This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Kevin Cunningham 4 years ago.

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    I havn’t been on the forum here for a long time. Here is a few pictures of my ox logging adventures for those of you not on facebook. My team is 4 years old now and strong as hell, it makes the job a lot easier when they can pull whatever you hook them to. This past winter I logged 5 loads of sawlogs 20,000 bdft +/-. I was skidding all the way across a 90 acre property with a slight uphill pitch so when the snow got deep I started bunching logs along my main trail and used a 4×4 tractor to bring them for the longer skid. I also used the tractor to stack logs on the landing. The oxen could easily out pull the 50 hp tractor for a short distance given the ground conditions however the tractor never got tired and slowed down. I am still not getting the production I had hoped for but seem to be making forward progress all the time.

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    Rick Alger

    Hi Tom. Thanks for posting. Not much logger talk lately on dapnet.

    Those oxen look fit, and the stand is nicely done.

    On the topic of production, I’ve cut a lot of wood for a lot of years and never had anywhere near the production you hear about. I cut mostly spruce and fir and generally averaged a ten wheeler load a week over a season. And I had to work long days and plenty of weekends weekends to do that.

    Short-skidding to tractor roads sounds like an excellent plan.


    Rick Alger

    Back again. Thought I’d elaborate on the topic of production. In an earlier life, I put in some time as a production cutter. I was far from the best, but I could easily cut and limb a load a day, and I once did seven. On the jobs I worked there was no concern for the residual stand or any other environmental issue, it was strictly, “get em down and take em to town.” That’s the production mentality.

    The reason I committed to horses was to get away from that mentality. I like to think of the horses as a forest management tool rather than a production unit.

    The challenge is to get fairly paid for the management value that you provide. Generally it can’t be covered by what you can produce if you do it right.


    Brad Johnson

    Nice looking team and work there. Following up on Rick’s comments, I have never had the chance to work on a mechanized, production operation, though I have done some work with small machinery paired with horses. I have no interest whatsoever in being part of high production process that you describe, and I totally agree with you about horsepower being an effective management tool. I am always striving to strike the right balance of good woodlot management and enough production that I can make a living doing what I love to do in the woods. I have found that my work with Bob Capobianco, using two teams and small tractor with a winch and forks allow us to accomplish both the ecological and economic goals in the woods. The most important end result I can provide is a healthy and valuable residual stand that will serve the landowner for years to come.



    About the production thing, I know I cannot make a living based on production. I have to be paid by the hour or day not the MBF, however the more I can produce in that time the more the landowner has to gain. Hence opening the door to more jobs. I have only been doing this ox logging thing for 3 winters now and suddenly I have more work then I can handle, however not all of those request are for jobs I can do efficiently, long skids, uphill skids, extremely poor timber etc. I really do think a hybrid system is the happy medium. A forwarder or small cable skidder along with the animals will drastically improve production and make more sites feasible for draft logging.
    I am planning a job for this winter that I am really excited about. Selective cutting a excellent quality hardwood stand with a long uphill skid. The solution: Getting help from an experienced horse logger, and a conscientious cable skidder operator. The horses and oxen will bunch logs along one or two main trails and the skidder will haul them out. The skidder operator will also help with felling if he can get ahead of us. I can’t wait to have the chance to learn from these other guys.


    Kevin Cunningham

    Sounds like an exciting project Tom. I don’t know anything about logging but I do know that mixed power seems to be the best option for most situations in our current situation. I am finding that I can’t go full in yet without some transitionary steps. At least in my lifetime I hope to always be able to put gas in my chainsaw.

    I might get the chance to do some ox logging this winter as well. A friend of mine wants to thin some “dog hair” stands of fir. Small logs with little value but they see it as investing in the future health of the forest.

    I can see how the word of mouth value of draft logging could spread quickly in a community. A lot of people around here seem to be into the idea of using draft in the woods. It is yet to be determined if they will pay for it though.

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