5 forest processes and the impact of technology

22 July 2019

With 7.84 million hectares of planted trees, Brazil is the second largest producer of pulp in the world and the third largest exporter. China is the main buyer. To continue growing, the forest-based industry plans to invest more than R$ 22.2 billion in factories, forests and innovations. The data are for IBA – Indústria Brasileira de Árvores (Brazilian Tree Industry). "It is a sector that has enormous potential for gains with the use of digital innovations and for this reason has been investing a lot in the adoption of this type of technology to increase its efficiency and profitability," says Bernardo de Castro, president of Hexagon's Agriculture division that serves the forestry and agricultural sectors. The executive highlights the impact of technology on five forest processes:

1. Plant Planning

The efficiency of any crop begins with planting. The agricultural technology market provides systems that recommend the optimal planting and cultivation strategy at the lowest costs. With the help of software, forest managers are able to calculate inputs, resources and required area, select ideal varieties to suit the characteristics of each planting site and make simulations of falls and production for the next cycles. These are important operations to optimise the planting process.

2. Fertilisation, Sprayer and Bait Control

Technology has revolutionised the application of fertilisers, inputs and formicide bait by controlling these operations, avoiding waste and failure. Innovative systems show application area coverage in real-time, allowing adjustments throughout operations. In spray control, for example, you can send alerts when there is a problem. In addition to better use of resources, these technologies result in better forest quality and increased productivity.

3. Machine Monitoring

With hardware and software installed on the machines it is possible to monitor and adjust processes while they are happening. The systems provide detailed reports with indicators of machine performance and behaviour, productivity, area worked, distance travelled, speed, RPM, etc. Cenibra, a forest-based company headquartered in Minas Gerais, increased the area monitored by machine automation solutions by 530% in one year.

4. Harvest Planning

Like planting, the wood cutting process also requires planning through systems capable of guiding managers' decisions. Efficient software allows to define the ideal harvesting period of all productive areas within the horizon of one year, maximise production and total quality of raw material harvested in the field and synchronise logistics activities respecting the operational capacity of the operation. This way you can evaluate costs and bottlenecks.

5. Transport optimisation and raw material traceability

Technological solutions promote synchronisation between harvesting and logistics operations, creating an optimised flow for cutting, loading and transport operations, as well as continuous supply and shorter delivery times for the industry. The technology still allows to track the raw material from the origin in the field until the delivery in the industry, dispensing with the use of manual notes and identification labels. The result is greater control and profitability.