Software eases sawmills’ beetle burden

With the mountain pine beetle expanding throughout Alberta’s pine forest, sawmill operators will increasingly face the challenge of adapting operations to accommodate an increased diet of checked (split) logs.

Checking is a result of rapid drying of the log after death caused by the beetle. The condition makes it harder to extract lumber value and volume from each piece processed, as British Columbia mills have already discovered.

FPInnovations has developed a new software tool called Return to Log Calculator for Checked MPB Logs to address this challenge. The tool allows sawmills to input their own parameters to predict the impact on their bottom line of processing a range of checked logs based on check severity, volume and diameter. Development of the software was funded by B.C. Forestry Innovation Investment, and is being made freely available to B.C. and Alberta sawmills.