York opts for Ponsse harvesting system

March 9, 2016

The Elephant King works in tandem with the Bear harvester.

York Timbers has embarked upon a process of mechanising cut-to-length thinnings and clearfell operations at its Jessievale plantation in the Mpumalanga Highveld. After extensive research the listed company has selected Ponsse harvesters and forwarders as the backbone of these operations.

The Ponsse equipment, manufactured in Finland, will be supplied and supported by their South African agent, Green Projects.

York took delivery of a Ponsse simulator last October for the purpose of training operators for the new equipment, after a rigorous interview and screening process. The aim being to train sufficient staff for double harvesting shifts, prior to the equipment arrival in May 2016.


York operators busy training on the Ponsse simulator.

Taking terrain into consideration, York has opted for the six-wheel-drive Ponsse Beaver harvester equipped with the Ponsse H6 harvesting head, for the thinnings operation. Extraction will be done with two Ponsse Buffalo six-wheel-drive forwarders hauling the harvested thinnings to road side.

For the clear-fell operation York has opted for the Ponsse Bear harvester with the H8 harvesting head, the largest harvester in the Ponsse range. York has trees that average 0 .9 to 1.1 cubic metres, with the occasional larger trees to contend with.


The big Ponsse Bear harvester at work.

According to Frank Uzzell of Green Projects, the first Ponsse Bear harvester, shipped as a pair with the Ponsse Elephant King forwarder, is set to arrive by the end of April. The other machines will arrive later in June and July.

Green Projects will be carrying out the machine installations and operator training in conjunction with Ponsse trainers, when the machines arrive.

Ponsse’s presence in South Africa is set to grow with the appointment of Green Projects as its agent. Apart from the York orders, there are three Ponsse Elephant forwarders working in Piet Retief for
Steenekamp Vervoer.

Green Projects has also brought in the first of a new generation of Ponsse H7EUCA harvesting heads. The H7 harvester heads are in service all over the world installed on both Ponsse wheeled carriers and forestry adapted excavator harvesters.


The Ponsse Beaver will be used for harvesting thinnings.

Green Projects will supply on-going technical support for the Ponsse equipment through Nelspruit based MTS Parts.

York owns 93 988 ha of timberland in South Africa, with 60 470 ha planted to pine, as well as four sawmills and a plywood plant. All their plantations are FSC certified.

*First published in SA Forestry magazine, Feb 2016

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