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Wisconsin Couple Transitions to New Company

Doriott Logging Moves to Komatsu for Timbco, Valmet Machines; Timbco Paired with Risley

By Diane M. Calabrese
Date Posted: 9/1/2005


WEBSTER, Wisconsin — Doriott Logging grew from another logging company that Darrald and Karen Doriott owned for many years. When Darrald decided to semi-retire, Karen became the owner of the newer company, which is quite specialized.

        “All we do is cutting and skidding for T&T Logging in Danbury, Wisconsin,” said Darrald. And that has been the arrangement for the last two years, or ever since the former D&K Logging became Doriott Logging. Darrald supervises the jobs and Karen is responsible for the bookkeeping and business administration.

        In February, Doriott Logging purchased a Timbco 415EX track feller with a Risley Rolly II processing head. Also in February, the company bought a Valmet 840.2 forwarder, which is an eight-wheel drive machine. It is the first Timbco that Darrald and Karen have owned, but they have owned Valmet forwarders in the past.

        Both Timbco and Valmet are now part of the large family of forestry machines that are manufactured by Komatsu Forest in Shawano, Wis. Komatsu Forest is part of Komatsu Ltd., a global corporation.

        Until they added the Timbco 415EX, Darrald and Karen had been relying on another processor. Darrald decided the other unit “was going through a lot of hoses,” which was causing “quite a bit of downtime,” so he wanted to try something different.         Talking with Carl Beauchamp at Roland Machinery Co. in Eau Claire, Wis., Darrald began to think that a Timbco 415EX might be a good choice for a replacement machine.

        The Timbco 415EX weighs in at 43,850 pounds without an optional counterweight. It treads lightly on the ground. For instance, even with the optional counterweight and a standard 600 mm double grouser tracks, the Timbco only exerts ground pressure of 7.07 pounds per square inch.

        With a maximum 257-inch cutting area and a minimum 90-inch cutting area, the Timbco 415EX has been a good fit for the type of trees that Darrald cuts now. For the most part, Doriott Logging works in mixed stands of jack pine, oak and aspen.

        In many ways, the addition of the Timbco was the first big change Darrald made in equipment since he started using processors in the fall of 1992. The original switch to processors was a realistic and necessary decision. “Our main reason was finding good help,” he explained. It was difficult to find good workers even with extensive searches.

        There is a nice additional benefit, too, said Darrald. “It’s quite a bit safer” having people in protected cabs, operating heavy equipment, than it is having them on the ground, felling, limbing and bucking trees by hand with chain saws.

        When Darrald talked with TimberLine, the Timbco 415EX had been in use for almost six months. “I believe already it’s…a heavy duty machine,” he said. If he only had one word to describe it, he would call it “sturdy.”

        Throughout the decision process to invest in the Timbco 415EX and since it has been put into service, Darrald has appreciated the assistance he has received from Carl. “I’m well satisfied with the service” from Roland Machinery, he said.

        Doriott Logging has two other employees. One runs the processor and one runs the forwarder. “I’ve had the same operator (on the processor) since we started with short wood,” or for 13 years, explained Darrald. He adjusted easily to the Timbco 415EX and Rolly II, Darrald added.

        In addition to the Timbco 415EX and the Valmet 840.2, Doriott Logging has two other important pieces of equipment: a Fabtek 344B single-bunk forwarder and a John Deere G640 dozer. Given an opportunity to do as he wished, Darrald said he would run the Fabtek, but back problems prohibit him from operating the equipment regularly.

        Darrald has been in the logging business for nearly 40 years. Well before D&K Logging — the predecessor to Doriott Logging — existed, he was logging with his brother. He has carefully watched the industry and has many thoughts about the course that it has taken.

        Certainly, logging in the winter has become much easier. The snow Doriott Logging encounters is challenging but tolerable. “If we have a real bad winter,” said Darrald, there is still “no more than two feet of snow.”

        The Timbco 415EX does well in the winter conditions. “We had it in a lot of snow,” said Darrald, from the time it arrived in mid-winter. “We work year-round.”

        The most trying time of year in terms of weather is the spring thaw — when the snow is melting and the ground gets extremely wet. Taking care to not damage the substrate is a must in those conditions. Darrald has a good option during the spring thaw. “In the springtime, there’s a lot of jack pine in sandy ground,” he explained. “We can work in it right away.”

        Designed to be versatile, the Timbco 415EX is proportioned to make it a nimble machine in select cuts or large-scale harvests. The boom is set back to enhance stability. The machine is powered by a standard 215 hp SisuDiesel Tier II engine, which provides strong torque and good fuel economy.

        The Valmet 840.2 is a good partner to the Timbco in every way. It also is a compact, versatile machine. It is designed to be able to meet changing needs of loggers, so it can be used in final felling as well as thinnings. The concept built into the Valmet forwarder is that a logger should not have to change equipment with each change in job conditions.

        The subcontractor arrangement that Doriott Logging has with T&T Logging is very specific. “We cut and stack wood along roads,” said Darrald. “T&T transports all equipment,” except for the dozer. “We supply T&T with 100-inch wood — 16-footers sometimes.” Under their agreement, T&T Logging builds all the roads for its subcontractors.

        “We do quite a bit of select cutting,” said Darrald. “We select cut Norway pine plantations.”

        The Timbco 415EX and Rolly II pairing has enabled Doriott Logging to tackle a greater variety of species. “I think this head will handle trees with bigger limbs,” said Darrald. “This head, we cut more hardwood with it.”

        The Rolly II can delimb all coniferous trees and can delimb hardwood branches 4 to 6 inches in diameter, according to Risley. Darrald had his Rolly II equipped with an optional topping saw; tree tops are placed along the machine routes to serve as mats, further protecting the forest floor. For the occasional unusually large diameter tree, the crew uses Husqvarna chain saws for felling, limbing and bucking.

        Doriott Logging performs routine maintenance on its equipment. That’s why hoses are so important to Darrald. The hoses on both the Timbco and the Rolly have proven reliable, he said. Moreover, when they do require replacement, they are easily accessible.

        Darrald has relied on Valmet forwarders for a long time. “We did run Valmet, just ran all the time, for years and years,” he said. So he has a long, comfortable association with the manufacturer. In winter, the Valmet is equipped with tracks on the back wheels and double-diamond chains on one set of front wheels.

        Webster, where Doriott Logging is based, is in the far northwest portion of Wisconsin, only about 10 miles from Minnesota. The Burnett County Forestry Committee takes an active role in overseeing forestry operations on county land and soliciting and accepting bids for cutting timber on county land.

        Doriott Logging works within a 50-mile radius of Webster. That takes the company into Douglas County, Polk County and Burnett County in northwest Wisconsin and Pine County in northeast Minnesota.

        Karen and Darrald married in 1987. A native of the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, Karen had no logging background when she joined Darrald in business.

        Darrald likes being outdoors. “I enjoy being out in the woods, watching deer, black bear,” he said. Black bear are so numerous in the region that he and Karen sometimes see them without leaving their home.

        Outside their business, Darrald and Karen have a passion for racing. “We sponsor stock cars,” said Darrald. “We chase stock cars all summer. We sponsor Mike Chamernick Racing and Tom O’Brien Racing out of Webster.” The cars still use the D&K Logging logo.

        They follow the drivers to races as far away as Aberdeen, South Dakota, which is about 350 miles away. Darrald and Karen have a motor home for the overnight trips.

        “I used to hunt and fish,” said Darrald, but on the advice of his physician he gave them up to spare his back.

        Over the years, Darrald has formed many long-lasting business relationships. One of them is with Carl at Roland Machinery. “I suppose I have known him for 20 years or so,” said Darrald. The positive interaction he has had with Carl made Darrald feel confident about buying the Timbco 415EX and Rolly II processor from Roland Machinery, which has been in business for nearly 50 years.

        Roland Machinery has locations in five states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri and Michigan. The company is committed to providing outstanding service and support and an extensive inventory of parts.

        Risley Equipment is part of Risley Manufacturing Ltd., a family-owned company based in Alberta, Canada. Risley Equipment makes five processing heads, tree-length delimbers and disc saw heads. It puts a strong emphasis on expertise in hydraulics and metal fabrication to design and build durable, reliable equipment.

        For many years before subcontracting for T&T Logging, Darrald’s company worked for Potlatch Corp. Potlatch is the largest private forestland owner in the state of Minnesota and a promoter of Private Forest Management (PFM) initiatives that enable landowners to achieve goals for their land that range from increased productivity to timber sales. Potlatch, which has managed land in Minnesota for more than a century, is also committed to the Sustainable Forestry Initiative.

        Having worked in logging his entire life, Darrald has adapted to changes, made adjustments and adopted new equipment. He and his brother started logging in the mid-1960s after growing up on a small dairy farm. “We used to hire quite a few more people,” he noted, before the industry become more mechanized.

        Logging today presents new challenges, he noted. Some of the most significant challenges are financial and economic — the capital cost of investing in machinery and equipment and the operating costs for machinery and labor. “I guess the concern I have is the cost going so high,” said Darrald.

        “Fuel prices really went up in the last couple of years,” he added. Nevertheless, loggers will find a way to persevere, he said. The fuel efficiency of the Timbco 415EX Tier II engine helps, Darrald noted. Also, the machine has enabled the company to reduce downtime.

        There is good reason to be optimistic, given the many ways the industry has been transformed. Across the four decades Darrald has worked in logging, there have been adjustments of all sorts.

                “Logging has changed,” he observed, from hand felling with chain saws, from cable skidders to grapple skidders, from cutters to processing equipment. He started out years ago with only one machine, a cutter, Darrald recalled. “We stacked by hand on trucks.” The key is to adapt to change, he said.


 






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