Performance of Brush Cutters in Felling Operations of Willow Short Rotation Coppice

Nicolae Talagai, Stelian Alexandru Borz, Gheorghe Ignea


Short rotation coppice is an option for timely procuring biomass for use as a source of energy, but it often requires the use of expensive equipment. Small-scale farmers lack the ability to purchase such equipment, but rather can use their own affordable tools. Performance of motor-manual harvesting using brush cutters in a short rotation willow coppice was evaluated by coupling traditional, Global Positioning System (GPS), and Geographic Information System (GIS) tools and methods. Strong dependence relations were found between the time effectively spent to fell willow shoots and the row length. The delay-free time consumption accounted for 81% of the total observed time, while the time spent to fell the shoots accounted for 97% of the delay-free time. The net production rate was low (0.13 ha h-1) being related to the technology used. Delays (19%) affected the performance resulting in a gross production rate of 0.11 ha h-1. Nevertheless, small-scale farmers use this level of technology in harvesting their crops by adapting the crop rotation to very short cycles, possibly to cope with technical limitations of brush cutters. The plantation system, layout, and the weather conditions may act as performance-limiting drivers. Also, adequate planning of the operational layout has the potential to increase the field performance.


Motor-manual felling; Willow coppice; Performance; Energy procurement; Small-scale

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