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Keep Trucking Safety Awareness High


By: J.J. Lemire, Director Of Loss Control, Forestry Mutual Insurance Company

Data compiled by the Federal Highway Safety Administration reveal that speed and driver distractions are the two main causes of truck accidents. Issues such as cell phone or CB radio use, becoming sleepy from long hauls, along with boredom, are main contributors. The driver has direct control of both speed and distraction factors. If you work to control them chances are good that you’ll make it home to family and friends, but do nothing and you could become a statistic for us to talk about.

Sometimes external sources or hazards beyond your control contribute or cause these accidents. How often have you seen another driver race to get in front of the truck because they did not want to be stuck behind the tractor and trailer? You do not have control over bad drivers, but always remain alert and be on the lookout for situations that can lead to an accident. Look ahead and constantly scan!

If you keep the truck and trailer on the pavement, you lessen the chance of rollovers from soft shoulders or sudden weight shifts. Let’s consider some simple ideas on how to keep safety awareness at a high level.

Animals on the road. Do not try to swerve suddenly to avoid them, as the center of gravity can move and cause rollovers.

Fog and heavy rain. Slow down when visibility is not good. These conditions reduce the distance you can see in front of you.


Machine Upkeep Archive: AC Care


Machine Upkeep articles are taken from the archives of Southern Loggin’ Times.

By: Barry O’Leary, Technical Support Specialist, Caterpillar Forest Products

Now is the time to make sure the air conditioning systems in your equipment are ready for the long, hot summer. Here are tips on what to check and how to maintain the AC.

Air Filters—Clean air filters are the most important aspect of keep­ing AC in working order. Cab fresh air and recirculation filters are designed to provide clean air to the system and keep the cab pressurized. Clogged filters reduce airflow to the operator and reduce cab pressurization, which allows dirt to infiltrate the cab. If filters are not properly maintained, the evaporator coil will be coated with dirt, retarding cooling.

Filters should be inspected daily. Intervals for cleaning or replacing air filters depend on the severity of the application and the environment. If conditions are extremely dusty, filters might need to be cleaned/replaced daily; weekly intervals might be sufficient. In addition to inspecting filters for dirt, look through the filter toward a bright light to check for holes. Check for damaged gaskets or dented metal; toss damaged filters.

Replacing filters is preferable to cleaning them. The filter’s efficiency is reduced every time it is cleaned. However, if you choose to clean, you can remove loose dirt with compressed air. Do not exceed 100 PSI from an air nozzle that is 0.125 in. in diameter. Keep the air nozzle at least 2 in. from the filter.

The fresh air filter should be replaced at least two or three times a year, or when damaged or so caked with dirt that it cannot be cleaned. Recirculation filters are foam and can be blown out with low-pressure air and also may be gently washed with a mild detergent. After washing filters, dry with low-pressure air.


Building Blocks: A Silent Partner That’s Truthful About Your Business Performance


From the Building Blocks column in the May/June issue of Timber Harvesting magazine.

There are a lot of moving parts involved in running any type of business, but this is especially true in logging. You make big investments in equipment and in training and retaining good operators. You carry insurance, incur big fuel bills, fork over a lot for repairs, may be involved in trucking, and sometimes may lose sleep at night trying to keep track of it all.

Given all these moving parts, how can you keep accurate track of everything so you can run a profitable operation?

To succeed you need well-maintained equipment, follow productive harvesting and hauling methods, and rely on competent, dedicated employees. But there is one not-so-obvious asset critical to financial success: a well-designed software system to track core business information such as job type and characteristics, compensation, load tickets and time sheets. A good software system is like a good business partner—you come to rely on it to tell you the unvarnished truth about how your business is doing and where you need to improve.

General accounting package such as QuickBooks or Sage 50 are great for the big picture tracking of revenues and costs, but are not designed to incorporate the detailed information that an astute logger needs to understand business economics. Nor do they provide the checks and balances needed for ensuring that you are paid for all the wood you harvest.

Managers at Hadaller Logging in Kelso, Wash. understand just how valuable it is to have an industry-specific software tool to supplement an accounting package. They adopted Caribou Software’s Logger’s Edge system four years ago, primarily with the objective of tracking weekly production and paying truckers, but they have come to rely on Logger’s Edge for much more.


Use All Tools Available To Help Control Trucking


By: Nick Carter, Agency Manager, Forestry Mutual Insurance Company

Not a day goes by that I do not receive a call about some company’s commercial auto premiums increasing. This cycle starts with the logger or log trucker who is experiencing the pain of his operating cost falling into negative territory. Comments I hear include: “I cannot find acceptable drivers,” “I cannot find reliable contractors,” or “My insurance costs are driving me out of business.”

Timber is not purchased at $20/ton and sold to mills for $15/ton. It is simple math. Losses, lawsuits, medical and underinsured/uninsured motorist costs are pushing premiums out of control. Once a claim occurs these costs escalate very quickly and the insurance company has to pay.

Commercial auto carriers are steering away from writing all types of truck insurance. Companies such as AIG, Zurich and Progressive are just a few examples. Carriers will continue to withdraw until the market is profitable. No business should continue to operate with excessive losses year after year.

What is driving these costs and frequencies upward?


Machine Upkeep Archive: Analyze, Then Repair


Machine Upkeep articles are taken from the archives of Southern Loggin’ Times.

By: Barry O’Leary, Technical Support Specialist, Caterpillar Forest Products

When a machine fails, the result is downtime and repair costs. Making a repair, without analyzing the cause, can result in further costs. Avoid this by following eight steps to gather the facts, determine a sequence of events and then identify and correct the root cause.

State problem—The problem should be stated in a clear, concise manner in two parts: the failed components and symptoms.

Symptoms observed in the component may include fractures, unusual wear or deformation. Note other symptoms that may be related, such as unusual noise or odor, vibration or loss of power. Take care not to state the problem too broadly or too narrowly. Here’s an example of what can happen with a too narrow approach: An operator detected low power, black exhaust smoke and no turbocharger “whistle.” He concluded the turbo was bad and replaced it, but the symptoms persisted. The problem turned out to be a bird’s nest in the air inlet pipe.

Organize fact gathering—An organized analysis will include a list of conditions that could have led to the observed symptoms and failure. Don’t let preconceptions mislead you. If engine bearings get hot and seize, it is reasonable to suspect low oil. However, the problem could be a failed oil pump, for example. Basic equipment for fact-finding should include a flashlight, camera, magnifying glass and filter cutter.


FET, JM Wood Auction Announce Partnership


ForesTree Equipment Trader (FET), the premier online platform for buying and selling quality pre-owned forestry equipment and more, is now partnering with JM Wood Auction Co., the South’s leader in pre-owned forestry equipment auctions and appraisals.

JM Wood is providing auction results data for all forestry equipment it sells to FET, which is posting the data on its web site, Auction results are accessible in several ways, including as a database searchable by such criteria as year, make, model and selling price range.

“We are really excited about our partnership with ForesTree Equipment Trader,” says JM Wood President Bryant Wood. “The people at Hatton-Brown have always been committed to promoting our industry and we look forward to working closer with them going forward.”

Hatton-Brown owns FET, along with several trade magazines, including Southern Loggin’ Times and Timber Harvesting.


Machine Upkeep Archive: Maintaining Logging Roads


Machine Upkeep articles are taken from the archives of Southern Loggin’ Times.

By: Cliff Caudill, Product Marketing Manager, John Deere

You probably know that there are a couple of reality shows on TV about logging. If you have seen the shows, then you probably remember chuckling (or sympathizing) during episodes where a trucker—usually a rookie—gets a full load bogged down in a poorly maintained section of logging road. Of course, this is followed by many bleeped-out profanities.

But rookie or not, anyone who has worked in the woods knows how important a properly maintained logging road is, or how life-threatening a poorly maintained one can be. Ignoring road maintenance means you are heading down a path that will require road reconstruction. Here is something to ponder: An estimate of typical costs (not site specific) for road grading is approximately $300 to $2,500 per mile, while clearing an area for a new road can cost upwards of $4,000 to $7,000 per mile. By following a proper road maintenance regime you can conserve cash flow and minimize damage to local water and soil resources.

Your first step is to get a detailed maintenance plan in place. Know your land and road systems. Get out a topographical map of your property or aerial photos, if possible. Ask yourself: How many miles of road do I currently manage? Where are the culverts, bridges, streams and steeper terrain? Have an employee drive around the property to assess trouble areas, i.e., places susceptible to slump, or places where water drainage has obviously had an impact. This type of assessment could be done on a monthly basis to ensure action is taken before the problem becomes an expensive one. If possible, you should inspect roads and culverts around current cutting operations more frequently. Sometimes the maintenance is as simple as getting out a shovel and clearing a blocked culvert and other times the required action may be to bring in a motor grader.


TEAM Safe Trucking To Meet February 9


By: DK Knight, Co-Publisher and Executive Editor, Hatton-Brown Publishers, Inc.

Organizers and supporters of TEAM Safe Trucking (TST) will gather in Myrtle Beach, SC February 9 to discuss the initiative’s 2016 progress and to address ways to accelerate additional progress going forward. The meeting, which begins at 1 p.m. is open to anyone interested in helping make log/chip trucking safer, more accountable and professional.

TST recently launched a work-in-progress web site ( and has streamlined internal communications and committee responsibilities to get more done in a tighter time frame, according to TEAM Leader Jimmie Locklear (910-733-3300).

The meeting will take place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Myrtle Beach Oceanfront. This is the same hotel hosting the annual meeting of the South Carolina Timber Producers Association on February 10-12.

The Day Before Christmas, A Loggers Tale


By: Wendy Farrand

T’was the DAY before Christmas, when all through the woods,
Not a creature was stirring, all asleep like they should.
The skidders were parked on the landing with care,
In hopes that their operators soon would be there.

The cutters were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of tall timber danced in their heads.
I kissed Ma in her kerchief, and donned my skullcap
Then headed to the jobsite, and not for a nap!

When I arrived on the landing, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my cab to see what was the matter!
Away to the hardwood, I flew like a flash.
Then I turned on a dime, and fell onto my Ash.

The sun on the crest of the new-fallen snow,
Made me feel I was dreaming with nowhere to go,
When all of a sudden what should I see,
A right jolly old elf peering out from a tree!



Reflecting On 2016, Looking Ahead

By: Jari Mennala, Director, John Deere Forestry Sales & Marketing, U.S., Canada, and Latin America


As the end of 2016 approaches, let’s reflect on the past 12 months and consider how to prepare for the year ahead. As we have addressed in our columns throughout the year, loggers are facing more challenges than ever, from dealing with increasing market pressure to managing employee recruitment and retention.

The multitude of challenges requires loggers to be smart and to adapt to constant changes in the industry. The modern logger doesn’t ignore the past—it helped shape who they are as a business owner—but combines years of experience with new innovations and business strategies to prepare for a successful future.

Cultivate Employees—It is widely known that one of the biggest challenges loggers face is finding good, reliable operators. As more loggers age out of the profession, there are not enough young employees willing and prepared to take over. It is important for the logging industry to not only acknowledge the problem, but also take steps to recruit and train a new generation of employees.

Loggers need to take action to recruit new employees. Consider getting involved with local organizations and work with trade schools to help educate students who may have not considered a career in logging. When new employees are hired, focus on cultivating those employees. Clearly define your expectations and invest in educational opportunities to ensure your workers are not only prepped for the job but also are growing on a professional level.


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