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Good Work Keeps Oregon Logger Going: ‘We’re Very Environmentally Careful, and That Brings Us Work’

Kriege Logging – Oregon Logger Likes John Deere 2554 Undercarriage for Delimber

By Thomas G. Dolan
Date Posted: 2/1/2008

PRINEVILLE, Oregon — Things are tough for the forest products industry in the Pacific Northwest. “There’s still competition, but not that many loggers are staying in the business,” said Rick Kriege, president of Kriege Logging.

      “There’s an overstock now,” he continued. “A lot of our lumber is imported, especially from Canada. If we do put up a bunch of wood, often there’s no place to take it. We’ve had five sawmills in Prineville all shut down. We used to rely on Forest Service business, but they re not putting up much in terms of timber sales. It started with the spotted owl, and the Forest Service business is drying up due to ongoing environmental appeals.”

      Rick is not a man about to back down, however. He is a third generation logger. His grandfather, Ralph Madison, was a tree taller. “I started going into the woods with my grandfather when I was really young, in grade school,” Rick recalled. His father, Dick, was in and out of the business for many years; Dick bought a logging truck in 2000, and now, semi-retired, hauls wood for Rick and other loggers.

      When Rick was 18, he got his first full-time logging job. He started college, he but didn’t like it. “I tried ranching but found I would starve to death, so I gravitated back to logging,” Rick said.

      Rick returned full-time to logging in 1983. He formed a company with a silent partner six years later. In 1993 he bought out his partner and renamed the company Kriege Logging.

When Rick began doing business as Kriege Logging, he had a Cat skidder, a Cat dozer, a Prentice loader, and a Denharco stroke boom delimber mounted on a Thunderbird undercarriage.

      “We then took advantage of the newer technology by switching to a Pierce delimber mounted on a John Deere 2554 undercarriage,” Rick said. “We ran that about three years, then added another Pierce delimber and John Deere 2554.” Along the way Rick added a John Deere 772-A grader and a John Deere 648GIII skidder.

      Rick has been pleased with the performance of the two John Deere undercarriages. “We got them because of the service we get from the dealer and because they are super reliable,” he said. “They have good fuel economy and are very user friendly. They hold up really well in rigorous applications. Some other models are built for a number of applications, but the Deere bodies are specially built, heavy-duty from the ground-up for the logging industry.”

      His John Deere  648GIII skidder has good power, he indicated. “I like its pulling power and the fact that the hydraulics are accessible. The cab raises up so you can easily work on the hydraulics.”

      The John Deere 772-A grader is “very user friendly,” he said. “I like the all-wheel drive. The articulation pivots in the middle so you can turn it around easily.”

      Rick’s inventory of equipment now includes three skidders, two loaders, two delimbers, a dump truck, a grader and four Kenworth log trucks. Besides his John Deere equipment, many of the other machines are Cat.

      “About four years ago our dealer changed over exclusively to John Deere,” said Rick “We were pleased with them because they provided good service, and we’re happy with the change.” The dealer is Papé Machinery in Bend, Ore.

      Rick mainly does contract logging. The principal mill he started contracting for in 1991 is Ochoco Lumber Co. Rick works within a 100-mile radius of the mill.

      When he started with his silent partner, Rick had three employees; now he has 12. “I try to treat employees the way I want to be treated myself,” said Rick “That has a lot to do with keeping people.”

      Rick and his crew work from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. They cut about 11 million board feet of timber annually. Logging usually comes to a halt for a month or longer beginning in mid-February. “That’s a really rainy, muddy time,” said Rick, who does paper work in the evening and looks at new jobs or timber sales on Saturdays.

      One reason why his company has managed to stay in business, said Rick, is that it has a good reputation for doing a quality job and conserving forest resources. “We’re very careful loggers, easy on the ground,” he said. “We pay close attention to make sure the trees are cut down, delimbed and measured properly.”

      In fact, Kriege Logging has been able to work where other contractors have not. “We keep going and find work on private land in neighboring counties where different companies have shut down,” said Rick “We maintain good relationships with the foresters, both state and federal. We’re environmentally careful, and that brings us work.”

      Rick and his wife, Donna, also own a logging supply business where they sell chain saws and other equipment. The couple has two children, Hanna 22, and R.J., 17. Rick enjoys hunting and fishing and going with his family to rodeos, where they watch R.J. ride bulls.

      Rick is a member of the Association of Oregon Loggers and is chairman of his chapter. “It’s a good way to keep in touch with everybody,” he said. He is also a director for the Oregon Logging Conference. “We put on one of the biggest logging-construction shows in the Northwest and do a lot of education for loggers.”

      Despite the tough times for the forest products industry, particularly the softwood sector, Rick remains upbeat and optimistic. “Somehow, we manage to keep going, stay steady, and grow a little bit at a time. The business brings a lot of premature gray hair, but the worst day in the woods is still better than the best day in an office. I love it.”


John Deere Skidder Features Lock-Up Torque Converter

      The new John Deere 848H skidder features a new Tier 3 PowerTech Plus engine with 224 peak gross horsepower and an exclusive lock-up torque converter for unmatched power and fuel efficiency.

      The lock-up torque converter combines the benefits of a torque converter and direct drive to create a powerful, responsive and fuel efficient system, explained Keith Wilson, product manager for John Deere’s construction & forestry division.

      “Traditionally, the torque converters are easier to get going with a load of wood while direct drives offer a bit more fuel efficiency,” said Keith. “The combination torque converter-direct drive on the 848H starts as a torque converter, then locks up as a direct drive to deliver the benefits of both. The 848H stays engaged during shifting, resulting in higher productivity and a better ride for the operator.” Skidding can be more productive with the enhanced features available on the 848H, he suggested.

      Like the rest of the H-Series, the 8481-I is equipped with best-in-class axles and grapples and innovative features like dual-mode steering. The dual-mode steering option allows operators to alternate between standard steering and quick-steer mode with the flip of a switch. In quick steer mode, the operator can continually steer the machine with little input to the wheel. The advantage of the 848H series is that operators are given the choice between two steering modes. The quick steer mode is particularly good for working in tight quarters and backing up to trees while the standard steering mode works best with long skids or when “roading.”

      Like the rest of the H-series, the 848H comes equipped with a hydraulically driven fan that automatically reverses every 20 minutes, ejecting debris from the radiator and coolers for more uptime and productivity. Operators can also initiate the cleaning cycle manually at the touch of a button. An easy to reach swing-out cooler and radiator simplifies cleaning as well.

      “Customers are impressed with our cooling system,” said Keith. “They like the fact that they don’t have to clean out the engine compartment, and they don’t have to worry about debris build-up. And our new cooler design, with the swing-out radiator and cooler placed side-by-side, allows for great service access and makes maintenance of the system easy.”

      Industry-leading heavy-duty axles are a continued feature on the 848H. Further durability enhancements include a new center-hinged seal that extends the life of the center joint by keeping out abrasive debris. The axle-mounting joint also has been improved, with two additional bolts to each joint.

      The 848H grapple comes standard with a 16-square-foot area and 130-inch wide opening that can securely handle as much wood as larger grapples.

      With the widest selection of innovative options and configurations, the 848H is tailored to meet each customer’s needs, said Keith.

      “The 848H is built to do what skidders do best: get the job done,” said Keith. “Durable and efficient, this machine delivers the performance equipment owners expect from John Deere.”

Key Specifications of the 848H:

Engine — 6.8L Tier 3 PowerTech Plus

Rated gross hp — 200 hp

Peak gross hp — 224 hp

Tong opening at tips — 130 inches

Grapple area — 16 square feet

Wheelbase — 149 inches


John Deere Plants Achieve Highest Quality Standard

    John Deere’s construction & forestry division was established in the mid-1950s, when it was called the industrial equipment division. In late 1957 and early 1958, John Deere appointed its first dealers who were responsible for selling construction equipment exclusively.

      Today John Deere construction and forestry products are distributed through a network of more than 600 dealer locations worldwide. John Deere construction and forestry equipment is manufactured at a number of factories around the world.

      The John Deere Dubuque Works factory was opened in 1947. It stretched over one mile long on 1,465 acres three miles north of Dubuque, Iowa. This facility manufactures crawler dozers, crawler loaders, skid steers, backhoe loaders, energy wood bundlers, forwarders, harvesters, harvesting heads, winches, and components for various heavy equipment products. The factory also houses the Dealer Technical Assistance Center (DTAC) and Dealer Marketing Assistance Center (DMAC). DTAC is a hot line that provides technical assistance to Deere dealers. DMAC helps dealers answer customer questions about proper machine configuration, special applications, and other operating issues.

      The John Deere Davenport Works began production in 1974. Today this facility manufactures articulated dump trucks, four wheel drive loaders, motor graders, log skidders and cabs.

      Small excavator models and the 315SE side-shift backhoe are built at the John Deere factor in Saltillo, Mexico.

      Both the Dubuque Works and Davenport Works factories have been registered to the International Organization for Standardization (IS) standard ISO 9001 by the Quality Management Institute in Canada and the Japanese Machinery & Metal Inspection Institute (JM1). This is the highest standard achievable for recognizing a company’s quality systems.

With the acquisition of Timberjack in December 1999, the division’s product line consists of more than 100 models.

      Products for worldwide forestry markets also are manufactured at John Deere Forestry Oy in Joensuu, Finland, including log fowarders, wheeled harvesters and harvesting heads.

Deere construction equipment is used in numerous types of earthmoving applications, including road building, underground utilities, site utilities, site development and residential construction and in material handling, road repair  and maintenance. John Deere forestry equipment is used in full-tree and cut-to-length harvesting operations and in mill yards.

      John Deere has realized the importance of developing strategic alliances and has partnered with Hitachi and Bell Equipment to strengthen its product offerings. In 1988, Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery was formed. Deere hydraulic excavators are produced by Deere-Hitachi Construction Machinery in Kernersville, N.Y. and Saltillo, Mexico.

      In 1998, Deere-Hitachi formed Deere-Hitachi Specialty Products (DHSP). In 1999, DHSP began shipping crawler-based forestry machines out of its facility in Vancouver, British Columbia.

      In 1999 the construction & forestry division formed a strategic alliance with Bell Equipment in South Africa. Under the agreement, John Deere has exclusive marketing rights to Bell manufactured articulated dump trucks in North, Central, and South America.

      In 2005 John Deere and Bell expanded their strategic alliance, and the first articulated dump truck rolled off the line at the Davenport Works Factory.


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