Maritime Job Push
Komatsu/Hahn Ideal In Plantation Thinning
Conifer Farms pairs a Komatsu PC-095, with minimal tailswing and
an atriculated boom, with a Hahn SG-140 single- grip harvester for specialized thinning
By Tony Kryzanowski
One benefit to the logging occupation is taking in the wildlife while you work - moose, deer, and 747s screaming overhead. That's what Keswick, Ontario logger John Houston sees occasionally anyway.
Houston, owner of Conifer Farms Ltd., is a commercial thinning and cut-to-length contractor, working primarily on red pine plantations in southern Ontario. He recently purchased the first Komatsu PC-95 carrier put into a forestry application in Canada, combined with a Hahn SG140 single-grip harvester. He purchased the package through Komatsu affiliate, CTI Construction Equipment in Toronto.
Southern Ontario tree plantations exist on private land of approximately 30-acre parcels. Some take Houston within 10 km of the Toronto International Airport.
"It's all done on thinning," says Houston, regarding logging in his area. "There is no such thing as clear cuts. Sometimes we can work and see the city."
It surprises visitors to the Toronto area how quickly the landscape becomes forested north of Toronto. Houston says in addition to private land owners, sometimes the forested property belongs to municipal counties. Owners mark trees on their property, then advertise them for sale. Houston says sometimes it goes to the highest bidder, but mostly, it is a negotiation between the landowner and a referred logging contractor.
Once he and the landowner settle on a price, Conifer Farms operator Owen Smith harvests the wood, and then it is trucked to the Brouwer Wood Products sawmill in Keswick, 50 km north of Toronto.
Houston says he harvests about 13,000 m3 annually. Prior to purchasing his Komatsu and Hahn setup, he operated a Kubota 191 carrier with a similar Hahn head. The Kubota carrier accumulated 4,000 hours, so it was time to go shopping.
Houston says he was satisfied with the Hahn harvesting head. So he asked the manufacturer which carrier they would recommend, if he were to buy another carrier unit. Hahn is a harvester manufacturer headquartered in Minnesota, serving primarily the Lake States and southern Ontario. Houston says they recommended the Komatsu PC-95 carrier.
"The one thing we like is the articulated boom," says Houston. "It's like a backhoe boom on it, so you can offset it. You don't have as much tailswing in a row. And that's about the only machine that has that."
The carrier sold for about $110,000, while the Hahn harvester was $66,000. With extra guarding and other options, Houston bought the package for $180,000.
Since its introduction in early 1996, Komatsu has sold about 10, PC-95 carriers in Canada in various other applications. They have sold about a dozen into the US forestry market.
Komatsu Canada Product Marketing Manager, Peter Frasunkiewicz, says it is a totally new carrier compared to the PC-90 previously available. It originated in Komatsu's Italian production facilities, and was first introduced in Europe. Komatsu felt it was much better suited to the North American market once they analyzed weight, horsepower, additional equipment such as the swing boom and blade.
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©1996-2007 Logging and Sawmilling
Journal (L&S J) and TimberWest Journal.