MARENGO, Wisconsin — Daniel Granger owns a successful construction business, but to make up for lost time during the winter, he decided to launch a logging business, too. Now he spends most of his time in the logging business.
Daniel recently upgraded his logging equipment, investing in a new Eco Log harvester and a new Eco Log forwarder from Scandinavian Forestry Equipment.
Granger Logging performs cut-to-length timber harvesting. The company has a crew of three full-time workers and one part-time. Two of the full-time employees operate the company’s harvester and forwarder, and the third drives a truck. The part-time employee builds roads and also operates the forwarder at times. Daniel’s crew strives to produce about 15 loads of wood per week.
The company is equipped with two bulldozers for building logging roads, a John Deere 700J and an older Cat D5C, and one logging truck. Daniel contracts with other truckers for additional hauling.
The company is based in Marengo, which is in northwesternmost Wisconsin and where it has a shop and office. It is almost 80 miles east of Duluth, Minnesota, and only 20 miles south of Lake Superior.
Daniel, 42, started Granger Logging about 10 years ago. He has had a construction business for 13 years — he began doing construction work as a teenager — and he decided to start a logging company to compensate for the slowdown in construction work during the winter. “I got sawdust on the brain,” he recalled, after he started. “I just kept going.”
He still operates his construction business, Cedar Brook Construction. The company mainly does remodeling and additions, and it builds a couple of custom homes per year. The business employs 10 people.
The two businesses are completely separated and do not mix any operations or employees at all — except for Daniel and a shared bookkeeper.
Granger Logging has evolved through a few permutations of logging equipment since Daniel started the business. When he first started, the company was equipped with a New Holland skid steer and an old Franklin forwarder; the trees were bucked at the landing. The next winter he added a track harvester but the following year replaced it with the two cut-to-length machines.
Daniel invested in the Eco Log machines last fall, replacing an aging harvester and forwarder of another manufacturer. “They were getting high hours,” said Daniel.
Daniel buys standing timber, mainly on public land — forest land owned by Ashland, Bayfield and Sawyer counties or timber put up for sale on the nearby Chequamegon–Nicolet National Forest. The average tract is about 90 acres. The company has worked on tracts as small as 30 acres and as large as 300 acres.
“The terrain is a little of everything,” said Daniel, describing the region. The company works in relatively flat valleys and also hilly terrain in sandy ground or rocky ground.
Hardwoods are the dominant species in the region, according to Daniel. They include oak, red oak, sugar maple and red maple, white and yellow aspen, basswood, and black and white ash. There are pockets of mostly pine, too; softwoods include pine, red pine, white, spruce, and balsam.
Daniel’s markets are generally within 50-75 miles, sometimes up to 100. Markets are mixed at this time.
“Pulp markets are clogged pretty good,” noted Daniel. Paper maker Verso idled two mills in the region last year — in Duluth and Wisconsin Rapids, which is about 175 miles south of Marengo.
He sells pulpwood to Louisiana-Pacific in Hayward, Wisconsin, and Sappi in Cloquet, Minnesota. “We never really sent Verso very much wood, but it’s definitely affected us because a lot of the Verso loggers now are selling pulp to the mills that we sell to,” said Daniel. He was able to sell some pulpwood through the winter “but the spring buy is very limited,” he said. “There’s so much supply available.” Prices have dipped slightly, he said.
Fortunately, markets for saw logs are doing well and even increasing. Prices for saw logs have been going up, according to Daniel. He supplies most of his hardwood saw logs to White River Hardwoods. Softwood saw logs are supplied to PotlatchDeltic and Biewer Lumber.
Prices for diesel fuel are rising. When Daniel was interviewed for this article, diesel was $3.01 per gallon and off-road diesel was $2.50.
Daniel invested last fall in an Eco Log 688E harvester and an Eco Log 574E forwarder; both machines have eight wheels.
He first met representatives of Scandinavian Forestry Equipment and saw Eco Log machines at the Great Lakes Logging & Heavy Equipment Expo, which is held alternately in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Escanaba, Michigan.
When it came time to upgrade machines, Daniel considered other manufacturers, too. He was attracted to Scandinavian Forestry Equipment and Eco Log for several reasons. “I liked the pricing they put together,” said Daniel. “That definitely helped.” He purchased the machines direct from Scandinavian Forestry Equipment’s location in Wausau, Wisconsin.
He particularly liked the design of the Eco Log 688E harvester. Unlike some other cut-to-length harvesters, the boom is not attached to the machine directly in front of the cab; the base of the boom is located to the side and behind the cab. “It gives you a full view in front,” noted Daniel. The operator’s view straight ahead is completely unobstructed.
Daniel also was attracted to the Log Max head that was attached to the Eco Log harvester. “I’ve heard a lot of good things about the Log Max heads,” he said. The machine came equipped with a Log Max 6000 harvester attachment, a dangle head.
Daniel was pleased that Scandinavian Forestry Equipment demonstrated the machines without asking him for any kind of commitment on pricing. “They were willing to demo the machines before any discussion of price was settled,” he said. Some manufacturers ask for contractors to agree to pricing before they arrange for a demo, he noted.
Eco Log is a Swedish manufacturer that produces high-efficiency machines for sustainable forestry. By their ability to adapt to the terrain, the machines allow their operator to be in full control regardless of ground conditions. They feature exceptional ground-clearance, reliability, and serviceability for high productivity and a profitable total cost of ownership.
The Eco Log 688E harvester is specially designed for work in steep terrain, which minimizes ground pressure when working on sensitive ground. With a powerful Volvo Penta engine, it combines versatility and flexibility to efficiently harvest timber in tough applications.
The Volvo Penta D8 engine, rated at 286 hp, is known for its high performance, reliability, fuel efficiency, and low emissions.
The driver cabin rotates 350 degrees for excellent visibility of the working area. The harvester has improved stability in the middle and improved steering of the tilt plate, resulting in very high mobility and stability. New hoods improve serviceability, and the operator cab and service platform feature updates.
The Eco Log E series forwarders were developed with the operator in focus. The machines have been fitted with a completely new driver cabin where space, comfort and visibility are prioritized so the operator can work comfortably and efficiently. The IQAN control system has been improved with more integrated features and a larger touch screen. Like Eco Log harvesters, the forwarders are powered by Volvo Penta D8 engines; the engine on the 574E forwarder generates 252 hp.
Scandinavian Forestry Equipment distributes and sells equipment for modern forestry applications. The company’s goal is to exceed customers’ expectations and develop profitable, long-term relationships by providing strategic, efficient and reliable forestry equipment solutions. The staff has more than 80 years of experience in the forest products industry.
Scandinavian Forestry Equipment is based in Pennsylvania and has another location in Wisconsin; it also is supported by a growing network of dealers in the West, the Great Lakes region, and the Northeast.
In addition to representing Eco Log, Scandinavian Forestry Equipment is a distributor for Log Max, Quadco, Southstar, and Waratah forestry attachments, Eltec forestry harvesters and loaders, JPS saw units for harvester attachments, and Cranab cranes and grapples,
(For more information, contact the company’s headquarters in Manchester, Pennsylvania, at (717) 793-3102, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit the website at www.scandforestry.com.)
“So far so good,” said Daniel. “The operators have been pretty happy with them.” The harvester operator takes the slash and places it in front of the machine to create a mat of material to drive on, and the forwarder follows the same path.
The machines have good fuel economy and power, said Daniel. He also purchased a service agreement from Scandinavian Forestry Equipment to maintain the machines for several years.
At the time Daniel talked with TimberLine, Granger Logging was harvesting timber on a 100-acre tract dominated by red oak. Although the snow has melted, the region continues to experience snow flurries.
Daniel works about 50 hours a week. He divides his time between his two companies, but he spends 70 percent of his working time with Granger Logging, he estimated. He cruises timber and prepares bids, and also operates a bulldozer and builds logging roads.
Daniel is a member of the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association. In his free time he enjoys spending time with his family and also likes to hunt deer in the fall.