Since its founding in 1978, J. McCoy Lumber Company Ltd has focused on sustainably managing the forests where it cuts timber. The company selectively harvests timber to ensure the long-term growth of the forest while serving customers in furniture, cabinet and millwork manufacturing. The company also produces custom pallets and crates.
In 2019, McCoy Lumber purchased a Komatsu Forest 931XC Harvester and a Komatsu 875 Forwarder that will enable the company to be even more selective in the cutting process and help it sustainably manage timberland.
“The 931XC harvester enables them to utilize more of the tree for specific uses,” said Jesse Garber, Columbus Equipment Company Environmental Division sales rep. “This machine will take a whole bunch of pieces out of the tree from the big trunk to small pieces at the top, depending on what they need.”
Additionally, the 931 and the 875 are the best machines for low-impact harvesting because they don’t disturb the soil, Garber said.
Previously, the company harvested in a conventional fashion with skidders, loaders and men on the ground cutting trees. The Komatsu equipment offers several advantages over conventional methods, including versatility and safety, because there’s no need for workers on the ground. The machines also give the company the ability to be very selective in what trees are cut, said Chad McCoy, vice president. “We can be really selective as far as the maturity of the timber.”
With these machines, the company can also go into a forest and remove invasive species, which results in a healthier forest for the landowner and a better environment for wildlife.
“Converting to the Komatsu equipment allowed us to eliminate three pieces of equipment,” added McCoy, who was surprised at how much the 931 and 875 increased production. “And our production actually almost doubled,” he said.
The unique design of the 931XC, with the crane in the center of the machine, makes the harvester highly maneuverable. The cab rotates 360 degrees, so the operator has a much larger work area without moving the machine. And the three pump hydraulic system is faster and allows the operator to perform multiple functions at once.
Leonard Swango, who operates the 931 for McCoy Lumber, has been impressed with how the machine operates on steep terrain. “It’s pretty stable and it has good visibility,” he said. He also likes the keyless remote control that lets him turn on the heater and warm the cab before he starts work on cold mornings.
McCoy Lumber looked at a variety of equipment before settling on the Komatsu 931 and 875. In addition to liking the equipment, the company liked dealing with the Columbus Equipment Environmental Division, McCoy said. “I think what sold it more than anything was Garrett Bailey and Jesse Garber. They were really easy to deal with and concerned about our needs.”
Follow-up service has been excellent, he added. “We’ve had minimal problems with the equipment, but any time we give Columbus Equipment a call, they’re always here the next day or just a phone call away. They can actually explain things. When you have new equipment, it’s always nice to have somebody there to explain things and what the problem is.”
Jack McCoy, founder and president of J. McCoy Lumber, realized sustainability was important by looking at companies that have been successful for generations. He realized owning and controlling the supply line—or in his case, the trees—was essential. “We’re in a global market with lots of competition, and being vertically integrated, and controlling the supply and being sustainable had to be the ultimate goal,” he said.
Staying in balance—not over manufacturing for your supply line—is also a critical element in McCoy’s philosophy. The company owns about 10,000 acres, which produces 24,000 feet a day, while its sawmills manufacture right around 24,000 feet a day. The company is different from most sawmills because it works as a partner with its customers to provide exactly the wood they need. “We work from the customer back. We see what their need is and go all the way back to the stump to get that product for them,” Jack McCoy said.
“The Komatsu machines will add a lot of value to the timber base. We have to be efficient in the harvest and look to the long term for the sustainability and growth.,” he added. “For a company of our size, the Komatsu equipment was a large purchase. But we are looking to reap rewards for the short-term and long term from the equipment. We’re planning for the generations to come.”