Forestry Journal:

This piece is an extract from our A View from the Forest (previously Forestry Features) newsletter, which is emailed out at 4PM every Wednesday with a round-up of the week's top stories. 

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THE first thing I remember noticing about Komatsu's new eight-wheeled harvester is just how enormous it is. The second was just how powerful, yet agile, the 951XC promised to be. 

Launched last year to much fanfare, the behemoth has finally arrived on the UK's shores, garnering plenty of attention for its uncompromising focus on clearfell forestry. It's exactly that which the country's first 951XC will be doing for its new owners and long-time Komatsu customers, Elliot Henderson.

“We have heard lots of good things about the 951XC and the C164 head and are very much looking forward to putting it through its paces,” director Gavin Henderson told May's edition of Forestry Journal. “Being pleased with the performance of the 931XC , when Komatsu gave us the chance of the first 951XC it was a no-brainer. With more power, lower ground pressure and a bigger harvesting head, we jumped at the chance.”

Forestry Journal: The first Komatsu 951XC has arrived in the UK.

Hailed as the ‘final piece’ in Komatsu’s harvesting solution, the harvester – shown off for the first time at 2023’s Swedish Forestry Expo – is said to be ideal for working in denser stands. More compact than its predecessors, such as the 951, it has lower ground pressure, too, so is gentler on the environment, yet suitable for large timber harvesting and final use in demanding terrain. Elliot Henderson’s machine will be used in clearfell sites across the south of Scotland and the north of England. 

At a time when many manufacturers are toying with lower impact harvesters and forwarders (or, at the very least, middle of the range products), it's notable just how keen the 'big boys' are on maintaining their grip on the larger end of the market. Whether it's Komatsu with the 931XC, Ponsse's Scorpion Giant, or John Deere's newly-unveiled H Series,  it appears that clearfell forestry, in some shape or form, isn't going away anytime soon. 

Forestry Journal: The 1270H boasts a more powerful crane than its G Series counterpart.

For some, that will be exciting. For others, troublesome. But it continues to show just how diverse an industry this is. 

And at least we can almost all agree on one thing - everyone loves shiny new machinery, whether it's big or small.