25th November 2019
BTB visited Trevor Haywood of Trevor Haywood Timber Co. in Huntingdon, Tennessee to hear how his most recent purchase, a Tigercat LX830D feller buncher equipped with 5185 fixed felling saw, is fitting into the operation.
– Bre Elbourn
Trevor Haywood is a proud father, husband and logger and owner of Trevor Haywood Timber Co. He was awarded 2018 Master Logger of the Year by the Tennessee Forestry Association for his commitment to achieving landowner harvesting goals while keeping in mind his impact on the woods for future generations.
Trevor, a fourth-generation logger on his mother’s side, tells how he was introduced to logging by his grandad. “Being the oldest grandchild, my Grandad liked to carry me with him. So, that’s how I got into it and just never wanted to do anything else.” Trevor’s great-grandfather, Alvin Sellers, and his grandfather, Billy Sellers were both loggers. In the late 1970s, early 1980s, when the economy struggled and interest rates were high, Billy took a break from logging. The hiatus didn’t last long. In 1988 Trevor’s uncle Terry partnered with Billy and together they got back into the logging business.
“I started working for them in the summers when I was around ten or eleven years old. Then of course, I kept working with them through high school,” Trevor explains. “My mother wanted me to go to college and that was fine, but college wasn’t what I wanted to do. So I just stayed in the woods, and then two years after I graduated high school, my uncle decided to get back into the sawmill business and offered to sell me his logging operation. At twenty years old, I bought his logging operation and I’ve been at it ever since.”
I TELL PEOPLE BUYING A TIGERCAT IS LIKE BUYING FOUR-WHEEL DRIVE ON YOUR VEHICLE.
Trevor’s love for logging hasn’t dwindled and his favourite part about owning a logging company is operating the machines. He admits, “Most people don’t like the business end of running the business and I’m no exception.” Trevor used to spend his days in the cab and his evenings in the office doing paperwork. These days, his wife Mandy – having quit her nursing job to help with the business – has eased much of that burden, leaving Trevor to focus on what he enjoys most, cutting timber.
When Trevor isn’t running machines, he’s looking into contract work for sawmills or searching for new timber to purchase. “I run the cutter, but I also do a good deal of the dozer work for road construction. I really enjoy running the machines. I’m not willing to give that up at this point. I conduct quite a bit of business while I’m operating. That’s where Bluetooth comes in handy,” Trevor laughs.
Trevor’s company is based out of Huntingdon, Tennessee. Trevor explains how his area of operation is unique. “You go to the west towards the Mississippi River, and you’ll get those wet bottoms. Then you come east to the Tennessee River and you get into rocky hills and rougher ground.” Trevor runs a five-man logging crew (including himself) with three truck drivers.
The equipment lineup consists of one Tigercat LX830D with a 5185 fixed felling saw, two Tigercat 620E skidders, and two log loaders including one Tigercat 234. Trevor primarily cuts mixed hardwood on steeper ground. “We work a lot in 150 to 200-foot elevation changes, and sometimes that can be steep and rocky,” Trevor explains. “It’s not quite mountainous, it’s just really rough and cut up.”
In contrast to these rough, hilly areas, Trevor and his team have also worked in small areas of standing water and around rivers. The crew is set up to handle whatever terrain conditions are thrown at them – aided by a very versatile felling machine.
Trevor’s most recent purchase, the LX830D with 5185 fixed felling saw, has been the perfect fit for these different terrain conditions. “What it has allowed us to do is not have anyone on the ground. No chainsaws. Very seldom do we use a chainsaw for anything.”
The versatility of the LX830D has been a great asset to Trevor’s operations. Leveraging the power and response of the track drive system in tough terrain, as well as the bar saw, fixed wrist and grapple arms to fell, limb, shovel and pre-bunch for the skidders, Trevor essentially combines several processes.
“It is the efficiency of being able to lay those trees how you want them, in the direction you want to, and get them in place so that the skidders don’t have to pull any cables or anything,” Trevor explains. This extra functionality required Trevor to rethink his operating techniques. “It did take me a little while to learn, even coming with the experience I had on other track feller bunchers. It took me a bit to adjust to the different geometry, and the way the machine handled.”
I’M NOT NEARLY AS TIRED AT THE END OF THE DAY IN THIS MACHINE.
Despite the slight learning curve, he says that the Tigercat LX830D has been a much more reliable feller buncher compared to his previous models. “I’ve ran the LX830D for over a year now, and I’ve had much less trouble with this machine. I’ve been really satisfied with the performance of the machine.”
Trevor also points out that he finds himself much less fatigued operating the LX830D compared with the models he previously owned. “I’ve had machines before where I’d go home at the end of the day and my back would be hurting and my legs would be sore. It was due to the lack of visibility on the machine. You spend so much time leaning forward to see your tracks or to look around the engine enclosure. Where on this machine, the sightlines are really good. I can sit back in the seat like I’m supposed to and I’m not nearly as tired at the end of the day in this machine as I have been in others.”
Trevor has found many ways to become more efficient. For example, when the operation permits and the tract is large enough, the crew will pre-load the trailers and short-haul them from the landing to a staging area adjacent to the public road. Trevor explains that this serves multiple purposes, “I can haul more loads with fewer trucks by having the loads set out. Trucks aren’t having to wait to get loaded. Plus, we can set out a variety of loads so the drivers, if they’re smart about it, they can maximize their day because they know who takes lunch at what time, or how far it is to another place and so on. They can kind of pick their day and maximize their loads. The other thing it does is it eliminates congestion on the loading deck.”
The mixed hardwood stands typically yield a high number of sorts. Trevor has the Tigercat 234 loader dedicated to merchandising and sorting and a second loader that strictly loads trucks. By delegating truck loading to one machine, and allowing the other to focus on the sorts, efficiency on the loading deck is improved.
Trevor says that when he first became a Tigercat customer, Steve Ballard (B & G Equipment, Iuka) was his salesman. Since then Steve has retired and he now deals with Clint Montgomery. Trevor speaks highly of B & G, “They’re exceptional. I live 100 miles away from them and I can get better service out of them at 100 miles away than I can at other dealerships that are half as far. It doesn’t really matter how great the machine is, if you can’t get service when you need it then it’s a moot point. I don’t want to just paint a perfect picture for your readers. If it wasn’t that way I would tell you that. But it is – that’s just the truth. We get good service. And if I call and order parts, Clint, he’ll even bring stuff and drop it off to me at my house. That goes a long way with me.” Trevor also appreciates the service department’s quick response time. “Typically, if I have a problem before lunch – even if I’m two or three hours away from them – they send me a truck that day.”
Trevor is happy with the size and success of his company and does not see himself wanting to grow much larger. “If I get big enough that I can’t work out here in the woods and run these machines, then I’m getting too big, because this is what it’s all about for me.” If there’s one thing we can all take away from Trevor, it is to do what makes you happy.