AROWRN Beaverlodge Field Trip 2015

Winter harvesting of short rotation willow clones was the focus of the November 2015 Field Day of AROWRN technology.

The site was established as a short rotation willow plantation in 2009. It located adjacent to both the Town of Beaverlodge sewage lagoon and PRT Beaverlodge seedling production facility.  Effluent from the lagoon was delivered as an irrigant for the willow through a drip irrigation system.

Many clones were in their fourth year of production. Ideally, willow clones are harvested in their third year, but the one year delay provided an opportunity to evaluate the effect of harvesting a more mature stock.  Time and yield data were obtained in order to estimate cost of harvest.  This harvest was conducted as a supplement to the Town of Whitecourt time, yield and cost of harvest study May 2015 conducted by FP Innovations.

A modified corn harvester and high dump forage wagon was the featured harvest equipment system. While snow depth and texture resulted in less than ideal harvest conditions because snow was captured with the harvested willow fibre, the harvest was completed successfully.

This site is a partnership of the Town of Beaverlodge and PRT Beaverlodge and was developed with the research support of the Natural Resources Canada Canadian Wood Fibre Centre Edmonton office. Additional financial support was provided by Alberta Innovates BioSolutions division.

Further information about the results of this plantation and its harvest study will be discussed at AROWRN Connects 2017 – an AROWRN network conference open to the public to be held June 14-15 at Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta in Camrose AB.