Mechanised planting innovations - ForestTECH 2023

Friday 1 Sep 2023

The 2023 ForestTECH programme, consisting of pre-and-post conference workshops and meetings along with trade exhibitions has been designed with Australasian forestry companies. It’s now live.

Last year, well over 500 delegates from 15 different countries were involved in the on-line event run for the industry in February and the in-person end-of-year series that ran in both New Zealand and Australia in November 2022.

Details on the content and coverage for this year’s ForestTECH 2023 series running on the 14-15 November in Rotorua, NZ event and on 21-22 November 2023 in Melbourne, Australia the week after, can be found on

Like recent ForestTECH events, two key themes are being covered; (a) tree crop management, automated silviculture, including mechanised planting, thinning and pruning, forest establishment and (b) remote sensing, forest data capture and forest inventory management.

Of relevance to readers involved in forest establishment, this year’s series will be detailing lessons from mechanised or automated commercial operations being used for planting and silviculture.

Mechanised or machine planting is already successfully being used across Scandinavia, Brazil, the USA, Canada and more recently, New Zealand and Australia. Operational trials have successfully been undertaken in Australasia and now commercial planting is being undertaken in both the central North Island, New Zealand and in Victoria, Australia.

Key presentations at ForestTECH 2023 will include;

1. Lessons from two planting seasons in Victoria using a fully mechanised planting operation – results, lessons and payback from a forest owner’s and contractor’s perspective

2. A new concept in mechanised planting. Results from the first Australasian trials by Pan Pac Forest Products using the Swedish designed and produced PlantMax mechanised planter

3. Results from operational trials using remote controlled mechanised tree pruning

4. Using smart phone and drone collected data to improve the quality and productivity of Chilean mechanised thinning operations

For the first time in Australasia, a unique system of raising tree seedlings is also going to be unveiled to the local forestry industry. Using the concept of vertical farming systems (growing crops in vertically stacked layers), Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) who’re looking to plant tens of millions of new trees in the coming years, have trialled a new nursery system that’s going to enable them to meet their ambitious planting targets.

Both conifers and broadleaved species using this vertical “growing machine” have shown this system can produce seedlings six times faster than open grown stock. Both FLS and Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), the Edinburgh-based firm that has designed the system, will be presenting at the ForestTECH 2023 series in November.

For the full conference programme, information on pre-and post-conference workshops that have been opened to all ForestTECH 2023 delegates as well as information on a Remote Sensing Cluster Group meeting being held the day before the Rotorua event, can now be found on the event website,

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