Valtra and Kesla are an ideal pairing for forest tasks. Customers have used Valtra-Kesla combinations for years, of course, but now the two companies are also teaming up in product development and the sales network. For example, in Finland and some other markets Valtra and Kesla products can be purchased from the same dealer. The Unlimited Studio at the Valtra factory in Suolahti has also specialised in fitting Kesla forest equipment.
Forest contractors Kyösti Tiainen and Heikki Pulkkinen from Punkaharju in Finland have used Valtra tractors with Kesla forest equipment for recovering timber from forests for decades. It seems that they have not even considered other combinations tractors, loaders or trailers. The only real competitor would be a specialised forest machine, but tractors always come out on top in terms of purchase and operating costs, as well as versatility.
“I have used a Valtra M120 tractor, Kesla MD12 trailer and Foresteri 400 loader since 2004 for over 21,000 hours altogether, or around 2000 hours a year. In a single day I can collect around 70 to 80 cubic metres of first cuttings, 100 cubic metres of second cuttings and 250 cubic metres of final cuttings. Of course, the amounts vary according to distances and terrain, but they are good averages. Even a big forest machine could not achieve much higher figures,” Kyösti tells us.
Kyösti and Heikki transport everything from small pulp wood to heavy sawmill timber, short logs, long logs and base logs of varying diameters. They have even transported 20 metre long trunks, for which Kyösti has a special attachment for his trailer.
“Transporting tall trees can be a real challenge due to their size. But we’ve never had to leave timber behind in the forest because we couldn’t handle it,” Kyösti adds.
Both Valtra tractors are equipped with a reverse-drive system, forest mudguards and forest tyres. They usually also use tyre chains, except when conditions are easy in summertime. Kyösti’s tractor pulls a loader with a JAKE mounting kit, while Heikki’s loader is mounted on the trailer’s frame. Kyösti uses a front pump for more hydraulic power, while Heikki has auxiliary hydraulics on the trailer.
“It’s a case of preference, really.
If you have to transport soil or handle fodder once in a while, then it’s good to have the loader attached to the tractor. All of the hydraulic movements can be preset using the IQAN electronic control system,” says Heikki.
From farming to forestry
Both Kyösti and Heikki were raised on farms and have been farming since they were young. Keeping dairy cattle would have required major investments in the 1980s, so the men decided to switch to forestry.
“In 1988 we got rid of the cattle and began buying forests instead of fields. Initially I did a lot of forestry work by hand, but these days I mostly transport timber with my tractor.
I work about half the year in my own forests and the other half as a contractor. In my own forests about half my work involves transporting wood and the other half is manual labour, such as planting trees and pulling out shoots,” Heikki explains.
Heikki’s equipment now includes a Valtra N123 tractor, a 12-tonne Kesla MDH trailer and a 316T loader with a reach of 8.8 metres.
This combination gets used around a thousand hours a year. Heikki also has experience with a Valtra 6850 tractor and many older Kesla models.
“My Valtra consumes just 4.5 litres of fuel an hour – half as much as a forest machine would. On the road the tractor would use more diesel, but for longer distances we usually use another contractor’s truck. Our AdBlue consumption is very low when working in the forest – after 450 hours we still have 20 percent in the AdBlue tank,” Heikki adds.
Punkaharju is in the heart of Lakeland Finland, where there is as much water as land for hundreds of square kilometres. Working on the islands is one of the unique things about working in this beautiful region.
“Some islands have bridges, while the bigger islands may even have a cable ferry service. If there is no other way of getting to them, then we simply drive across the ice in wintertime or use a ferry in summertime,” Kyösti Tiainen says.
Both men consider the reverse-drive system indispensable for forestry work. The loaders can be controlled using joysticks on the specially designed armrests.
“I don’t think I even know how to drive my Valtra forwards! In the forest I always drive in reverse. The wheels on the trailer also steer, and it has hydraulic drive, so I can get everywhere I need to,” says Heikki.