Evaluation of a tracked feller-buncher harvesting plantation loblolly pine
A Tigercat 845D3 swing-to-tree tracked feller-buncher was evaluated while operating on four sites located in Butler, Covington, Crenshaw, and Monroe counties in south Alabama. Study sites were comprised of loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) and ranged in age from 14 to 16 years with a mean tree size of 6.2 to 7.6 inches at Diameter Breast Height (DBH). The feller-buncher incorporated several new design features which included a high-speed shear head, a high capacity accumulating head, an adjustable shear opening, and an improved boom and swing system to increase fuel efficiency. The feller-buncher was observed while operating in stands that ranged from 486 to 777 trees per acre (TPA). Total cycle times ranged from 59 to 73 seconds. The majority of cycle time was spent accumulating trees in the head and ranged from 54.7% to 68.8% of total cycle time. Production rates ranged from 77.9 to 113.7 green tons/Productive Machine Hour (gt/PMH).