Productivity of Vimek 404 T5 harvester and Vimek 610 forwarder in early thinning
¹Latvian State forest Research Institute 'Silava', RPgas street 111, Salaspils, LV-2169,
²Forest Sector Competence Center, DzRrbenes street 27, RPga, LV-1006, Latvia
The scope of the study was to evaluate productivity of small size forest machines in early thinning, as well as to identify opportunities to use this technology to Latvia. The study was implemented in Sweden using Vimek 404 T5 harvester and Vimek 610 forwarder. The machines were driven by experienced operators; harvesting and forwarding methods were adopted to the operators’ experience. Time studies were done by team of researchers from Latvian State forest Research Institute ‘Silava’. The study demonstrated that Vimek 404 T5 harvester has considerable advantages in compare to conventional forest machinery to produce limited number of assortments like biofuel or mixture of pulpwood and biofuel in early thinning. Annual capacity of a single harvester working in one shift is 800 ha or 25,000 m3; however, application of the machine is limited – it might not work efficiently in commercial thinning in Latvia due to large number of assortments required by customers, and it has limited possibilities of utilization during seasonal restrictions of forest operations. Productivity of Vimek 610 forwarder is comparable with the conventional middle size forwarders; however it becomes less beneficial with increase of forwarding distance. Prime cost of biomass, including harvesting, forwarding and road transport to a 50 km distance is 14.3 EUR m-3. Hourly cost of Vimek 404 T5 and 610 is similar – 26–28 EUR h-1.