Harvesters and Feller Bunchers: The Dynamic Duo

Harvesters and Feller Bunchers: The Dynamic Duo

If you're in the forestry business, you probably rely on harvesters or feller bunchers to assist with your tree-cutting and logging tasks. While both perform similar functions, there are a few significant differences between the two machines. In some circumstances, using feller bunchers and harvesters in tandem can increase productivity and maximize the results of your forestry operations. 

What Is a Harvester?

A forestry harvester is a tracked or wheeled machine used for felling, delimbing and bucking (cutting felled and delimbed trees into logs). A harvester uses a felling head to cut the tree at its base and to the desired length. The head also has at least two curved delimbing knives that remove branches from the trunk, two feed rollers to grasp the cut tree and a measuring wheel that calculates the stem length during the head feeding process. Harvesters can function effectively on level ground and steeper slopes with a grade up to 55%.

What Is a Feller Buncher?

A feller buncher is essentially a less sophisticated harvester. This machine cuts down trees and groups them (a process known as "bunching"), but it doesn't possess delimbing or bucking capabilities. As with the harvester, both tracked and wheeled feller buncher versions are available. A feller buncher is compatible with several types of heads, including disc saw, shear blade and chain saw options. The size and diameter of the tree determine which head type will deliver the best results. 

How Your Forestry Operation Can Benefit From Both Machines

Depending on your job site and production requirements, a harvester and a feller buncher can both serve your needs. For example, if you're clearing a site that starts with relatively flat terrain, a feller buncher can typically do the job faster than a harvester. Other crew members can then complete the delimbing and bucking work. As the slope increases, you can deploy harvesters to navigate the steeper terrain and handle the entire felling, delimbing and bucking process. 

How to Gather Cleared Trees

You'll also need to know what to do after harvesting trees. Skidders and forwarders are equipment designed to transport felled logs from the forest to a clearing or roadside. While both perform the same function, they do so in different ways. Skidders drag the fallen trees along the ground, while forwarders carry them above the surface. Skidders do the job faster, but forwarders won't dig up and disrupt the soil, so they have less environmental impact. 

The Cat® Rental Store Offers a Full Selection of Forestry Equipment

For many forestry operations, renting equipment provides the most practical and cost-effective equipment solution. The Cat® Rental Store near you can provide an extensive fleet of harvesters, feller bunchers and other essential machines at competitive rates. When you partner with your local Cat dealer, you also get expert product selection advice, timely on-site maintenance and repair service, flexible terms and much more.

To learn more about our dealers' harvester and feller buncher options, give us a call at 1-800-RENT-CAT today. You can also contact us online for a fast quote.