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Cover photo: a Hartwich SRDM 17 plough.

PNG Biomass is establishing 16,000 hectares of tree farms in the Markham Valley utilising the most appropriate forest management techniques from South America, South Africa and Asia. To improve site preparation the project is importing specialised forestry ploughs from Uruguay. These ploughs have heavier disks compared to the agricultural ploughs currently utilised by the project, and coupled with 60cm tyne that rips the soil, this will result in deeper soil cultivation resulting in improved tree growth as more soil is available for the tree roots to develop. Strip cultivation will be practised for environmental purposes to minimise soil erosion and disturbance. PNG Biomass has purchased four SRDM 17 ploughs from the Hartwich company in Uruguay.

PNG Biomass is also purchasing two models of planting machines from Hartwich. The first model is the PA17 mechanised planting machine. The machine is attached behind a tractor and two people sit inside the protected walls and feed seedlings into the machine that are then planted and fertilised automatically.

A Hartwich PA17 mechanised planting machine.

The second model of planting machine is the ACG 5000 octopus coupled tank with gel that allows gel to be applied automatically in the planting hole as the seedlings are planted using planting tubes. Seven planting lines can be planted simultaneously using a single tractor with one ACG 5000.

A Hartwich ACG 5000 octopus coupled tank with gel.

These new silvicultural techniques will improve the productivity of plantation establishment while ensuring quality and uniformity as well as a safe working environment. The first batch of new equipment will be arriving in Papua New Guinea by late July 2018. The Hartwich company will provide training on the operation and maintenance of the heavy machinery in August.

Look out for the new equipment being used in the Markham Valley from August 2018.

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