Mountain Logging expand their fleet of John Deere’s to tackle a Steep Eucalypt harvesting operation

John Deere 948L Log Skidder

Several John Deere forestry machines have recently been delivered to the Gippsland area of Victoria including three of them to Mountain Logging Pty Ltd. Established in 1999, the company specialises in steep country shovel and cable systems, road construction, silvicultural site preparation, heavy haulage and some log transport. 

Business owner Andrew Mahnken insists it’s enough to keep them busy with a long standing contract held at HVP Plantation Estate, situated in areas across southern Victoria. The total area of land managed by HVP equates to over 240,000 hectares. About 165,000 hectares of this land is pine and eucalypt plantation.

Today, Mountain Logging employs around 30 personnel, focusing on turnkey projects that encompass falling, extraction, loading and carting of both softwood and eucalyptus products. Andrew Mahnkem, Director of Mountain Logging said, “We’re unique in a sense that we carry out road lining, road building, harvesting and post logging site preparation clearing, leaving the logged area ready for replanting.” 

Mountain Logging are now leading the way with the new arrival of the much anticipated John Deere 948 L-Series Skidder, operators are already commenting on the improved operational experience. “The full swivel seat and joystick control removes the need to turn the skidder around improving cycle times and productivity.  The new transmission with infinite speed and power control gives a smooth take off under load, excellent snigging power and effective braking when loaded downhill,” said Andrew. 

However Mountain Logging didn’t stop at the L-Series Skidder, they have also welcomed into their fleet of John Deere machines the new M-Series 959 Feller Buncher. After taking on a Steep Eucalypt harvesting operation Andrew explains that ‘an Excavator based Cable Grapple system will now be used to extract the felled trees and a traction assist machine from Canada will be used in conjunction with the 959 Feller Buncher to remove the need for any manual felling.’ 

Since acquiring the 959M Feller Buncher, operators have identified the improvements to the cabin alone, over the previous KSeries. “The new machine has a much bigger cabin with a vastly improved forward and boom side vision, more boom lift aids in tree felling and the extra hydraulic pump allows for the operator to be able to track slew and cut without losing power,” said Andrew.  

“We have operated the John Deere 900 series - Waratah machines since 2007, and the skidders since 2008 these have performed extremely well. While it is still early days for the 909MH and 948L, I am confident that they will outperform the earlier machines.

“We continue to purchase John Deere machines due to the proven reliability, performance, and unmatched fuel efficiency. The hydraulic performance and cooling is also far better than our previous converted excavator base Harvesters. 

The John Deere M-Series Tracked Harvesters, Tracked Feller Bunchers and L-Series Skidders have been designed by customers, for customers, resulting in significant improvements in machine performance and reliability.  “Our business involves high production in steep, demanding areas, the machines and operators are running at high levels of utilisation, the biggest cost to a business like ours is downtime. All machines will at some time breakdown, what sets dealers and manufacturers apart is parts availability and service backup, we have tested HCMA/John Deere’s ability to get us up and running again in the past – this is why we continue to by the John Deere- Waratah products,” said Andrew.

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