New Brunswick C-T-L Logger Takes on Hardwood

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Canadian C-T-L Logger Takes on Hardwood with Votec Hornet

Carroll Enterprises Adds Votec Innovation Hornet for Delimbing and Processing Hardwood Stands for Bowater

CARROLL’S CROSSING, New Brunswick, Canada — Some decisions are easy. Carroll Enterprises harvests timber
exclusively for Bowater Inc., which is headquartered in Greenville, S.C. Bowater has cutting rights on more than 14 million acres of Crown Land in Canada, in addition to the 2 million acres the
company owns or leases in the U.S. and Canada.

So when Bowater wanted Carroll Enterprises, one of its regular contractors, to perform cut-to-length logging in hardwood stands, Carroll’s owner, Edison Carroll, and its foreman, his son, Keith, agreed.

The father and son team added a Hornet 825, a combination delimber and processor, to do the job. The Hornet, a product of Votec Innovation in Calgary, Alberta, was purchased last year, and they began using it in their operations in October. The tool is mounted on a Tigercat excavator.

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“It’s big and rugged,” said Keith. The Hornet is designed to make quick work of trees of a sizable diameter, especially those with large limbs — making it a good fit for hardwoods.

The Hornet is used mainly to delimb and process in stands of birch and maple. It will easily handle a tree 25 inches in diameter, according to Keith. Depending on the species, the Hornet can work with even larger trees; it performs smoothly on softwoods as big as 29 or 30 inches in diameter.

Votec Innovation markets the Hornet as a delimber-processor. The equipment performs both tasks virtually simultaneously. The Hornet has a feed force of 12,000 pounds at 3,675 psi; it has the capability to keep up its feed rate even when it hits big limbs. The power makes it a good match for big maples and other hardwoods. The single butt plate can be set mechanically for lengths between 96 inches and 127 inches. Carroll Enterprises purchased the Hornet with the optional computer system, which can be used to 10 preset lengths. The pre-programming gives the operator great flexibility in stands where he has to frequently switch from one length to another.

Carroll Enterprises has been a cut-to-length operation for eight years. Before that the company used a “skidders and slash wood” approach, explained Keith, who has been working for his father for 15 years.

Besides their commitment to Carroll Enterprises, Keith and his father, Edison, have shared another interest for about 12 years. They breed and show draft horses known as Percherons, named for the Perche region of France, where they were first bred. At the 2000 Provincial Draft Horse Show, sponsored by the New Brunswick Draft Horse Association, two of Edison Carroll’s geldings earned recognition; one was declared the junior champion and the other was named the reserve grand champion.

The Hornet 825 is the most recent addition to a list of heavy-duty equipment that powers Carroll Enterprises. Two Log Max harvesters have been toiling for years. “They’re fast,” said Keith, and work particularly well in spruce. Three forwarders get the wood out. The company is equipped with a Rottne forwarder and two Fabtek machines; the Rottne is a six-wheel drive machine and the Fabtek machines are a 546-B and a 546-C. Carroll Enterprises also owns
two Mack Trucks, a 320 Cat loader and a tractor and an excavator. The company does some of its hauling and contracts for the rest. Occasionally it has to build roads. The company occasionally uses chain saws for limbing and bucking unusually large trees and has Husqvarnas for that task.

Carroll Enterprises employs a full-time mechanic to stay on top of all its routine maintenance and service. The Rottne and Fabtek forwarders perform well and have been easily maintained, according to Keith. “(The Rottne) is very good on the side hills,” he said. “It has very good stabilization.” Carroll Enterprises bought the Rottne after an equipment dealer loaned the company the machine to try it out; Keith liked it so much he decided to keep it.

The “side hills” of New Brunswick are too steep and too commonplace to ignore. They must be incorporated into a logger’s work because they have to be negotiated daily. One feature of the Hornet 825 that really pleases Keith is its sure footing on the uneven terrain with the Tigercat excavator. Some of the slopes have a 30% grade. They also are exceedingly rocky.

Votec Innovation and its dealers work with customers to find the right carrier for their requirements, and there are many options. Votec, which has a growing reputation in Canada, sold a Hornet to its first U.S. customer — a Washington company — earlier this year.

The Tigercat excavator has minimal tail swing and a low center of gravity, which is particularly important in operating on slopes. Keith has been real pleased with his decision to pair the Hornet with the Tigercat.

The Hornet processes the equivalent of 45,000 cubic meters of wood per year, according to Keith. It follows a feller-buncher crew that is operated by another contractor that works for Bowater and delimbs and processes the timber felled by the other crew. The contractor is not affiliated with Carroll Enterprises. Meanwhile, the two Carroll Enterprises Log Max machines harvest between 60,000 and 70,000 cubic meters of wood annually.

The arrangement of working with another Bowater contractor that does the felling in hardwood stands is one that Keith aims to change as soon as possible. He is “looking at two or three feller-bunchers right now,” he said, and plans to have Carroll Enterprises into its own hardwood felling operations this year.

Because of the wet condition of the substrate in the spring thaw, Carroll Enterprises stops timber harvesting on March 20 and does not start again until mid-May. When the company is cutting timber, however, it operates an intense schedule. The hours are specified in the contract with Bowater, explained Keith. Twenty employees staff two overlapping shifts, with the bridge time used for communication and maintenance. The harvesting and processing equipment runs 110 hours per week — the halogen lights on the Hornet provide all the illumination required for delimbing and processing in the dark.

Keith has taken courses to obtain certifications he has needed to assume the roles he has taken on at Carroll Enterprises the last 15 years. “I took a harvester course,” he said. “I took a truckers course.” He continues to take advantage of formal educational opportunities. Yet he also relies heavily on experience, what he learned growing up in a logging family as he is a third-generation logger.

The topography of New Brunswick is hilly but not very high. The highest peak in the province, Mt. Carleton, has an elevation of 2,690 feet.

Carroll’s Crossing, the home of Carroll Enterprises, is located in central New Brunswick, about 50 miles north and east of the capital city of Fredericton, where Carroll bought its Hornet 825 from Votec dealer Strongco Equipment Co. The New Brunswick management
site for Bowater is in Dalhousie, which is located on the north-central tip of the province.

Timber and the New Brunswick economy have been tied together since French settlers arrived around 1670. The British and American colonists to the south soon followed the French and had a keen interest in timber. The region’s huge white pines were coveted for building ships. According to early accounts, some white pines grew to 200 feet tall and 7 feet wide. Forestry experts estimate that no more than 2% of the New Brunswick land was virgin forest because even before the 17th century the region was an attractive one for indigenous people looking for wood.

The abundant timberland in New Brunswick has a practical outcome for Carroll Enterprises: the company crews do not have to travel far to job sites. “The longest travel is about one hour in the woods,” said Keith.

Carroll Enterprises was drawn into cut-to-length logging in order to continue to serve Bowater, but Keith is happy with the transformation. “I like the cut-to-length,” he said. “With cut-to-length, (we have) just got one machine to look after. I don’t have to tell the skidders (what) to go after.”

Bowater sets the harvesting method, the scheme for regeneration, and so on. The slash generated from cut-to-length logging is left in the woods because it decomposes and enhances regeneration. Bowater takes pride in its environmental efforts. Its Dalhousie pulp and paper mill has an electrostatic precipitator on its power boiler that reduces particulate matter by 90%.