Third-generation family business the Padgett Group, has a long history in the forestry industry. We spoke to Ken Padgett whose father Andy Padgett had a great presence in the Australian forestry industry.
“Dad started in the forestry industry before I was born. He basically devoted his entire working life to the forestry industry and only retired at the age of 86”, Ken explains.
After a long career in forestry Andy Padgett received the Australia Medal for his contributions to the industry.
Ken reflects on his entry into the forestry industry “I started in the industry with my own log truck as an owner driver 43 years ago. The business has grown from that to include both logging and transport. I believe one of the reasons I’ve developed my business to the level I have is thanks to my dad and his name in the industry – it opened a lot of doors for me”.
Today Ken runs the business together with his sons Kenneth and Oliver. Around 90 people are now employed by the Padgett Group. About 75 of those are in Tasmania and 15 in Victoria.
“Most of our logging business is done in Victoria by our companies North East Wood and Ten Mile Developments. I am based in North East Victoria in Myrtleford and look after our Victorian operations. My sons run the business in Tasmania which is predominantly log haulage and also pine bark processing, woodchip cartage, sawdust and other waste products cartage, site prep operations and harvesting of hardwood plantations. The Tasmanian operations are based in Scottsdale in the north of the state”, Ken explains.
The Tasmanian truck fleet is quite substantial with modern and sophisticated trucks. The haulage business is very diverse and cart virtually every bit of waste out of the sawmill in Georgetown, we also transport Koppers Wood Products around the state.
The logging business specialises in steep country logging including cable logging and thinning operations. North East Wood operates 5 purpose-built Tigercat levelling machines. The first LH830C was purchased in 2016 and has grown to include an additional 4 Tigercat LH822D machines in the short time since then.
Around 18 months ago Ken purchased a Tigercat LH822D Harvester fitted with a Tigercat 575 Harvesting Head.
“Onetrak organised a demonstration of the Tigercat LH822D and 575 to allow us to compare the Tigercat head to other harvesting heads”, Ken explains.
The 575 is the first Tigercat head in the Padgett Group fleet.
“It had some great design features that caught my eye - especially the hose layout is a stand-out feature. I also liked the build quality and components such as the knives and wear quality. It was clear from the demo that it was a very well-built head”, Ken explains.
“The machine we bought has 3,000 hours on it now and we haven’t had to replace a single hose on the harvesting head. That is just outstanding and a testament to the hose layout. The head has been extremely reliable and I’d say the knives probably lasts twice as long as on other heads”, Ken adds.
The 575 (23”) is a heavy-duty harvesting head specifically designed to match the high-performance capabilities of Tigercat carriers. With independent knife arms, the 575 harvesting head excels in tough timber with large limbs and poor stem form.
“Most of the time the 575 is working on the cable, operating where we skid the logs to it and working out of a heap. We occasionally also do at-stump-harvesting with it. The 575 is perfect for the application we are working in and perfect for the timber size. It’s definitely on par with other heads of the same size”, Ken explains.
“I have a lot of faith and trust in the Tigercat brand which made the decision to buy the head easier. The Tigercat build quality is very impressive so I know what I can expect from Tigercat products”, Ken adds.
Ken continues “The aftersales support is good from Tigercat and Onetrak. However, when you buy reliable, high-quality equipment, aftersales becomes less important. The uptime of the LH822D and 575 has been exceptional so we haven’t had to lean on Tigercat or Onetrak for support”.
Ken considers the main contributing factors when purchasing machines “When deciding what equipment to purchase it’s all about the specific job requirements – the best piece of equipment suited to the application. Our job sites are steep and tough. I want the gear that is going to work all day, every day. The Tigercat equipment is up for the task”.
Ken continues to reflect on other important factors “Onetrak is a Tasmanian family business just like ours. I have had a long-term relationship with David Hazell and his family. I knew his grandfather Don Hazell and I know David’s father Robert Hazell. Shane Ricardo from Onetrak is also a great guy - great to deal with – we have a strong business relationship but also a personal friendship. The same goes for Tigercat. I have met Ken MacDonald from Tigercat several times and visited the factories. Ken MacDonald is terrific”.
“My dad was in forestry before me and built long-lasting relationships. These types of relationships are very important to me”, Ken concludes.
Onetrak is the national dealer for Tigercat providing a network of sales, service and spare parts support across Australia. Tigercat also employ three factory trained Product Support Representatives in Australia providing customers with additional technical support. To learn more about the Tigercat harvesting heads range or to arrange a demonstration please visit www.onetrak.com.au or contact your nearest Onetrak forestry representative.