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Cat Forestry Machine at Work in Kansas

12/16/2015 12:00:00

Cat Feller Bunchers are normally seen in the forests of North Carolina, Oregon or other areas serving the logging industry. To have one travel across Kansas on a semi-flatbed would be an oddity. To actually have one land and operate in Foley’s territory qualifies as an event!

A Cat 522B Feller Buncher was recently delivered to Quality Timber Products of Rose Hill, Kansas. The feller buncher gets its name from the two primary actions it performs. Cutting a tree is called felling. Bunching simply refers to the act of stacking the felled trees for easy removal.

So, what’s this machine doing in Kansas? The short answer is that this machine is the perfect solution to a huge problem.

Red Cedar Invasion

Red cedars are over-running the Kansas prairie used for cattle grazing. Cedars rob the soil of moisture and nutrients and are reproducing at an alarming rate. Left unchecked, cedars will overrun income-generating property.

Proper land management practices demand a response and the simplest, most effective approach is to simply cut the trees down and remove them from the site.

Foley Equipment has hosted a number of invasive tree field day events around Kansas over the last several years at which Kansas Forestry Service and K-State Extension experts have discussed the origin and extent of the problem and treatment programs with land owners. Foley demonstrates tree removal equipment that include skid steers with various saws, shears and mulching attachments.

Quality Timber Products has been using these sorts of solutions for 10 years but was looking for a solution that would deliver a higher production capacity. Enter the Cat 522B.

The Feller Buncher was delivered to a land owner’s property near Sun City, Kansas early in October. This specialized machine requires orientation prior to turning an operator loose so Cat Forestry Products trainer Jerry Norris was on hand from North Carolina to demonstrate the machine operation and train Quality Timber’s owner and president, Paul Stearns and his machine operator.

“I’ve been watching Jerry run the machine for about 20 minutes. In that time, I estimate he’s done an hour’s worth of work using our previous solution. This is exactly the kind of increased production capacity I’ve been looking for,” said Stearns.

Check out some video of this remarkable machine in action: Cat 522B Feller Buncher


The Cat 522B Feller Buncher being prepped for delivery at Foley Equipment.

Paul Stearns, president, Quality Timber Products.

The Feller Buncher at rest beside a pile of harvested cedars.  The cab/engine housing is hydraulically articulated
independent of the track drive so that the machine can operate on slopes with the cab level.

The Feller Buncher at work. The operator positions the machine within working distance of a stand of trees. The
boom and stick move the spinning cutting deck into the base of the tree. As the tree is cut, (felled) hydraulic “fingers”
above the cutting deck grab the tree. Once the tree is cut all the way through, the operator can lift and rotate it into a
horizontal position, rotate the cab and stack the trees in a pile (bunching).

Jerry Norris, Cat Forestry, talks with Quality Timber’s machine operator, as part of the machine orientation and training.

The carbide teeth on the cutter are about 1.5” square and mounted to a 1,040 lb. flywheel that is constantly rotating at about 1,000 rpm.

The end result, QTP will haul the material off to a shredding site and sell it wholesale it by the truckload.