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Farm Tractor Skidding Costs in Relation to Profitability of a Fuelwood Harvesting System

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The need to improve forest management on small private woodlands has stimulated interest in using smaller skidding tractors for tree removal. A Massey Ferguson four-wheel drive farm tractor being used for fuelwood removals was observed for one year to assess its productive potential. On a range of site conditions the tractor produced 1.04 cords per scheduled hour. At full-time tractor operation of 1800 scheduled hours per year, producing 1872 cords, the machine cost was $5.40 per cord for an average skidding distance of 878 ft. This is a very favorable skidding cost, but it is not realistic. Examination of a model fuelwood harvesting system in which this machine might operate showed that machine cost is much higher in actual practice because the tractor is only used for part of each workday. The modal system produced wood at the rate of 2 cords per day for a 200-day year with the skidding tractor producing 1.57 cords per scheduled hour at a 529 ft skid distance. The system was capable of producing only 400 cords per year, thus reducing scheduled hours necessary for tractor use to 255. The machine cost under these conditions was $18 per cord because fixed machine cost per cord was higher. North. J. Appl. For. 5:207-210, Sept. 1988.
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Document Type: Journal Article

Affiliations: School of Natural Resources, The University of Vermont, Bington 05405

Publication date: 01 September 1988

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