John Deere fleet adept to Mountain Logging
Mountain Logging continue to expand their family of green machines to tackle a Steep Eucalypt harvesting operation
John Deere forestry machines are put to work in the Gippsland area of Victoria by Mountain Logging Pty Ltd. Established in 1999, the company specialises in steep country shovel and cable systems, road construction, silvicultural site preparation and heavy haulage.
Business owner Andrew Mahnken insists it’s enough to keep them busy with a long standing contract over 20 years held at HVP Gippsland in South Eastern 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 plus personnel, focusing on turnkey projects that encompass falling, extraction, loading of both softwood and eucalyptus products. Andrew Mahnken, 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. It’s been fitted with a fixed rotatable felling head to fall and shovel large plantation Eucalypt trees in combination with a Canadian built Traction assist winch machine which is first of its type in Australia. The winch assist machine allows them to safely harvest slopes of up to 40 degrees without any manual felling. These areas have been inaccessible to ground based harvesting systems in the past.
A fleet of 26 specialised machines including an Excavator based Cable Yarder, 9 John Deere Harvesters and Skidders now work in the Gippsland area being operated by Andrew’s team.
Since acquiring the 959M Feller Buncher, operators have identified the improvements to the cabin alone, over the previous K-Series. “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.
A John Deere 903MH Harvester was added to the fleet in November 2016 replacing an earlier J-Series model that had run for almost 20,000 hours.
“We have operated the John Deere 900 series - Waratah machines since 2007, and the Skidders since 2008 these have performed extremely well. The new 909MH, 959M and 948L have run around 2500 hours each and the 903MH 1500 since new all trouble free,” said Andrew.
“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 Hitachi and John Deere’s ability to get us up and running again in the past – this is why we continue to buy the John Deere - Waratah products,” said Andrew.