Equipment and harvesting costs
For the cut-to-length method, the harvesting equipment consists of a harvester and forwarder team. The harvester fells, delimbs, measures and bucks the trunks according to the wood user's wishes. The forwarder transports logs to the side of the forest road, keeping each type in a separate pile. Then a timber truck equipped with a crane for loading transports the logs to the mill.
The corresponding harvesting equipment for the tree-length method consists of a felling machine to fell the trees, a skidder to pull whole trunks to the side of the road, and a delimber. The delimber delimbs and tops the trunks. A slasher is also often needed at the roadside, if the trunks are so long that they must be cut for long-distance transport, e.g. into thirds. Logs are loaded onto the timber truck using a crane brought by truck or using a separate loading machine.
Cut-to-length forest machines are technically more advanced than tree-length forest machines, and therefore they also cost more. On the other hand, more machines are needed for the tree-length method. The total cost of machines for cut-to-length harvesting may be slightly greater than that for tree-length harvesting. Fuel consumption per harvested cubic metre is significantly lower with the cut-to-length method than with the tree-length method, because the machines are fewer and generally lighter. In addition, salary costs are lower for cut-to-length harvesting because fewer operators are needed. Thus, all in all, the cost of harvesting and delivery to the roadside are comparable, depending on the logging conditions.