Tree Harvesting Method

1) One Man Operation
Farmi tree harvesting is a system designed to give high output in production with low investment in machinery.  It allows existing tractors with PTO and three-point hitch to be used by farmers, woodlot owners and contractors.  One person can operate very efficiently.

2) Tree Length Skidding
Farmi tree harvesting is based on tree length skidding, whereby the trees are felled and delimbed in the woods and then skidded to the landing, where they are bucked and stacked.  The Farmi tree harvesting method also works fine with cut-to-length systems.

3) What It Costs
For an investment of $2000-4500 a farm tractor can be put to use in the fall and winter, when it would otherwise generally be standing idle.  This is the lowest possible investment for a productive operation.

4) Equipment
17hp to 150hp farm tractors, with PTO and 3-point hitch, are used with matched Farmi winch, complete with, snatchblock, and chain chokers.   ROP's cab, front end loader or front end weights are necessary. Ice chains are needed in the wintertime. Chain saw, hard hat, safety gloves and boots complete the requirements.

5) Production
USDA Forest's Forestry Sciences Laboratory reports 246 board feet per trip as an average of a 23-day study.  The equipment used was a JL 30 (now replaced by JL 351) winch on a used international 340 tractor (33 HP).
Forest Engineering Institute of Canada reports an average load volume of 0.33 ct (0.9 m^3) in a five day study.  The equipment used was a JL 30 winch on a IH 444 (38 HP)

6) Damage to Residual Stand
The Farmi method is very useful in thinning operations where damage to the remaining trees must be avoided.  A 1979 study (J. Peusu) of two thinning operations found that damage on the remaining trees was slight.  Of the remaining trees in one woodlot, only 1.5% were damaged and 0.5% in the other.  The equipment used was Farmi JL 306 (now replaced by the JL 351 model) winches on Leyland 282 and Valmet 702 tractors.

7) Planning Stage
The Farmi tree harvesting method is designed to minimize damage to the remaining trees in selective cuttings.  The machinery never leaves the planned skid trails.  The trees are winched to the trails and then skidded out to the landing.  Alternatively, one can winch the trees to the skid road and then transport the trees out with a forwarder.  An inexpensive and compact forwarder can be made for firewood and pulp production by pulling a trailer behind a farm tractor which is equipped with Farmi knuckleboom loader.

Skid Routes:
The stand, terrain and the equipment which is available to transport the trees determine how close the skid trails are to each other. Two hundred feet is one popular distance.  The skid trails are planned and marked before marking the trees to be cut.  The object is to find the most advantageous routes for the machinery.  Plan the routes as straight as possible because they will serve you through the thinning to the final felling.  When planning your routes, avoid side leaning and rather, skid slightly uphill or downhill.

8)Direction Felling in Selective Cutting
Direction felling saves labor and reduces damage on the residual stand.  The small logging slash is left on the skid road where it reduces soil compaction and protects the tractor's tires.

9)  Positioning of the Tractor

Always position the tractor on flat ground in line with the direction of the pull.   Do not winch from angles exceeding 30 degrees sideways.   Use a snatchblock to avoid winching sideways.   Also use a snatchblock when obstacles prevent direct winching

10) Preparing For Winching
Lock brakes of the tractor before winching.  Lower the 3-pt. hitch so that the stabilizer legs or dozer blade are anchoring the winch to ground.   Several logs can be hooked up and winched in at one time by means of keyhole sliders  on the cable.  The skidding chain should have a pin on the end which makes it easier to pass the chain underneath the tree.

11) Winching
Start the power takeoff.  Operate the Farmi clutch with the control rope, standing a safe distance of at least six feet from the winch.  Some operators prefer to operate the clutch from the tractor seat, provided they have a protective guard screen on their canopy or on the winch.  Engage the clutch gradually; the harder you pull on the rope, the more power is supplied to the winch drum.  The winch clutch immediately disengages when you quit pulling on the rope.

The clutch will slip when the selected pull is not enought to move the logs, preventing damage and increasing cable life, particularly if the load becomes hooked behind an obstacle.

The winch cable runs over the upper sheave (pulley); the high pulling point causes the load to force the legs or dozerblade into the ground, anchoring the unit.

Pulling from a high point also reduces the tendency of logs to dig into the ground
Stop winching when the logs get within 5-10 ft. from the tractor.  Turn off the PTO.  Turn the lower snatchblock to the right and run the cable under it.  (The lower snatchblock is built so that the cable cannot come out when the logs are pulled forward.)
[Winch Details] Engage PTO, pull the clutch control rope and winch the logs to the pulley.  Keep tension on the cable and pull the thinner rope that operates the brake ratchet.  Stop pulling on the clutch rope first.  The load is now locked in place.

12) Skidding
Turn off the PTO, raise the 3-point hitch so the logs come off the ground.  Select the gear on the tractor, and drive down the skid road.

13) Dropping The Load- Landing Layout & Procedures
Lower the 3-point hitch.  Engage the PTO.  Pull the winch clutch rope momentarily until the brake ratchet releases, dropping the logs to the ground.   Disengage the PTO.  Turn the lower snatchblock to the right and remove the cable.  Unhook choker chains from the logs and stow in Farmi frame brackets.

The location and layout of the landing areas are important factors to consider when planning the operation, particularly if products must be sorted.   This section outlines a recommended landing layout that can be used when products must be sorted (for example, sawlogs and pulpwood).  If only one product is producted, the landing layout will be simpler.  The treee lengths are dropped at the first log pile and the tractor is driven past the last pile with the calbe free-wheeling.   The sawlogs are bucked off and the tops are winched to the pulpwood pile.

Push the logs together with the stabilizer legs of the winch.  An optional dozerblade is available for most Farmi winch models

Alternative Method
The stems are winched to the skid road and bucked to the desire length.  The logs are then loaded on to the trailer with a knuckleboom loader.  A Farmi loader can be mounted on the tractor's 3-point hitch or the tongue of the trailer.   The loader is positioned for transport by lying the grapple & boom on top of the load.  Thus, the loader is not affected by turning actions.  Disconnecting the trailer also disconnects the loader from the tractor.  The trailer should have bogie wheels.

Adjustable bunks make it possible to transport logs of varying lengths.