Engage a harvest manager

You can engage a harvest manager to plan and coordinate all your harvest activities.

A harvest manager will plan and coordinate the harvesting activities, the environmental and health and safety requirements, and selling of the logs. You will have some control of decision making. You need to be aware that as a person conducting a business or undertaking (PCBU), you still have responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015.

Make sure you: 

  • check their health and safety policy, plans and systems, environmental policy, plans and systems, and quality management systems
  • get references from contractors, previous or current clients (forest owners) and customers (log buyers)
  • ask your local authority’s resource consent officer for any previous non-compliance issues (contractor and harvest manager)
  • ensure their contractors have the right machinery configuration for your forest, use appropriate harvest methods and have a history of good compliance
  • check their current operations and previous harvesting sites in the area (if possible)
  • ask for a breakdown of estimated costs and revenues instead of a lump sum estimate
  • find out how they charge (for example, whether their harvest and market fee is a fixed price, percentage, or cost plus)
  • are sure they can meet their financial obligations
  • ask if log revenue can be kept in an independent trust account
  • find out how they will show outgoing invoices or payments if you ask to see these (for transparency of harvesting operations).
If you engage a harvest management company, follow up conversations with an email to make sure you have a written agreement of what was discussed.

Farm Forestry New Zealand’s article has some tips on things to talk about with your harvest manager before a contract is agreed.

Communication with harvest managers

Keep in touch with your harvest manager once harvest activities start, such as weekly phone calls and monthly reports. Make sure the monthly reports include health and safety and environmental audit information.

Onsite visits during harvesting

You may wish to visit the harvesting operation. Frequencies of forest owner visits can vary with the size of the operation. You might stay away completely, or only go onsite a few times, such as:

  • when the harvest starts
  • mid-harvest
  • at the end of harvesting to do your final check.

Agree on times when you will carry out onsite visits and check whether the harvest manager will accompany you. The harvest manager will advise if you also need to liaise with any of the contractors before going onsite.

The harvesting area is a work site controlled by the harvesting contractor. Anyone who enters a harvesting area needs to go through a site induction and sign in. Radio call-ups are often required for vehicle safety when accessing sites and travelling on harvest roads.

Post-harvest inspection

It is important you inspect your land before the harvesting contractors leave the site.

Working with log traders and forestry advisers

Log traders and forestry advisers must be registered.

You can check to see if your harvest manager is on the public register of log traders and forestry advisers.

Learn more about the register.