A strong belief in grapple loaders in Eastern Finland

23.09.2016 Tractor forest equipment

Jouko Makkonen, who is living in Eastern Finland, in Savonranta, is now using his fifth KESLA tractor loader – and to be specific a grapple loader - which he finds as an unbeatable solution for farms. The newest loader was purchased in 2015 as the previous KESLA 204 loader was changed over to Makkonen’s son who continued the farming as Makkonen retired. First he thought that he would loan the loader when there is need, but as the loader was always busy in farm work, he decided to purchase one of his own. With the purchase he also happened to get one of his brainchildren, bale claws that can be attached to a grapple, converted to a tangible product.

Jouko Makkonen has been living in the same Lapinaho farm in Savonranta, Eastern Finland, all his life. During his period of farming, the size of the estate increased from 70 to 200 hectars, formed by both arable and forest land. Two years ago Makkonen decided to retire from farming and the farm was transfered to the new generation, Makkonen’s son. The transfer deal included also the farm loader KESLA 204 meaning that Makkonen could only loan the loader here and then for his so called hobbies, forestry and log building. Need for loader seemed to be almost constant, so Makkonen decided to purchase his own loader. As a result, there is now a Valtra tractor with a KESLA 304 loader with proG25 grapple and electrohydraulic control standing proudly on Makkonen’s yard.

- I have had five Keslas – or PATUs as they used to be called earlier. The first, I think it was PATU 1800. After that there were PATU 500 series models, tells Makkonen, who has a strong belief in grapple loaders as a farm machine. – I think that a grapple loader is much more handy on a farm than a front loader. It can be used in so many different ways compared to the front loader.

The new loader of Makkonen is equipped with electro-hydraulic prepilot. The loader is controlled by joysticks. Makkonen finds the control system pleasant.

- I am very satisfied with the loader and its control. Joysticks are easy to use even when wrists suffer from stiffness.

One of the multiple uses of grapple loader is moving round bales

Makkonen is very strongly behind grapple loaders – meaning loader and grapple combination - because of its versatility. When Makkonen purchased his newest loader, he happened to mention his old invention, the bale claws for a grapple, to Kesla people.

- When I was farming, I noticed, that birds liked to peck the plastic covered bales that were on the field. Moving the bales to the side of the forest one by one felt like a too big job. But then, with bale claws attached to the grapple, it was quick to lift bales onto the trailer and transport them to the forest side of even further, Makkonen describes backgrounds for his investion. – Of course, lifting a bale requires good lifting capacity from the loader as one bale can weigh over 1000 kg.

The bale claws invented by Makkonen are now being produced by Kesla and they are available as an accessory for proG25 and 26 grapples.

Hobbies for retirement days: log building and sawing

Wood and forest are still present in Makkonen’s life even during his retirement days. The man has purchased a huge saw, that saws even the biggest tree trunks. Makkonen has also done some pioneer work in vertical log building. They say that a rolling stone gathers no moss and this metaphora can well be understood when listening at stories of Makkonen. We will stay tuned to hear, what he will come up with next.

Jouko Makkonen with his loader and the new bale claws.