John Deere's biomass bundler unit is an effective machine for harvesting forest residues, which can be used as a source of fuelwood and/or a feedstock for biofuel production. This project explored an avenue that could supply a promising source of readily available energy in southeastern forested lands. Typical southern harvesting operations consist of whole-tree harvesting in which trees are felled and then skidded to a landing. Limbs and tops are usually either deposited over the landscape or piled in windrows. The biomass bundler captures the otherwise nonmerchantable material and maximizes the marketability of the entire tree. In order to reduce costs, maximize efficiency, and implement the bundler in a tree-length harvesting operation, this project tested a prototype harvesting system. This venture (1) adapted the John Deere B380 bundler unit to a motorized trailer, (2) designed an optimum landing configuration, and (3) conducted a productivity study of the bundler unit. The unit produced 13.2 tonnes per productive machine hour (PMH; 14.6 tons/PMH) of 250-cm bundles and 14.9 tonnes/PMH (16.4 tons/PMH) of 350-cm bundles, assuming minor delays at a cost of $12.50 to $14.20/tonne ($11.25 to $12.85/ton).
The authors are, respectively, Inventory Specialist, Weyerhaeuser, NC Timberlands, New Bern, North Carolina (email@example.com); Associate Professor, Forest Operations, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sci., Auburn Univ., Auburn, Alabama (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Research Engineer, USDA Forest Serv., Auburn, Alabama (email@example.com). This paper was received for publication in March 2011. Article no. 11-00031.