The effect of pile size on moisture content of loblolly pine while field drying
A 14-year old loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) plantation approximately 5 acres in size was cut during August 2013 with a tracked feller-buncher. A grapple skidder transported trees from one-half of the tract to a landing where they were piled whole-tree. Remaining trees were left whole-tree in skidder bundles (small piles) in the stand. All trees were left on-site and allowed to dry for approximately 70 days. After the drying period disks were cut from trees selected from the outer, middle, and bottom zones of each pile size for moisture content determination. Disks were cut from the butt, mid-stem, and top (approximately 2 inches) of each sample tree. A sub-sample of disks was taken at Dbh (Diameter at Breast Height). Moisture content (% wet-basis) averaged 23.8 percent for samples collected from trees located on the outside of the skidder bundles. Moisture content of samples taken from the middle and bottom sections of skidder bundles averaged 24.3 and 29.2 percent, respectively. Moisture content of samples taken from trees on the outside of the large pile averaged 28.6 percent, compared to 40.5 percent for trees located in the middle of the large pile and 48.9 percent for trees located at the bottom of the large pile. During the drying period rainfall totaled 4.77 inches. Temperature and relative humidity averaged 74.1°F and 71.7 percent, respectively.