AUSSIE FIELD TRIP
Sunday 1st November 2015
After a weekend of siteseeing in Toronto and Niagara Falls, seventeen Australian logging contractors toured the Tigercat manufacturing facilities. Accompanied by Damien Ambrose and Chris Bogdan, sales representatives with Onetrak, Tigercat’s Australian dealer, international factory sales representatives, Gary Olsen and Glen Marley led the group through a two day agenda allowing for plenty of opportunity to interact with Tigercat management and engineering design staff.
Then the entire group flew to North Carolina, meeting up with Tigercat product support representative Aaron Piper and CTW Equipment co-owner Ben Twiddy. Ben and Aaron arranged a few contrasting site visits.
First up was Goodson’s All Terrain Logging, where the group met celebrity swamp loggers, Bobby, Lori and Justin Goodson and learned about southern US swamp logging techniques. As Glen Marley explains, “The native hardwood contractors that were on the tour often have to shut down during winter and also must lay corduroy log extraction tracks for their skidders, so seeing the prefabricated mats that Bobby uses was excellent.”
Broadway Logging & Grinding was the next stop, where the group had a good look at Buddy Broadway’s high production, low cost plantation pine crew in action. The final stop was to the thinning and chipping job site of Kenwood Corp. “The blue gum loggers got a lot out of seeing the drive to tree feller bunchers not only clear felling, but also doing full production thinning,” explains Glen. This is generally considered to be impossible in Australian plantations but the site visit proved otherwise to the contractors.”
Gary Olsen adds that while these are not exactly the same conditions that Australian loggers encounter, “The value of seeing how these loggers make things work within extreme cost constraints and varying conditions cannot be underestimated. We had healthy evening debates around alternative logging methods, costs and practicalities. These discussions were stimulated by what they saw during the day and this alone made it a very successful trip.”