Equipment focus: Tas Eco Mulching’s New Holland C238
Tas Eco Mulching is protecting the native Tasmanian forest ecosystem by removing and mulching noxious weeds, and its latest weapon is a New Holland C238 compact track loader.
Michael Pennell, operations manager of the Spreyton-based company, says the machine has proven itself in rough conditions over the past three months.
"We fitted our C238 compact track loader with a couple of attachments like the Digga Rotary Axe and the Digga Magna Mulcher — both designed to quickly cut through and mulch weeds such as the Broom [Cytisus scoparius] and Gorse [Ulex europaeu] — non-native brush-like plants that are threatening to take over the Tasmanian countryside," Pennell says.
"We use our the C238 compact track loader to cut and mulch these noxious plants as well as for cutting fire breaks through the undergrowth — these are very hard but crucial jobs that need a machine that can handle the tough conditions.
"It really is a magic piece of equipment. Honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a better designed machine," Pennell says, adding that its standout features are its power, hydraulics, and roomy and comfortable cabin.
In terms of operating specifications, the loader’s engine is rated at 63kW providing an operating capacity of 14,723kg, with a bucket breakout force of 38.2kN.
New Holland says the optional Glide Ride feature on the C238 ensures a smooth ride over the roughest terrain; a fact that Pennell says is augmented by the design of the machine’s undercarriage.
"The C238 compact track loader has a full belly plate giving it the same ground clearance all the way through which is really important down here with the thick scrub and vegetation that we have to cut through," he says. "Its high ground clearance is a huge benefit for us.
"On top of that, all the hydraulics are placed well above ground level, which means we don’t have to worry about pulling out a hose when we are working here in the bush."
The undercarriage components also include permanently lubed idlers and rollers, and a strong, steel-belted rubber track. With fewer moving parts than a suspension track system, maintenance costs can be significantly reduced.
"As for safety," Pennell says, "its wider track base and tilts out front enables us to work on steep and uneven ground without any worries."
"D & L Morrison has been super supportive — especially recently when we had a field day here with the likes of the Tasmanian Department of Forestry and Agriculture officials all coming out to have a look at what we do," he says.
"Graeme Viney from D & L Morrison drove two hours down here to run the machine for me which gave me the opportunity to talk to all the government officials and show them our work — you don’t get service like that from anyone else, as far as I know."
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