Elmia title shot was worth it -
Michael Scott can safely say he has joined a select group of people ... people who have represented their country competitively against the best in the world. He did that during the recent world-acclaimed forestry and timber fair Elmia in Jonkoping.
He may not have come back with the mantel of winner, but he proved beyond doubt that Australian forestry workers can match it with the best of the best when it comes to handling machines when he missed out by just six second in the quarter final of the Forwarder World Cup.
However, it was not the end result that mattered to Michael, he was rapt that he had the chance to see Elmia in all its glory plus have a crack at testing his Forwarding skills against 18 operators from 11 countries around the world. Michael’s road to Elmia actually started way back in 2003 when he started work in the forestry industry. Fast forward to AUSTimber 2016 and he won the AUSTimber Forwarder Competition which paved the way for the Elmia trip.
“We travelled from Stockholm to Isaberg, about an hour south of Jonkoping. . The field location was huge; it was surrounded by 60 year old softwood plantations.
“A stunning environment, and a stunning location,” he said..
Michael said Elmia attracted huge visitor numbers and noted that ... “everyone we met in Sweden was extremely helpful and great to meet”.
He met Karl-Magnus Hembjer and his team from the SMF organisation.
“They are the Swedish equivalent of the AFCA . They were brilliant! Friendly, helpful and well organised. They were welcoming and I made contacts I have kept in touch with,” he said.
“When it came to competition time I had an explanation of the track with competitors by the judges. It wasn’t as technical as AUSTimber --- just speed rather than a technical course, and it was also interesting to see the differences in attitudes toward safety.”
Michael qualified 6th on the Thursday operating a Komatsu 865 Forwarder. The top 8 times qualified for the finals on the Friday.
“The language barrier was a bit difficult at times, particularity the programs in the Forwarder machines,” he said..
He lost quarter final by 6 seconds to Tobias Sletten operating a John Deere 1210E Forwarder .
Michael said that when it came to promoting wares the big players were in their element ... “John Deere and Komatsu had about a dozen machines, each on display with trailer mounted TV screens with promotional advertising”.
Michael said there was a phenomenal 948 display sites covering from silviculture to Haulage to harvesting to farm forestry to processing and suppliers to these industry’s.
“There were lots of interesting and innovative machines and displays, but unfortunately didn’t get time to have a good look around as time was limited.
“I did meet some great people and formed some good contacts, though.”
Michael said special thanks were due to Nigel Howard and Komatsu “for their support getting me there” and also Retreev for their support.
Born and bred in the Otways, Michael started work for Aus-Am Harvesting and worked there for five years breaking out, falling and operating machines on a steep slope cable operation within the Otways.
Following that he worked for Dean and Bree Venturoni at Retreev operating machines in thinning, clear fall and salvage operations within the Otways and North East.
“During 2016, I started ‘Scott Forestry’ doing site prep and earthmoving for Midway and AKD Plantations and continued subcontracting as an operator to Retreev, an employer and good friends,” he said.
“I enjoy hands on work, getting a job done well, the environment of the bush and the strong knowledge I have gained over the years.
“The ever-advancing technology and innovation has enabled logging and forestry to do things better and safer and I look forward to future opportunities in the forestry industry.
Michael is married and lives in Forrest (a small rural township in the Otway Ranges in Victoria).
“We have five children who I hope one day might like to come work alongside me,” he said.
So, from world titles it’s back to earning a quid and supporting a family and as Michael says ... “I’m hoping to build my working relationship with plantation companies in the future.”
■ Michael Scott