying to use the arch for everything will go a long way to conserving energy and improving efficiency.
I tend to shoe with pulling shoes, which are particularly helpful on dirt. I cut the caulks down to 3/4″, but they still have great traction. When trails get slippery from rain, this traction will be very helpful for the horses, but in general horses that pull heavy loads on dirt will learn that they have solid footing, and their effort will surpass anything they would have put forth when barefoot.
I suppose there are as many solutions as there are operators.
Have fun, Carl
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.