During the last 18 years Jan Tore Gravdal from Førde i Norway has been expanding his company Gravdal Skog & Hageservice AS into what is now a solid company with more than 20 employees. In September he got his seventh Valtra – the first S Series in the county of Sogn and Fjordane. With it’s 400 HP it chops chips along the steep roads in Western Norway.
“The new Valtra S394 tractor will, among other things, be used to clear trees along the roads with a big chipper and crane. The chipper needed minimum 350 HP, and since the price different was not that great, we chose the top model”, says Jan Tore Gravdal.
The enterprising 43 year old started clearing trees in local gardens before he was 25. Today Gravdal Skog & Hageservice AS has 22 permanent employees and hires extra help when needed. Gravdal has hired Kai Henning Haarklau as general manager, while he himself takes care of planning and pricing.
“Earlier I spent more time in the field, now I mostly organize and plan. But it's fun to have grown so much in 18 years.”
The first Valtra tractor was purchased in 2006, and 13 years later Gravdal has invested in the largest available model. Among other things the tractor has an AGCO Power engine with 405 HP, AVT gearbox, GPS, TwinTrac, extra weights on the back wheels and SmartTouch armrest.
– Valtras are very good and there are few problems with them. It's that simple. When it comes to equipment, GPS is important when you get jobs for the Directorate of Public Roads. They require that the driving is documented. TwinTrac is also great to have when you work in the forest. We have it on all the tractors except the two smallest ones.
All the tractors in addition to the new S394, a Valtra T214, Valtra N133, Valtra T190, Valtra A83, and an old Valmet 455.
“The old Valmet is very good, especially knowing how old it is. Simply unbelievable quality.”
Service is important
Gravdal Skog & Hageservice has small and large customers, clearing trees along roads, power lines, clearing snow, working in gardens and a number of other areas. It’s always important that the work can be completed.
“Maskinsenteret Førde has been a good support. They have always provided top service. If we have a problem, they quickly help us, and when we have needed to borrow the same type of tractor, they have provided one so we can complete the work for our customers.” Jan Tore Gravdal underlines that it gives them great security.