The fifth edition of the Expoforest took place from 9th to 11th August in Guatapará, about 40 kilometers from Ribeirão Preto, São Paulo state. The event is held every four years; however, due to the pandemic, this was the fifth year since the last one in 2018. The event was attended by 35,933 visitors from 43 countries and 235 exhibitors. The fair was inside a eucalyptus plantation area belonging to Sylvamo and divided into two parts, the static and dynamic exhibition stands, which showcased the latest forestry machinery, equipment, tools, and digital technologies. Large and small companies showcased their silviculture and harvesting solutions, but the purpose-built silviculture machinery attracted most of the attention. In 2018 this technology was rare and not widely available. In this article, we will provide brief highlights of purpose-built planting machines which were at the Expo Forest this year. Over the next few months, we will provide comprehensive details on these technologies and many more stand-tending technologies to provide a better understanding of their functionalities.
TRACKED PLANTING MACHINES
Tracked planting machines were shown by Komatsu (Bracke) and Risutec
Komatsu provided a broad offering of purpose-built silviculture equipment. At the Komatsu stand there was an illustrative banner which dispalyed Bracke and Komatsu’s journey in pioneering mechanised planting technology. At the Expoforest the Komatsu D61AX with a V-blade and Savannah Eco-til subsoiling unit was on display. This subsoiling unit is meant to work with the Komatsu D61EM three-head planting machine, which was designed to productively plant on flat terrain (for more information, you can read this Forsilvitech article Komatsu-d61em-planter
Another machine at the Komatsu exhibition area was the Bracke P12.b planting machine designed for steeper areas. This machine’s functionalities were demonstrated “live” at the Komatsu stand. This machine can subsoil, plant, irrigate and fertilize in one cycle.
The biggest highlight at the Komatsu stand was the launch of the Bracke P22.b planter, which comprised two planting heads mounted on a 24t excavator with the ability to plant, irrigate and fertilise on flat as well as sloping areas.
In conjunction with the local dealer called Timber, Risutec had the tracked SKB planting head machine on a static display. The head can be configured to perform subsoiling, planting, irrigation, and fertilization. The planting head can take up to 240 seedlings. This solution is intended for more small-scale planting areas and moderately steep areas where wheeled machines may be unable to access.
WHEELED PLANTING MACHINES
Wheeled planting machines were shown by Plantmax X2, John Deere and CMAK
The wheeled machine was demonstrated at the Timber Expoforest stand. The PlantmaX X2 planting unit was mounted on a Ponsse Buffalo King forwarder (for more information, you can read this Forsilvitech article https://www.forsilvitech.com/article/plantmax-x2-in-south-america/
). Of interest were the modifications introduced to the soil preparation implements. In place of the original disc trencher-type implements for soil preparation, the PlantmaX X2 had two rippers and harrow discs. The machine is reported to reach subsoiling depths of up to 80 cm and the width between lines is 3.5m. Also, this new subsoiling kit, replaced the rotary disc system has a new feature linked to a 1-ton fertilizer reservoir on each side. Furthermore, the machine reportedly has a storage capacity of 30 000 seedlings. The machine’s subsoiling and planting functionalities were demonstrated during the exhibition and planting quality (planting depth, straightness, and firming) could be assessed after planting.
The John Deere continuous planting machine was on static display. The planting unit is mounted on the John Deere 1510 forwarder. The machine has a single planting head that plants continuously along an area subsoiled by an independent machine. The planting unit has only a weight of approximately 15 tons (planting unit plus water and seedlings). The machine can irrigate (7,000 l capacity) 1.8 to 4 litres of water per plant and store 2,400 seedlings on the carrier. The machine is designed to work continuously for two hours before any replenishment is required. Further work is being conducted on this machine, and more information will be available on Forsilvitech soon.
The Roboplant from CMAK had a different configuration. Its mobility is enabled by tracks in the front and wheels in the rear of the machine. The planting machine uses a single hydraulic opening and closing system for moving, positioning, and inserting the seedling into the soil. It has a storage area for seedlings at the back. For irrigation, CMAK has the Robowater is can be used for automatically recognising and water plants. The irrigation spacing can be varied from 2.1 to 3.6 m. Furthermore, the system can provide GPS coordinates of the planted seedlings.