Madill 124B wing Yarder review

By: Lisa Potter

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Gisborne is the first place in the world to see the sun each day. And now the iconic NZ east coast location is also home to the world’s first 57-tonne Madill 124B wing Yarder, writes Lisa Potter.

Madill 124B wing Yarder review
New kid on the block: the mighty Madill 12.

About as heavy-duty as it gets in the forestry sphere, the fully interlocking swing yarder uses a system of cables to swing or fly logs from the stump to the skid site, where logs are then stripped and prepared for transport.

Freshly arrived from Canada, the Madill 124B is perched atop the steep terrain of an Aratu Forests site, with the closest town Tolaga Bay.

Just getting to the site presents a challenge in itself. Fortunately, Porter Equipment territory manager Roger Pedersen was behind the wheel; this is no terrain for the faint-hearted or inexperienced and I was more than happy to be riding shotgun.

Thanks to the mighty 60ft yarding boom, it’s not too difficult to find the new (but huge) kid on the block. The 124B is already hard at work, with enormous logs flying across a gully helped by the 450ft capable boom, boasting maximum pull of 8,500lbs at a top speed of 165ft/min.

Widely regarded as a game-changer for the industry as well as all the usual hardware a machine like this comes with, it’s the innovative
touchscreen-based operating system which is the real attention grabber.

It has garnered much interest from industry experts around the world. This is the first machine of its kind without analogue gauges and manual air systems.

Everything is worked via the brand spanking new electronic controls and touchscreen, which can be individually programmed and tailored to a specific operator.

All of this impressive capability is wrapped in a highly durable package – a key factor when considering the demanding pressure machinery this operates under.

IMG_2424.jpgAaron Wallis with the latest addition to the fleet.


Owner of this significant piece of kit is Ray Flavell of Flavell Logging. A long-time leader within the industry, Ray is no stranger to adapting to changing innovations and technology.

He’s always keen to remain at the forefront of the logging industry when it comes to new methods and machines.

With some familiarity with the Madill brand (having already invested in a Madill 123, which is being refurbished now that its big brother has arrived),

Ray was intrigued at the level of technology the new model promised, so earlier this year took a trip to Canada to personally view the 124B being built. Madill is distributed and supported by Porter Equipment – who have a long history with Ray
and have supplied him a significant inventory of forestry machinery, including more than 25 Hyundai excavators over the years.

The 124B is Ray’s third Madill swing yarder and added to it featuring the latest innovations, comes the satisfaction of being the first in the world to try the new machine and a sense of pride in bringing it to New Zealand. It was the
technology that first attracted Ray to the Madill 124B.

"Even though I’m an old-school operator in many ways, I’m also always trying to keep up with and move with the times, otherwise, you get left behind. Everything is going the way of an increased reliance on computerisation."

fdUntitled-1.jpgThe unit powered by a Volvo TAD1373VE 13-litre (Tier 3) engine.


With 53 years’ experience in the logging business, Flavell Logging has come a long way since the early days when Ray started off with just a small tractor and the support of his wife.

"We just slowly worked away, slowly built our reputation, proved ourselves, and grew the business," he says.

Ray’s three daughters have all had some involvement over the years also, including doing payroll and accounts. It’s fair to say that forestry runs in Ray’s blood; his dad was in the game as well as his two brothers.

"They are all loggers, so I grew up in it and didn’t have a lot of choices really," he says. "It’s a hard industry, with a lot of lows and highs, and you’ve really got to be prepared to ride out the low patches and there are plenty of them. Despite the challenges, I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed my life in forestry; it’s given me a good lifestyle and it’s good, honest hard work."

Having clocked up plenty of hours in the Madill 123, much about the upgraded 124B machine is familiar, with the touchscreen system a new learning experience.


Technology aside, another significant change from earlier Madill models sees this unit powered by a Volvo TAD1373VE 13-litre (Tier 3) engine, mated to an Allison 4500 OFS fully automatic operation transmission with auto lock-up torque

Cranking out 468hp at 1,900rpm, there are five forward speeds and one reverse speed. The undercarriage is set on 11 track rollers and 52 track shoes (711mm wide) per side, and a fully hydraulic deck opens up flat for easy walk around
access to the engine.

Featuring Madill’s own regenerative winch design with waterfall drum arrangement consisting of independent main drums offering up equal reversing, operator Aaron Wallis is a particular fan of the small details such as impressive rear and front
cameras, as well as the more obvious attributes.

"It’s a really well-thought-out machine and I’m looking forward to getting up to 100 per cent in terms of being able to utilise all of the technology it’s equipped with," he says.

He’s also keen on safety features such as the forward sloped design of the cab for improved outward vision (15-foot eye level) and the heavyduty
ROPS/FOPS grille protection.

sUntitled-1.jpgAaron Wallis in the cab.

The rear entry cab is climate controlled and Aaron says the hand and touch screen controls have been well thought out.

All the manual valves for things such as travel, swing, boom hoist, and guidelines are now electronic, and there’s a gear pump with valves for pilot controls and pull clutches.

Joystick buttons are programmable and thanks to the large touchscreen, engine, transmission, and winch information can be easily viewed.

Remote camera technology allows the operator to keep a constant eye on the cable over the drop-off, offering a good view of what’s happening between the machine and the opposite slope.

Other new features include a line counter, automatic cooling fan control, updated air controls, winch spooling function, electronic swing controls, alarm monitoring, and more.

A tilt sensor and slew ring sensor are also installed for future expansion plans, which can be set in place once the Madill factory engineers can visit New Zealand after COVID- 19 travel restrictions are lifted.

"We’ll be able to further improve both capacity and fuel economy," says Ray, "but even now, I already think I can say it has lived up to all of my expectations and is pulling some big numbers. I’m confident it’s a machine that will be around
and proving its worth for a long, long time."

Subscribe to our newsletter

Sign up to receive the Trade Earthmovers e-newsletter, digital magazine and other offers we choose to share with you straight to your inbox

You can also follow our updates by liking us on Facebook


Loaders For Hire | Dozers For Hire | Excavators For Hire | Forklifts For Hire | Machinery Attachments For Hire