Shaws Iron Test
As the shift towards purpose-built forestry equipment continues, it’s interesting to find a machine that succeeds in being multi-dimensional.
We came across such a case in Gisborne recently, after spying some interesting purchases by Danny Drummond-owned FRM (Forest Road Maintenance).
Danny had decided to follow his father’s lead when he made the decision to add harvesting capability to his forest roading business on the East Coast.
After all his father, Sheldon Drummond, had been the forestry manager for Juken NZ for many years and overseen numerous harvesting operations on the East Coast before leaving to run his own quarries.
Unsurprisingly, the advice from the ‘old man’ on what sort of equipment to put into the new operation centred around one particular brand; Kobelco.
The connection goes back a few years. The Drummonds had a 12-tonne Kobelco on their farm and had been impressed with its capabilities and longevity. That experience was among the reasons that persuaded Sheldon to specify Kobelco swing machines when Juken ran its own crews for a while, where they did an equally good frontline harvesting job.
Sheldon also had another piece of advice, according to Danny: “He said the first thing you need to do is ring Mark Hunt and get him to agree that he’s going to help you.”
And that’s exactly what he did.
Danny continues: “Because no one here had any logging experience we needed someone to train, supervise and make sure it was running properly and I spoke to Mark Hunt and he agreed to come in and help us. He’s got all the tickets and he used to run a logging crew for Juken.”
When Danny asked Mark about suitable equipment for the new harvesting / road lining venture, the Kobelco name cropped up again.
Mark was foreman of a Juken-owned crew that was running one of the big Kobelco processors and he confirmed to Danny that an SK500 would fit the bill admirably.
Funny that. Danny could easily have followed his own gut instincts because he already had a Kobelco SK500 working in one of his two road building crews and was well acquainted with its performance attributes. Second opinions can’t hurt though, and a new Kobelco SK500 processing base was duly ordered, complete with a Woodsman Pro 850 on the end of the stick.
What his FRM operation has ended up with is two very different versions of the same piece of equipment working in close proximity to each other. And that provided an interesting opportunity for NZ Logger to compare the two machines, see how well each is performing in its allotted task and note the differences.
Before we get too far, we should explain what led Danny Drummond to be in this position in the first place. To do that we have to go back a few years and unearth the reason he’s in this business.
“I’d just finished school and I didn’t know what I was going to do and our neighbour needed some work done on their farm, so I used dad’s 12-tonne Kobelco to do a bit of contracting for them,” says Danny.
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