First Matriarch Skogger proves successful in Latin America
Published: 13 April 2021
Latin Equipment Norte has recently introduced the first Matriarch Skogger into the Americas where it is working in a thinning and clear-cut operation in teak plantations in the remote woods of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula.
Mexico is one of the top five largest teak producers worldwide, providing almost twenty percent of the global yield. The Yucatan Peninsula, in the south-east region, has ideal weather and soil conditions and produces some of the best quality timber in the world.
Known for its quality, beauty, durability, and easy workability compared to other species, this hardwood is used extensively in Asia in the construction and furniture industries, and in Europe for luxury cars and boat building.
Due to the need to enhance and develop a proper teak supply chain in south-eastern Mexico, a professional assessment of timber harvesting operations was conducted in 2019 by Latin Equipment Norte, Bell Equipment’s dealer in Central America and Mexico, as part of a forestry mechanisation and expansion project.
José Carlos Rocha Filho, Commercial Manager at Latin Equipment Norte, said: “After a few visits in the woods, we were able to pinpoint that the management of teak has its own peculiarities, and it is usually conducted by way of up to four sections of selective thinning that start at the age of three, with the first sections, and end at age of ten to twelve. The clear-cut occurs at age eighteen to twenty. Also, given the fact that teak logs have a significant added value when they are free of deep scratches or damage, we saw that customers prefer handling logs carefully, delivering high-quality logs to traders, instead of focusing on high production with low-quality logs.
“Pondering all the production targets and the conditions addressed on this hardwood management, we realised that the ideal equipment should interact in the transitions between thinning and harvesting operations. Our Managing Director, Gabriel Turturiello, encouraged us to seek out a purpose-built machine capable of handling all demands and, at the same time, able to interact with different applications properly. During that time, we had the opportunity to brainstorm ideas with one of our Directors, Mr Derek Smythe, and thanks to his previous experience with Bell machines and several kinds of operations, we had an insight that a new Matriarch concept, the Skogger, could fit this project.”
The Skogger is a unique forestry machine that combines the functionalities of a skidder with the capabilities of a tri-wheeled logger. The boom arrangement lends itself both to gathering and extracting timber in-field and to loading and stacking logs very efficiently. Thanks to its versatility and unique design concept, Latin Equipment Norte could deliver a practical and cost-effective timber handling solution that optimises all applications in Southern Mexico.
José continues: “The flexibility to work on up to three different applications makes this machine the right fit for teak growers. For instance, around the Yucatan Peninsula, the Skogger jumped into action pulling trees off to the roadside during the dry season, and loading, feeding, and stacking during the wet season. Also, due to its relatively medium size and high manoeuvrability, the machine interacts well with felled trees and especially with the remaining stand in the case of upper thinning. As far as Skogger is concerned, the word ‘downtime’ does not exist in its concept.”
According to José, the customer is extremely pleased with the Skogger’s performance to date. “He compares the Skogger to a Swiss Army Knife due to it being a compact yet powerful multi-purpose tool that meets all his demands,” he explains. “We have already heard that in the coming years they will continue the expanding plan, counting on Bell Equipment in his fleet. From our side, we are proud to be part of this milestone. We are convinced that all Latin Equipment’s effort and the great results of the Matriarch Skogger will not only serve to further expand Bell machines throughout Mexico, but also to other hardwood growers around Latin America,” he ends.
More about Matriarch
The Bell Equipment-owned Matriarch brand of niche forestry products are designed and manufactured in-house to world-class quality standards, and provide safe, uncomplicated mechanised solutions.
The four-wheel drive, articulated Skogger is difficult to beat when it comes to versatility in the forest plantation. Primarily an extraction tool for full tree lengths or cut-to-length timber, the boom and grapple configuration of the Skogger lend it to numerous other tasks including the accumulation, stacking and loading of timber. Optional fitment of the Matriarch Felling Head transforms the Skogger into an effective felling and bunching machine, capable of working on slopes and in poor underfoot conditions.
The FASTFell is a cost-effective mechanical tree felling and bunching machine. Fitted with the Matriarch MT50 Felling Head, the FASTFell is a simple, robust solution for both thinning’s and clear-fell harvesting operations. Based on the tri-wheeler’s hydrostatic drive concept, the machine offers agility to manoeuvre within confined spaces. High productivity coupled with simplicity and a low cost of ownership reinforces the Bell low cost per tonne promise.
Working as a team, the FASTFell and Skogger fell and extract at equivalent rates to offer a well-balanced felling and extraction system to feed a roadside processor.
The LogPro is a new age high-capacity tri-wheeler timber loader, featuring a unique weight distribution system that enhances both lift capability and drive wheel traction. The certified operator cab, designed with high ergonomic standards in mind, provides a comfortable working environment with excellent all-round visibility while the state-of-the-art control systems designed into the LogPro maximise machine efficiency, durability and workplace safety.