In 2006, Ian Howie, who had previously been an agricultural contractor, saw an opportunity to become involved in the transportation of timber from harvesting sites within the forest to stacking areas near the public highway, using LGP (low ground pressure) equipment. The timber is subsequently loaded onto conventional timber trucks for delivery to the respective saw mills.
Studies show that LGP is a cost-effective method of transportation, as it greatly reduces damage to the forest roads. The Forestry Commission can spend upwards of £6 million per year on the upkeep of its road system, and the single most contributory factor to damage is timber haulage. LGPs can carry much greater volumes of timber, with minimal damage to the road infrastructure.
In the first year, Ian used a tractor with an LGPtrailer, but in 2006 he decided to purchase a five- wheel, 525 hp, 9205 Terragator, which hemodified for forestry use with a timber bunk and a Kesla loader coupled to an LGP trailer. Currently he has five LGP vehicles with trailers – the Terragator, New Holland T8-390, Case Magnum 340, Volvo FM 480 6×6 and the Mercedes Benz Arocs 8×8 – and he works alongside many forestry management companies.
The company, Ian Howie Forestry, is run by himself with his son, Adam, who officially joined him in 2013 (but has been involved since he could walk). Adam is an experienced mechanical engineer, and as well as operating a unit himself, he is also involved with the repairs and upkeep of the fleet.
All five of their timber transporters are fitted with Kesla loaders, and Adam would not consider any other brand. ‘Basically you fit them onto the transporter, and apart from maintenance and the odd burst hose, you forget about them. They are a little more expensive than some other manufacturers, but in terms of value for money they are in a class of their own, and when it is time to replace them we get a great trade-in price.
We like the external hose layout, which is well laid out and easy to access any hoses that need replacing.
A lot of thought has gone into the loaders, as a lot of the hydraulic hoses are the same diameter and length, which cuts down on the amount of spare hoses we have to carry. We like the Kesla cabs on the loaders, we spend a lot of time each week in them and they are warm and comfortable, which reduces operator fatigue, enabling us to work a longer day.’
All the loaders are supplied and fitted by Caledonian Forestry Services Ltd at Auchterarder in Perthshire, and Adam is delighted with the service they provide. ‘The backup is superb and Jim keeps a great range of spare parts. The occasional time we have encountered a problem, Jim has great knowledge, and with his advice we are normally able to fix it over the phone. The timber trucks and sawmills depend on us getting them a constant supply of round wood, so we have to make sure our downtime is as short as possible, and this is our main reason for choosing Kesla and Caledonian Forestry Services.’
Many forest districts have prohibited conventional haulage methods within the forest, and contracts state that only LGPs can be used for the transportation of timber.
Forest Machine Magazine is written and edited by a forest professional with over 40 years hands on experience. We are dedicated to keeping you informed with all the latest news, views and reviews from our industry.
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