|The online newspaper for the forest products industry including loggers, sawmills, remanufacturers and secondary wood processors.|
Fecon Mulchers Draw Receptive Crowd: Taylor Atlantic Hosts Demonstration to Show What Fecon Forestry Mulchers Can Do
Taylor Atlantic-Fecon – Dealership Hosts Successful Demo with Fecon
Date Posted: 8/1/2009
Taylor Atlantic sponsored and hosted a demonstration of Fecon forestry mulching equipment that drew an attentive, enthusiastic audience.
“I am astounded at the turn-out today and the overall concern for the environment,” said Bob Candee, regional manager for Fecon.
“Everyone here gets that mulching increases property value, assists in water conservation, erosion control, and returns land back to nature without destruction,” added Bob. “What an impressive group! Oh, and the barbecue is unbelievable!”
The demonstration was held in an estate community under construction about 20 miles northwest of Richmond in Hanover County. Kevin Kittel, owner of Highland Builders, allowed the demonstration on some of his home building lots. The 10-acre lots are priced in the range of $250,000. A logging crew also was at work, removing trees from the lot to make room to build a home.
Four pieces of Fecon equipment were demonstrated. Fecon brought FTX 100 and FTX 440 machines, steel-track carriers mounted with Fecon mulchers. Taylor Atlantic provided a Fecon FTX 148 and also a Barko 937 wheeled carrier with a Fecon mulching attachment.
“The Fecon FTX148 has the lowest fuel consumption in its class today,” said Darlene Spangler, who owns the Taylor Atlantic dealership.
The event drew more than 75 people to field test and watch the Fecon machines working under actual conditions. Some drove four or five hours one-way to attend the demo.
“We are extremely pleased with the attendance here today, especially in these economic times,” said Annie Lou Wax of Taylor Atlantic, which represents Fecon, Barko, Taylor Machine Works and Broderson Manufacturing, which offers industrial and rough terrain cranes.
Ohio-based Fecon manufactures the Bull Hog® line of forestry mulchers. The company also manufactures FTX track carriers, shears, grapples, stump grinder, stone crushers, screens and hoppers, mulch coloring machines, and soil stabilization equipment.
Fecon Bull Hog mulchers are known for their heavy-duty construction and reliability. They shred brush and trees quickly, safely and efficiently. The standard cutter is a rotor with patented fixed-position carbide cutting tips; the company also offers chipper knives and stone teeth. The Bull Hog can produce mulch of any texture, coarse or fine; the mulch is discharged down onto the ground for safety.
Fecon manufactures the Bull Hog in a wide range of sizes and capacities for skid steers, excavators and hydraulic and PTO carriers of various horsepower and hydraulic output. The mulchers also vary by cutting capability and width; they can cut and mulch standing trees and also shred wood material that is on the ground.
Applications for Fecon mulchers include land clearing, right-of-way maintenance, creating fire breaks, cutting trails and access roads, invasive species removal, site preparation, and other vegetation management services.
A Fecon machine was put to work, mulching some of the smaller trees and vegetation around one of Kevin’s building sites, the middle of which was being logged in order to build a new home. The mulching process opened up the lot and increased visibility of the home site from the road. Across the road, another Fecon machine was used to mulch piles of slash and other debris in an area that had been logged previously. As evidenced, the machines are capable of processing standing trees and vegetation into mulch as well as wood material that already is on the ground.
The diversity of the group was evident while everyone enjoyed delicious barbecue provided by Troy Jernigan. One could hear:
— representatives of state and federal government discussing Florida’s purchase of several machines to create a 150-foot mulched area as a fire break.
—land owners talking about the park-like setting created by Billy Pepper on previously logged lots in the development.
—operators who were impressed with the increased power of the Barko 937 and the variable displaced motor on the Fecon head
—many developers, contractors, loggers and others who weren’t operators but could not resist the boyish thrill of taking control of such an impressive machine as the Fecon 440 were overwhelmed by the sheer ease of operation
Lunch felt more like a family reunion in this picturesque setting — great food, many conversations going with everyone talking at the same time, and friends and competitors sitting together, enjoying a beautiful June day.
The benefits of the mulching service were readily realized by Kevin. “It’s a huge benefit” to homeowners, he said. In a lot this size and heavily forested, after the land is cleared for the house, drain field and driveway, the building site is still surrounded by a “wall” of trees, he acknowledged. Processing other vegetation on the lot into mulch and opening up the lot improves visibility and allows the homeowner to enjoy their property.
Kevin has been interested in the approach for some time and is still exploring ways to make it cost effective. It likely would be more economically feasible if he could contract for several lots at a time and work out some type of exchange, trading timber removed from lots for the cost of the mulching service. “That’s what I’m looking to do,” he said.
Darlene noted that mulching is a safe, cost-effective alternative to removing stumps from a site. A Fecon forestry mulcher can process the tree or stump into mulch down to ground level, eliminating the need to remove stumps.
Stump removal requires costly equipment and operations to extract them from the ground. Then they must be transported to a landfill for disposal or processed by grinding. Burning is becoming less of an alternative because of increasing regulations, they noted.
Mulching eliminates the added costs of removing the stumps, handling them, grinding them and the associated transportation costs. The Fecon mulchers discharge the mulch down onto the ground, and it can be left in place.
“With the rising cost of stump disposal and the ‘green’ concerns of burning, mulching is the economical alternative,” said Darlene.
Stump removal operations also disturb the ground. By contrast, mulching does not disturb the root mat or the soil.
“Our operations do not disturb the root mat or get into the dirt, which eliminates the need for obtaining soil disturbance permits on most all jobs,” said a contractor in the Southeast whose company operates four pieces of Fecon equipment and anticipates investing in more. “Also, the mulch acts as natural erosion control.”
His company specializes in clearing land for new utility rights-of-way and removing vegetation from existing utility rights-of-way. He uses the Fecon equipment mainly for removing vegetation that has grown up on existing rights-of way.
Erosion control is an important issue for builders and developers and is an added cost to their projects, noted Lewis Keller, a sales representative for Taylor Atlantic. The cost per acre to remove vegetation would be reduced by at least 50% when mulching compared to traditional methods, he estimated, because it eliminates the need for erecting silt fencing and obtaining erosion control permits.
Antwan Sutherlin is a Richmond contractor whose company, Tigi Inc., provides land-clearing services to developers and home builders. He provided the services to Kevin for the lot that was featured in the demo, subcontracting with a logger and another business, Woodland Renovations, that provides mulching services.
Antwan, who has been in business for 10 years and began offering mulching services in 2009, said that forestry mulching equipment can clear a building lot for a much lower cost than traditional methods. It does not disturb the ground and leaves the mulch in place, which eventually replenishes the soil.
“I think it’ll always be beneficial to a homeowner or developer who wants to clear a building site,” he said.
Antwan has found real estate brokers and their clients receptive to the approach and since the demo was partnering with Woodland Renovations on three more projects.
The Southeastern contractor mentioned above looked at and tried a number of different types of equipment for shredding and mulching standing trees and vegetation. Fecon proved itself to him. “It just did a better job than the rest of them I tried out,” he said. “We like to stick with what works.”
“We liked the performance, the end product it produced, the low maintenance of the head, the long lasting teeth and the price,” he added. “We have had some teeth that we have put over 1,000 hours on before replacing. We usually just replace a few teeth at a time if some break.”
His company is equipped with a skidsteer mounted with a Fecon mulcher, a multi-terrain loader mounted with a Fecon mulcher, and a Fecon FTX140 and Fecon FTX148-L.
The Fecon mulchers are used primarily for maintaining existing right-of-way. On these types of jobs, the vegetation growth usually is six years or less.
“When we use the Fecon machinery, we are typically reclaiming existing right-of-way and deal with brush and small trees,” he explained. “Most of those rights-of-way have grown up to where a bush hog can no longer get through, and the Fecon does a really nice job converting the mass to mulch with no stumps above the surface. It makes it very easy to ride the right-of-way with pneumatic tires.”
The Fecon FTX machines have been deployed recently in mountainous areas and have performed extremely well in the rugged terrain, he indicated. “Those Fecons are climbing in places where I haven’t seen anything else able to climb,” he said.
Do you want reprints or a copyright license for this article? Click here
Research and connect with suppliers mentioned in this article using our FREE ZIP Online service.