IN THE FOREST - MD Holz GmbH
IN THE FOREST 1-2020
"Just because I love my job"
Today, we are visiting MD Holz, the German branch of Meulendijks Rondhout
A loyal customer of John Deere since day one,the company once again ordered a few more machines from Hencon Forestry this year. We sit down with owner, Antoon Meulendijks, and with the managing director for Germany,Christian Barth. Over coffee and fresh apple turnovers, the two of them talk enthusiastically about how it all began. “The collaboration started a long time ago. We have tried other brands but chose Timberjack/ John Deere. We haven’t used any other brand of harvester or forwarder ever since.” “The first model we used was the Timberjack 870; it was a robust machine that helped us carry out our first contracts for Staatsbosbeheer, the Dutch government organization responsible for forestry management.” Meulendijks Rondhout BV currently has seven harvesters (five of which are continuously in operation) and five forwarders. “This year, we harvested a record volume,” Antoon Meulendijks points out proudly. “170% comparedwith a normal year. We’ve also got our loyal and experienced machine operators to thank for that.” That steers the conversation to two remarkable operators working for Meulendijks: Wim Box and HarryStrijbos, both 70 years old and both still working away with their John Deere machines. We head to the forest to seek out these two gentlemen. Because, quite naturally, that’s where they’ll be. Our first stop takes us deep into a misty, drizzly forest where we find Wim Box who is celebrating 25 years working for MD Holz this year. Full of enthusiasm, he talks about his time at Meulendijks, the various machines he has had and how much he enjoys being able to try out all the latest applications, such as IBC and TimberMatic Maps. “It’s not the most beautiful terrain to work on,” he says, pointing towards the flat area of forest. “But you can’t make it too steep for me, that’s how I like it. None of these youngsters could cope with that.” When asked how long he intends to keep on working, Wim replies with a twinkle in his eye: “This new machine certainly isn’t my last. But now it’s time for me to get back to work.” And with that, he cheerfully climbs back into his John Deere harvester to put in a good few more hours. We continue on our way and end up on a path, ankle-deep in mud, where we meet Harry Strijbos. Here, we find another seasoned forest machine operator who is still operating machines because of his passion for the job. “When I see old people in the village who don’t do anything anymore, I just can’t imagine living like that.” That’s Harry’s response when we ask him why he’s still working in the forest. “It’s just great doing this work and, at the moment, they couldn’t do it without me. The new generation needs to get a feel for it first.” Harry also started out with the Timberjack 810/1410 and is currently operating a new John Deere 1510G. Although he looks back wistfully at the time he spent in the Timberjack 1410D, he marvels at the modern machines. Complete with all their new equipment, they certainly make his life easier. “It also enables me to continue working.” It’s been great talking with these two men: forest machine operators through and through who don’t let age stand in their way and who continue doing what they like best: working in the forest.