National forestry services company Harvestco has been awarded the contract to harvest, store and stockpile the first 200,000 tonnes of pine in the Kangaroo Island Plantation Timbers estate.
Harvestco started work on the Island in December 2020, clearing rows of trees alongside powerlines, as part of KIPT’s fire prevention work in conjunction with SA Power Networks.
Soon the harvest proper will start, with Pinus radiata logs cut to length and sorted according to potential future markets – logs, chips, pellets.
A jobs expo was held on Sunday January 24 from 1.30pm at the Kingscote Town Hall. Representatives from Harvestco, KIPT, Workskil and ATEC attended and harvest equipment was available for inspection. The first round of jobs is currently listed on Seek.
The best of the fire-damaged timber will be sent to water storage at KIPT’s Macgill property, and placed in the Sheep Creek Dam on that property. A harvesting trail has started to determine the optimal recovery from the pine estate. After the trial is planned to start clearfell harvesting, building to an annual production rate of 200,000 toned per annum from April. The harvest of about 4.5 million tonnes of fire-affected timber is expected to take about five years.
Assessing and categorising the timber has been a detailed and rigorous process that will continue, with many considerations, including logistical, marketing and silvicultural concerns.
KIPT Managing Director Keith Lamb said it was an important step for the company to have appointed HarvestCo for the initial harvest. “This is an experienced company with an excellent record and we’re glad to be working with them.”
Harvestco will initially employ about 12 people for the Kangaroo Island work and that will increase over coming years. The jobs will include operating machinery such as harvesters, forwarders, loaders and trucks. Other ancillary positions will also become available, such as diesel mechanics.
Harvestco Managing Director Rick Murphy said he was looking forward to the harvest-proper on Kangaroo Island. “There are some unique challenges in working on an Island and with a fire-damaged resource but we have many years experience across Australia and we’re looking froward to bringing our expertise to the circumstances on Kangaroo Island.”
Mr Murphy is keen to employ local operators on Kangaroo Island and Harvestco has a well-established training program in concert with the Logging Investigation and Training Association (LITA), based in Mt Gambier.