A busy 2018..

We’d like to express our thanks to all our customers (returning and new) over 2018. It has been a busy year with some significant changes to the business and we thank all our clients for their patience as we have worked through some teething problems with new kit!

We wish everyone a Merry Xmas and a Happy new year and look forwards to catching up with many in 2019.

Quick update...

A busy few moths since our last update…. to include an updated website!

The variety included some pond work, timber extraction, scrub clearance prior to felling timber and old building demolition to allow a disused paddock to be grazed once again. The tree shear has also been busy, coppicing a hedge to make taccess onto a busy main road safer.

The harvester’s been out on some big Larch thinning. A first thinning of a young hardwood plantation has opened the wood up, expanded the rides and improved accesibility, especially in the run up to winter with the increased rainfall.

Luckily we had a bit of assistance moving the harvester - a little quicker than our normal tractor and low loader…

IMG_20180926_091728.jpg

Deer management is also continuing apace, now that the Doe season’s are opening we are starting to get onto herd management to allow for woodland regeneration and healthy herds.

Recent works update

The last few months have been busy!  Works sites have been particularly tricky to operate in/access due to the amout of rain we have had over the last few months. Opportunities to extract timber have taken  when site conditions allow. Despite all the rain we have continued to cut in anticipation of the ground drying out.


Ash Coppice

Recent works include cutting some overstood ash coppice which will be used in the estate biomass and the excess for firewood

Coppice plot before works

Coppice plot before works

Coppice plot after felling smaller stems to leave some standards.

Coppice plot after felling smaller stems to leave some standards.

The timber produce will be left until conditions dry out with extraction later in the spring to minimise damaging the soil structure.


Plantation thinning/respacing

A thinning operation was undertaken on a SSSI to allow more light to the forest floor. We also respaced a christmas tree plantation that had been left since it's original planting. This meant the trees were of poor quality as they had all been drawn up , the respacing should allow them to 'bulk out' to improve the potential timber yield.

Hardwood thinning

Hardwood thinning

Xmas tree re-spacing

Xmas tree re-spacing


Extraction

When ground conditions and site's have allowed we've extracted timber where we can. The majority of this has gone to the fuel the estate's own biomass boiler.

Timber extraction

Timber extraction


Tree shearing

We've had the tree shear out again. Reducing the height of some hedges and coppicing others to ground level.

Hedge before reduction

Hedge before reduction

Looking back up the hedge after reducing

Looking back up the hedge after reducing

The new equipment has dramatically changed how we work, with larger compartments and trees now being handled efficiently. We are getting more proficient with the harvester and it surprises us each time with the production and capacity provided by such a small machine! We will do a full update on the equipment in a separate post once we have used it for a bit longer, but already it has tripled the output and meant we don't have to manhandle or reduce so many big logs! always welcome.

If you have any questions about the equipment or would like to discuss how we can help in your woodlands please feel free to give us a call or send an email Contact Us

For more photo's please go to our facebook page here where you can see these and photo's of other works.

LEADER grant approval

At the end of October we were in fortunate position of being approved for a LEADER grant to assist in funding our forestry growth. This has meant we are in the process of expanding of capabilities through reinvesting in some more equipment.

What will the LEADER grant provide to customers?

The funding has allowed us to invest in larger extraction equipment, meaning we can move/handle larger timber in greater volumes meaning more efficiency for both ourselves and our customers. We still strive for minimal impact on the ground with extraction equipment having large flotation tyres to leave the lightest footprint. The larger capacity also means we are able to move more timber in one go which means if you have a longer lead from the wood to your preferred stacking site there are less trips back and forwards.

One of the other significant changes is the purchase of a mechanised harvester. This is mechanical harvesting head based on a 5.5 ton excavator. This give us a low impact harvesting system ideally suited to sensitive sites and first thinnings where access is limited. We still manually cut alongside this machine on larger trees but the excavator gives us the ability to leave a tidy site ready for extraction with less manual effort = faster/cheaper for the customer. Paired with our alpine tractor and 3 ton trailer this set up is phenomenal in first thinnings not suitable/economical for large harvesters.

We were exceptionally lucky to have assistance from BRCC in compiling our LEADER application, with thanks to both Julie and Ros who kept us on the straight and narrow and ensured the process was as smooth and painless as these things can be.

If you would like to discuss what we are able to undertake with the equipment please feel free to give us a call or email Contact Us.

For pictures of the equipment as it arrives over the next few moLeadernths please keep an eye on our facebook page Red Kite Facebook

 

 

Woodland thinnings and opening up a pond

Recent completion of some delayed first thinning.

A recent job (aside from battling the unusual summer weather) has seen us completing a first thinning of a hardwood plantation established in the 90's. By completing this work we have achieved a number of factors:

  1. removed poorer trees from the crop
  2. given remaining trees more space to grow/expand into
  3. provisionally identified final crop trees to be favoured in later thinnings
  4. improved the access for wildlife management
  5. improved accessibility into the wood by opening up a track and allowing it to dry out
  6. extracted a the timber which will now go into the firewood market (providing a return to the landowner)
  7. not made a mess!

The work was completed by hand cutting racks into the wood, brash was tidied to the side of these to facilitate subsequent access and keep the site tidy. A further selective thin was then conducted inbetween the racks and this timber recovered tot he racks. All the felled timber was then extracted to the edge of the woodland using our alpine tractor and 3t forwarding trailer, (minimising any damage and rutting in the wood) and then we brought in larger equipment to move it to roadside.

 

From roadside the timber will be sold for firewood but it is now in an accessible place for timber lorries to get to.

Pond regeneration

Continual works include the restoration/regeneration of some farm ponds.

We have been cutting back overgrown trees (mainly willow) from the edge of the pond and extracting them to let light back into the pond as well as stopping leaf litter and branches from being deposited in the pond.The photo's below give some idea as to the start and finish points (there is still a bit to do though!).

 

For more images of these and of other works please visit our facebook page here

 

 

Tree shear

The last few weeks have been particularly busy, especially so the last week where we have been using a tree shear to clear scrub and open up some ponds. This is an incredibly efficient way of coppicing hedgerows that are now to thick for hedge trimmers to deal with - be warned though people are always surprised by the volume of work that can be completed in a day. It is a great way of cutting and placing smaller trees too, this minimises handling making things quicker and less tiring on the chainsaw operator too!

Pond rejuvenation

For more images of what the tree shear can do, please head across to our facebook page here to see some before and after examples of the type of work that this equipment excels at.

If you would like to discuss an area of scrub you would like cleared we have a number of options from mulchers right through to hand cutting with a chainsaw so please feel free to contact us, we are more than happy to offer advice as to the best method of achieving the desired results.

Woodland works

Back in the woods with making the most of the longer daylight hours to get on top of woodland works (in amongst the good weather days for drone flying), we've been doing a bit of everything recently - variation is the spice of life as they say! Recent works include:

  1. planting 4000 hedging plants to screen some infrastucture works as well as providing shelter for stock

  2. laying a hedge. This stops it looking like a row of lollipops as well as providing better shelter (stopping the wind from blowing through the base of the hedge) and creating a stock/people proof barrier.

  3. some first thinning of a young plantation (approx 15-20 years old). We do this in a variety of ways depending upon the landowners priorities. Recent work was to open up a wood to promote the development of final crop trees and provide space for game birds without making the wood to cold.

  4. ride widening. This aids with access tracks by allowing airflow and light to reach the forest floor, helping to dry up wet patches and letting light to the base of the canopy. A fringe benefit is that it makes deer management easier as high seats can be placed at track intersections with a greater coverage and earlier warnign of approaching deer.

This is just a selection of the recent works we have undertaken for customers. We have also undertaken scrub clearance, dead tree removal but unfortunatley have less photo's of these works (concentrating to much on the job at hand!). We are also still delivering firewood which is more relevant after the hail showers experienced today, if there are any works you would like to undertake on your woodland please feel free to contact us. We are always happy to come and have a look and give an idea as to what may be required and how we can help.

Hummingbird and RKRS - Advanced crop analytics

We have recently teamed up with Hummingbird Technologies who provide advanced crop analytics on a 24hr turnaround, to operate a Sequoia equipped sensefly drone for them. This is very similar ot our own drone but is the new and improved version! This means that from us coming out to the farm and imaging the requisite fields you will have a bespoke targeted spray/fertiliser application recommendation within 24 hours. This can be viewed in the field on mobile devices, in the office on web software as well as integrating with a number of commonly used farm mangement software packages. Crop analytics

What does this give us?

  1. improved endurance = greater area coverage/day
  2. more sensors on board = less flight time required
  3. faster product turnaround = application recomendations within 24 hours
  4. detection of blackgrass
  5. precision weed mapping

Head on over to their website Hummingbird for a fuller idea of what they can provide, or give us a call, we are always happy to discuss your requirements and how we could help make your farm more efficient and boost profit.

 

End of year update summary

We’ve been particularly busy over the last few months and while we have managed to update our Facebook page a bit more regularly, the news section here has taken a bit of a back seat when posting updates! As such we thought a little summary update would be interesting (pictures included) to show you what has been keeping us busy and also demonstrate the range of work we undertake and differing pieces of equipment we use/have access to as and when the job requires. If you have any questions or would like some similar work undertaking please feel free to drop us a line either through the contact page Contact Us or old school with a phone call.

Log Splitting

Starting off with some log splitting for a customer – this was all oversize oak that we first broke down using our 17 ton tractor splitter and then brought the processor in to cut/spplit it further into manageable 10″ logs ready for the fire. Our photography is worse than our work so unfortunately it was a bit dark when we took the photo of the log pile we produced, but suffice to say it should see the winter out, and a bit!

Small tractor feeds big tractor

Scrub clearance

Some different requirements initially with the tractor and chipper on a steep bank. This was to open up/return park land to its intended state while also having the added bonus of opening up a track which should allow it to dry out quicker and thereby prolonging it’s lifespan.

 

Bank work to clear hawthorn

Semi finished state

We have also had a tracked mulcher back onto a job where we cleared a decent area of scrubland to return to a useable field for grazing. The photo’s below show the machine as well as what we were workingour way through (which covered the whole site) and the finished fields – less their initial reed and hawthorn covering!

The tracked mulcher on a SSSI reed bed – making sure we don’t sink!

A clear path through the scrub

Before and after in the same shot…

The finished article – not a hawthorn bush in sight!

Felling and Extraction

More recently we have been busy felling some larger trees on a golf course. Here our lightweight equipment has come into its own, protecting the fairways from damagewhilst still being able to shift a significant amount of timber. The sale of all of this timber covered our bill so in effect the work was nil cost to the customer! As we say ‘we may have small kit but our output is still pretty mighty!’ The last photo in this run is of the amount of timber we cut/extracted in a 9 day period all the while staying out of the way of the odd stray golf ball.

Timber of the fairway

Tread lightly when on the course!

Small kit but Mighty output

Timber Haulage/Firewood

To keep up with our own firewood requirements we’ve also been updating our stocks of timber. Bringing in a slightly bigger trailer than normal (11 tons) we managed to haul some local timber back to the yard. This will all be split and stored over the coming months to fully season in anticipation of being sold next winter (17/18). We still have stocks of sesoned hardwood left for this winter, so please give us a call to arrange delinery and ensure the fires burn bright over Christmas.

Larger timber extraction kit

Some wiggly timber for firewood processing….

Canopy Raise

Our last photo in this montage…..

We were recently asked to raise the lower branches along a roadside, this was to try and stop lorries from removing them with their bodywork! Ahectic few days in hi viz saw us lift approximatley half a mile of roadside trees with the use of a MEWP access platform. This amde the work both safer and quicker for all involved. Branch material was chipped back into the hedgeline to leave a tidy verge and hopefully will ensure the trees remain damage free for a good few years from any passing lorries.

Update

MEWP Canopy Raise

We think that sums up some of the things we’ve been up to recently and we would like to thank all our customers in 2016 and look forwards to working with many of them again in 2017. If you have any projects you would like our assistance with please feel free to get in touch and we wish you all a Happy Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Woodland Thinning – Farm woodlands

We have been flat out recently undertaking some woodland thinning on Farm woodland scheme plantations. A busy few weeks has seen a good few acres heavily thinned which has had the following benefits:

  1. More light has been let down to the woodland floor improving biodiversity as other species can grow ( while the tree canopy is still open)
  2. Remaining trees have more space and less competition so should put on more timber (more valuable final crop)
  3. Improved access into the woodland
  4. Better access for habitat management and the management of game birds using the area
  5. A large supply of Firewood to keep houses warm this winter!

Woodland edge prior to thnning

Woodland edge prior to thinning

Woodland middle before thinning

Woodland middle before thinning

Woodland edge after thinning

Woodland edge after thinning

Woodland middle after thinning

Woodland middle after thinning

Looking down a newly created ride post thinning

Looking down a newly created ride post thinning

Low impact thinning

All of the work was undertaken with the intent of causing the minimum amount of disturbance and damage possible (excluding the removal of the trees). Felling was undertaken by hand cutters using chainsaws and all extraction was completed using our low impact tractor and trailer to keep ground damage to a minimum. One of the advantage of using hand cutters over machinery is that it allows us to tidy up the branch material “brash” to the edge of the ride to leave a clear access track if required. Machines although faster tend to leave the brash in the middle of the ride and run over it, although they can then go back later and tidy it up too.

Removing timber without leaving a mark

Removing timber without leaving a mark

The result is a woodland that has better future growth potential through more space for the remaining trees, improved habitat for wildlife and a large supply of firewood to keep the home fires burning in what we hope at least is a chilly winter this year!

For more pictures of the work and its results please visit our Facebook page.