GREEN OUT WEST
INNOVATION AND PROVEN EXPERIENCE MAKE DEERE A CLEAR WINNER FOR PLANTATION LOGGING
Several John Deere forestry machines have been delivered to Western Australia’s South West—three of them to Plantation Logging Co. Established in 1984, the company specialises in timber harvesting and haulage, earthmoving services and plantation maintenance.
Business owners, Jeff and Jenny Loton have a long history in timber harvesting in the Bunbury region. They are also members of Hoo Hoo International, an organisation uniting members of the timber industry.
Today, Plantation Logging employs around 90 personnel, focusing on turnkey projects that encompass falling, extraction, loading and carting of both softwood and eucalyptus products.
Jeff Loton said, “We operate several crews and do a small amount of native timber harvesting—about 100,000 tonnes of debarked blue gum. This is extracted using the cut-to-length method and transported in the roundwood form to Bunbury Fibre Exports where it is processed into export chips.
“After winning an eight-year contract with the State Government’s Forest Products Commission (FPC), our largest volumes now come from softwood plantations. The contract involves felling, extracting, loading and transporting 250,000 tonnes of pine to WESPINE, the largest sawmill in the South West.”
Jeff and Jenny also own Bunbury Firewood Supply, which utilises residue from the native forest harvesting operations to sell as domestic firewood to the local market.
“When it comes to our equipment we have formed long-term relationships with all our major suppliers,” said Jeff.
“Manufacturers such as John Deere are offering technology that suits our business. For instance, JDLinkTM enables us to remotely monitor the activity of our harvesting equipment, including fuel consumption and productivity levels.
“Ultimately we see JDLinkTM reducing our maintenance costs as it notifies us when a machine is due for service and also has the ability to alert both our company and HCA of any faults.
“The first machines we purchased were Timberjack back in 1994. We decided on ‘Timberjack Green’ for our company logo colour, which today still represents our strong ties with both John Deere and HCA.”
Jeff and Jenny have attended various international logging exhibitions to seek further information about new forestry products and technologies. Following their FPC tender win and support from Hitachi Construction Machinery Australia (HCA), the John Deere 903KH tracked harvester sparked their interest.
“We’ve always had Deere forwarders in our fleet, but it’s a long time since we purchased a tracked machine.
I contacted an old friend in South Australia, Colin Moreland, to ask if I could see his 903KH in action, which helped me make my final decision on what harvester I wanted.
“We had specific criteria. As we run all Waratah attachments except for on one harvester, John Deere proved the obvious choice as they offer an integrated Waratah package direct from the factory. When the machine arrived in Australia, it was only a matter of ‘plug and play’.
“The production we require from the machine is very high, so we needed assurance of uptime, productivity and low operating costs.
“We have not been disappointed with either the 903KH or our two 1910E forwarders. As far as fuel consumption is concerned, these machines are exceeding expectations.
“Local product support is critical and HCA have a local sales and support facility in Bunbury.
“I also want to look after my crew. Ergonomics play a large role in my purchasing decisions and John Deere machines ticked all the boxes. These machines not only have to meet the above requirements, but I am also expecting them to ‘stand the test of time’.”