John Deere Forestry Timeline
From the horse to the skidder, the skidder to the Full Tree team, to the advent of Cut to Length – logging equipment has come a long way. For John Deere, the tradition of logging equipment has been a constant mandate of improving productivity and uptime while keeping operating costs low.
Before mechanization in the forest, loggers used sharp axes and brute strength to fell trees, and loaded them on horse-drawn sleds to be hauled to the river. Skilled river drivers maneuvered the logs downstream at great risks to their limbs and lives.
Steam was the first form of mechanization to modernize the forests of North America. It came in the form of a small steam donkey. The donkey would consist of a steam boiler and a steam engine connected by a winch all mounted on a sled, called a donkey sled. The donkeys were moved by simply dragging themselves with the winch line. The process evolved rapidly, and the donkeys were used for both yarding and skidding.
Forest professionals were trying to find ways to mechanize logging already a decade ago, but the actual development of forest machines started only in the middle of the 1900s. More mechanized forest technologies were being developed in Europe – particularly Finland, where forestry remains a mainstay of the country to this day.
John Deere has been developing and producing forest machines from the start. The company's roots are in the 19th century and the production of forest machines was started before 1950.
Technology including advanced harvesting systems are getting more and more efficient, which not only means cost savings for the logger, but also better stewardship of the natural forest environment. John Deere is doing their part to help expand the future for loggers, and to keep productivity, uptime, and low daily operating costs a priority.