Kwagga visits the Husky team

Husqvarna, a leading manufacturer of outdoor power products, continued its proud tradition of participation in Grain SA’s annual NAMPO agricultural exhibition in 2024. The event was held at Bothaville in the Free State, and provided the perfect opportunity for the company to engage directly with the farmers and landowners whose daily operations rely heavily on their products.

"NAMPO is a significant annual event for the agricultural sector and one that we never miss,” said Tim Isabirye, Marketing Manager for Husqvarna South Africa. “We have the privilege of meeting incredible people with extraordinary stories who use our products to improve productivity and maximise crop yields. For example, last year, we met Rahill Sodha, a 10-year-old budding farmer who visited our stand to buy his first brushcutter, and whose passion for farming at such a young age was an absolute inspiration.”

The theme for Husqvarna’s stand at NAMPO 2024 was: ‘Ons is aan jou kant’ – ‘We are by your side’, which underscores the company’s commitment to supporting farmers on their journey to success.
Husqvarna showcased their range of outdoor power tools tailored for small-scale farmers: from ergonomic tillers and sprayers to powerful generators, brushcutters and chainsaws.

A surprise visitor to the stand was Springbok rugby legend, Kwagga Smith, who credits his farming background for developing the mental and physical toughness he needs to perform at the highest level on the rugby field. Visitors were able to meet and greet Kwagga, who found time to pose for photo opportunities and sign a few rugby balls for fans.

For more information, visit www.husqvarna.com/za

Big boost for the bakkie-sakkie

Compact and powerful … the new bakkie sakkie is a result of collaboration between Anco Manufacturing and Husqvarna.

Every land manager knows that early detection and rapid response is the best method for keeping your property safe from wildfires. Often the first person to arrive at a wildfire is a forester or farmer with a ‘bakkie sakkie’ which is able to get close enough to the fire to extinguish it before it gets big, dangerous and out of control.

Those precious few minutes provide a window of opportunity that can make the difference between a minor fire statistic and a major wildfire disaster. It’s at times like this that the forester/farmer wants to know that the bakkie sakkie on the back of his vehicle is armed and loaded and ready to deploy a jet of water with enough velocity to kill the fire quickly and efficiently.

Now two heavy-weight equipment suppliers - Husqvarna and ANCO Manufacturing - have collaborated in an exciting partnership to develop a highly effective, robust and reliable 'Bakkie Sakkie' mobile firefighting unit that is well adapted to combating veld and forest fires.

Ruan van Schalkwyk, Husqvarna's Area Business Manager for Limpopo and Mpumalanga, and the project's pointsman, explains: "The concept is simple yet remarkably ingenious. ANCO designed a water tank engineered to be mounted at the rear of a bakkie (pickup truck). Powered by a robust Husqvarna multi-purpose engine (MPE) and a high-capacity water pump, the result is a mobile firefighting unit that can be rapidly deployed to combat fires, even in the most remote and challenging terrains.”

The key component of this firefighting innovation is the Husqvarna HH 163 MP multi-purpose engine, known for its reliability and robustness. It features a powerful 163cc petrol engine that is durable, water, and rust-resistant, making it ideal for the 'Bakkie Sakkie' unit.

“This engine is built to withstand the harsh conditions often encountered during firefighting,” says Ruan.
One of the standout features of the HH 163 MP is its optimised combustion chamber and air vent, resulting in lower fuel consumption and reduced emissions during operation.

Casper Pieterse, the Operations Manager at ANCO Manufacturing, says that the decision to partner with Husqvarna was an easy one. “The idea for the collaboration originated with Husqvarna South Africa’s Managing Director, Pieter Smuts. When it was presented to us, we recognised the potential of their product powering the ‘Bakkie Sakkie’, offering farmers a game-changing, reliable solution to the very real and ongoing threat of veld fires.”

Anco Manufacturing is a proudly South African company that specialises in the manufacture of a variety of fire fighting units and equipment as well as silviculture equipment used in forestry, such as mechanised boom planters.

By combining the ‘Bakkie Sakkie’ with the HH 163 MP multi-purpose engine that fits snugly on the back of a bakkie, farmers and foresters can respond swiftly and effectively to fires, making all the difference in containing a blaze before it escalates.

“Husqvarna has an impressive reputation for reliability, and we are confident that by combining our manufacturing expertise with Husqvarna’s powerful MPE, we have a dependable resource that will deliver optimal performance when it’s needed most,” adds Casper.

The partnership between Husqvarna and ANCO Manufacturing has positioned both companies as innovators in firefighting technology. Their commitment to creating an effective product that will assist professionals, as well as farmers in their firefighting efforts, showcases their ongoing dedication to finding creative solutions that also maximise safety. The ‘Bakkie Sakkie’ represents a new standard in innovation and another step forward in ensuring that first responders have the tools they need to access and attack fires before they get away.

For more information on the HH 163 MP or to view Husqvarna’s range of products, visit https://www.husqvarna.com/za/

Bell, AFGRI, Husqvarna equipment round-up

The Dipperfox stump crusher in action.

A mid-range spare parts option from Bell with 1 000 hour warranty; a 61 stump/hour Dipperfox stump crusher from AFGRI Equipment; and specialised, super protective new chainsaw trousers from Husqvarna, proudly made in SA …

Bell introduces mid-range BETA Parts
Bell Equipment has launched Bell Equipment Trusted Alternative (BETA) Parts to give its customers a convenient and competitive alternative, endorsed by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), for their older Bell machines or when faced with budget constraints.

Bell Equipment Director of Aftermarket and Logistics, Aldo Mayer, explains: “BETA Parts has been designed to bridge the gap between new Bell Parts, being our premium quality parts designed to OEM specifications and used in production, and Bell ReMan, which are major components that have been remanufactured to meet OEM specification. New Bell Parts and Bell ReMan carry a one-year/unlimited hours warranty while BETA Parts has a six-month/1000-hour warranty.”

At the other end of the scale, Bell Used Parts are also available but do not carry a warranty.

BETA Parts was piloted with starter motors and alternators that were offered to a sample group of customers. They responded positively to the opportunity to be able to buy cheaper parts from Bell, and BETA Parts has now been officially launched and will be expanded to other parts and rolled out throughout South Africa, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, followed by the rest of the global dealer network.

“It’s all about giving our customers choices and being able to fully support their needs throughout their Bell ownership experience,” says Aldo.

“BETA Parts is the next best alternative to our premium new Bell Parts, our ‘alpha’ or leading parts brand, and we’re confident that our customers will benefit from being able to buy more cost-effective parts from Bell, especially since they are approved by Bell and carry less risk than other cheaper parts due to their Bell warranty cover.

“Choosing BETA Parts simplifies the purchasing process, offering a one-stop-shop experience that eliminates the need for customers to search and compare prices from multiple suppliers in their quest for savings."

Dipperfox stump crusher logs 61 stumps/hour
The AFGRI focus this month is on the Dipperfox SC600 stump crusher mounted on a Wacker Neuson RT75 excavator. It’s an efficient combination that foresters can use to eliminate stumps in a compartment that needs to be cleared and re-planted. Removing old stumps makes it easier for subsequent mechanised operations to function efficiently, and also improves compartment access for fire-fighting units in case of a wildfire.

The original equipment manufacturers rate the Dipperfox at 60 stumps per hour. The AFGRI team that recently tested the Dipperfox mounted on the Wacker Neuson RT75 in a Eucalyptus compartment, achieved 61 stumps in an hour.

This equipment is supplied and supported by AFGRI Equipment, which has recently established a new branch in Tzaneen servicing the forestry industry. Premium forestry equipment supplied and supported by AFGRI includes John Deere, Waratah heads and ProMac three-wheel loaders.

Wacker Neuson ET75 specs.
• 4 cylinder Yanmar diesel engine developing 35.9 kW
• Variable displacement hydraulic pump delivering 144 litre per minute
• Operating weight 6 800 – 7 300 kg (depending on final configuration)
Dipperfox SC600 stump crusher specs.
• Cutting diameter 600mm
• Hydraulic flow requirements 65 – 150 litres per minute
• Weight 285 kg
Carrier requirements:-
• Excavator size: 6 – 14 tons; Excavator engine power: 35 – 83 kW
• Backhoe loader size: 6 – 8.5 tons; Backhoe loader engine power: 50 – 80 kW
• Skid steer loader size: 2 – 6 tons; Skid steer loader engine power: 40 – 80 kW
• Compact tracked loader size: 2 – 6 tons; Compact tracked loader engine power: 40 – 80 kW

Husqvarna opts for SA-made Chainsaw Trousers for maximum protection
The Husqvarna South Africa team has introduced specialised safety pants for chainsaw operators that provide all round protection from chainsaw-related hazards. The trousers, which are made in South Africa to international standards, are also water resistant, flame retardant and acid repellent.

Studies reveal that just under half of all chainsaw-related injuries target the legs. This is why Husqvarna SA has introduced the chainsaw trousers as an essential addition to their arsenal of protective gear.
Pieter Smuts, Husqvarna South Africa's Managing Director says that the chainsaw pants were a ‘passion project’ for him, and they purposely chose to use local manufacturers. “South Africans are talented, resourceful, innovative and our new chainsaw pants epitomise our faith in the synergy between innovation and local ingenuity," he said.

The Husqvarna chainsaw pants are designed to achieve a perfect balance between providing protection and comfort. Certified Class 1 – 20M/S, they face chainsaw speeds of up to 20 meters per second. Meeting the ISO 11393-2 international standard, Husqvarna Chainsaw Pants assures an unmatched safeguard, catering to both homeowners and professionals in forestry, arboriculture, farming, and the realms of green space management. Tailored sizing, ranging from waist size 77 to 132, weaves a tapestry of custom fit, fusing flexibility and comfort into a seamless union.

Husqvarna Chainsaw Pants are available through certified Husqvarna dealers or can be purchased directly from the official Husqvarna eCommerce site.

Safe DIY tree felling


Winter and early spring are the perfect time for felling trees because all those bare branches make it easier to see what you're doing. But whether you are a seasoned professional or a homeowner, tree felling is a dangerous business that requires proper planning and the right working techniques to make sure it is done safely and effectively.

Charles Henderson, Husqvarna's Tree Professional Business Development Manager, knows a thing or two about this. “Winter is the tree-felling sweet spot. The lack of leaves makes it a breeze for arborists and loggers to assess a tree's health, spot any potential issues and pick the right ones to cut down,” he says. “Homeowners should also take advantage of this opportune time if they need to cut down any trees in their gardens.”

Remember though that the most important part of tree felling is safety first! Whether you're a pro or a first-time tree-feller, Henderson recommends following these six steps to complete the task with confidence.

  1. Start with a Plan
    Before commencing any tree-felling project, it's crucial to plan. Take a close look at the tree's surroundings and identify any potential obstacles that may interfere with the felling process. Consider factors such as the tree's size, shape and proximity to structures or power lines. This assessment will guide you in selecting the right tools and safety equipment needed for the job. For bigger trees, a chainsaw will always be the most efficient and effective tool and it makes post-felling work a lot easier too.
  2. Identify the Felling Direction
    Carefully study the tree and assess the direction in which it naturally leans. Additionally, take note of the wind direction, as this should align with the tree's natural lean to ensure a controlled fall. Clear the area around the tree and in the direction of the intended fall to create a safe working zone.
  3. Trim the Trunk
    Before making the felling cut, it's essential to prune the tree's trunk by removing any branches and twigs up to shoulder height. This will ensure that you have a clean and unobstructed cutting path to enhance the safety and precision of the tree's fall.
  4. Determine the Cutting Technique
    If you are using a chainsaw, the appropriate cutting technique depends on various factors, including the tree's size, slope and the size of your chainsaw bar. There are different cutting methods such as the notch and back cut technique or the plunge cut technique, each suited for specific scenarios. If you're unsure about the best approach, don’t chance it. Get advice from a professional.
  5. Inspect for Rot or Disease
    Inspect the tree's timber and lower part of the trunk for any signs of rot or disease. A weakened or decaying tree can behave unpredictably during felling, posing significant risks. If you detect any structural issues, reconsider felling the tree and consult an arborist for expert advice.
  6. Establish an Escape Route
    Before starting the final cut, make sure you have a clear and safe path of retreat. This path should be at a 45-degree angle away from the direction of the tree's fall. Having a designated escape route is crucial for maintaining your safety during the felling process.
    Henderson reiterates prioritising safety above everything else: “Even with careful planning and preparation, tree removal can be hazardous. If you feel uncertain or uncomfortable with the process, hire a professional with the necessary expertise and equipment.”
    He also emphasizes the need to plant one or two new trees for every tree felled. “This practice is essential for maintaining a balanced and thriving ecosystem. By planting new trees, we can offset the environmental impact of tree removal and ensure a sustainable future, keeping the cycle of tree planting and cutting in harmony.”

For more info visit https://www.husqvarna.com/za/

Respect your chainsaw – top 6 chainsaw safety tips

Chainsaw-related deaths are rare, but they do happen. Injuries, however, are a little more frequent and that’s why Mark Odell, Product Manager from Husqvarna South Africa, says that whether you are a seasoned professional saw operator or an occasional user, your chainsaw deserves your utmost respect.

He says that when used correctly, chainsaws are incredible tools that save time, effort and labour costs, particularly for landowners and forestry professionals.

“However, whilst Husqvarna has world-class safety features on all their chainsaws, it is important to remember that most chainsaw accidents are as a result of being hit by the felled tree or a branch, so operator safety training is as important as safe equipment. Operators must be fully educated on chainsaw safety before they even pick up the tool,” he adds.

Six safety tips that every operator needs to know:

  1. Avoid kickbacks by never using the kickback zone of the saw
    A kickback happens when the chain catches something solid and flicks the machine upwards, towards the operator, often resulting in nasty wounds to the face, neck or upper torso. The risk of kickback is simply too high when using the upper part of the nose of the guide bar, so it’s critical that you avoid using this part of the saw and only use the pulling zone of the chain (i.e. the underneath part of the saw).
  2. Make sure all safety features are working
    To achieve a safe working situation a modern chainsaw must be fitted with the following safety features:
    • kickback guard and chain brake
    • throttle back
    • chain catcher
    • right-hand guard
    • accessible stop control.
    Remember to regularly inspect these features and always make sure you have a sharp and properly filed chain. Husqvarna chainsaws have an additional safety feature in the form of the TrioBrake™ which is triggered if the hand holding the back handle touches a second guard.
  3. Guard against chain breaks
    If a chain is going to break, it will probably be whilst it is working. You need to make sure that the guard underneath the chainsaw, protecting your hand on the back handle, as well as the chain catcher, are both firmly in place. It is similarly placed underneath the chainsaw, as the chain goes into the sprocket.
  4. Adopt the correct grip and stance
    Sheer exhaustion or sometimes even the anticipation of the end of a shift can tempt operators into compromising their hold on the chainsaw and/or neglecting their posture. Most safety features rely on the correct handling of the machine so there can be no concession when it comes to firmly gripping the chainsaw with both hands, and wrapping thumbs and fingers around either side of the handles. Knees rather than backs should be bent and the machine held close to the body rather than with outstretched arms. And never use the machine above shoulder height.
  5. Be extra careful with the small stuff
    Most accidents happen when operators are clearing a path to the tree to be felled or when they are cutting branches off. In these situations, kickbacks are far more likely as the chain can inadvertently connect with branches and sticks that are not in the operator’s line of vision.
  6. Wear the right clothing

One of the most important lines of defence for chainsaw operators is personal protective equipment (PPE). Head to toe protection is critical so head protection, eye protection, hearing protection, gloves, chainsaw chaps or pants and safety shoes are non-negotiable. The right hearing protection is your top priority and while it should be sufficient to reduce the noise of the saw to acceptable levels, make sure you can still hear other people, trees cracking and other warning signals as this could save your life.

“Chainsaws are undeniably one of the best industrial inventions and are indispensable in several businesses and homes. We aim to equip Husqvarna customers with the best tools in terms of both efficiency and safety, so please contact your nearest agent who will happily assist by not only providing you with fit-for-purpose equipment - but training too,” concludes Mark.

For more information, go to: www.husqvarna.com/za



Husqvarna's new battery power tools for arborists

Husqvarna is set to give the forestry, garden and park management industry an exciting new choice in chainsaws with the release of two battery-powered options – the Husqvarna T540i XP® top-handle and Husqvarna 540i XP® rear-handle.

Used with the new Husqvarna BLi200X (T540i XP®) or Husqvarna BLi300 (540i XP®) batteries, the new chainsaws are a match for professional class petrol chainsaws, making them ideal for tree removals and smaller felling tasks.

With a completely redesigned and optimised system, they offer 30% more power compared to previous Husqvarna battery chainsaws, equalling the power of 40cc petrol chainsaws but with reduced emissions and vibrations.

The new top-handle T540i XP® offers superior cutting power for drop cuts of thick trunks and branches while being fast and nimble enough to take on smaller tasks. The 540i XP® rear-handle version has the same power and is a perfect all-round saw for any kind of groundwork.

The T540i XP® weighs 2.5 kg, without battery, chain oil and cutting equipment vs 2.9 kg for the 540i XP®.

Managing director of Husqvarna South Africa, Pieter Smuts, said: "We're confident these two chainsaws will set a new standard in South Africa and give arbour professionals the experience they've been waiting for in battery-powered chainsaws. With more power, greater manoeuvrability, superior ergonomics and a user-friendly interface you can get more done in a day with less effort."

Given that an arborist can work anywhere from ground level to 20 meters up and under all conditions, the saws are designed for versatility and easy handling. A newly-developed intuitive user interface allows for quick control, and balanced saw bodies provide the maneuverability needed for difficult cuts.

Benefits of battery
The T540i XP® and 540i XP® chainsaws start and stop at the press of a button and battery status is easily visible. A battery-powered chainsaw offers several benefits, including the absence of direct emissions, reduced noise and vibrations, reducing strain on the body. Depending on the charger, they can be recharged to 80% in around 30 minutes and to full power in under one hour.

To handle the rigorous demands of arborists, only premium light-weight materials and durable components were used in the manufacture of these saws. For example, the 540i XP features a magnesium crank case, clutch cover and bar mount as well as an aluminum front handle. Both chainsaws are weather resistant (according to IPX4 classification).

Both saws use Husqvarna's new SP21G X-cut chain, a semi-chisel 0.325" mini pixel chain with a 1.1mm gauge and low kick guard. The chain has been tailored specifically for the new battery chainsaws to cut quickly, smoothly and more efficiently. The chain produces less vibrations, has low kickback and is particularly good for a fast and easy bore cut.

"We're very excited to introduce these premium and durable battery-powered chainsaws to our market," said Pieter. “They're so easy to handle, easy to start and offer superior cutting power for even the most demanding tasks. As always our countrywide network of Husqvarna dealers is on hand to provide advice, assistance and spare parts as needed."

For more information, visit www.husqvarna.co.za

Taking sustainability beyond the balance sheet

Husqvarna SA Managing Director Pieter Smuts explains how their approach to sustainability goes way beyond the core business of supplying and supporting a range of land care equipment, and has become a way of life …

“When I returned to the forestry and garden division of Husqvarna three years ago, I faced a number of key business challenges. Back then, I decided that we were going to have to do things differently. You can’t simply continue as before and expect different results,” said Pieter Smuts, Husqvarna SA Managing Director.

“Some people have a perception that Husqvarna simply sells chain saws to cut down trees, ultimately damaging the environment. That is not true. We do a lot of work – globally and locally - to prevent that and to support sustainable businesses.

“In those earliest days when we were looking at how to take this forward, we used one of Husqvarna’s global studies entitled Urban Parks 2030 to help guide our decisions. This showed that our green spaces – gardens, parks and forests – were going to be more important than ever. The pandemic, lockdown and various health issues have taken this concept a step further, showing that green spaces are important for addressing issues like climate change, air and water quality and biodiversity as well as the mental and physical well-being of people.

“Respondents in that study noted that green spaces needed to be cared for differently and that those responsible needed to take a silent, non-invasive and sustainable approach. We have embraced this through our concept of Silent Nature™ and a range of quiet but powerful tools that include chainsaws, trimmers, brush cutters and blowers. These rely on efficient and long-lasting lithium ion batteries that produce lower emissions while eliminating noise pollution,” explained Pieter.

But these tools are also being used to tackle bigger issues and challenges.

“For instance our hand-held lithium ion powered chainsaws are now the tool of choice for the courageous conservationists who are de-horning rhinos to discourage poachers. They are not only easy to carry but powerful enough to get this process completed as quickly and quietly as possible with minimal trauma to the animal.”

Pieter said that Husqvarna has taken sustainability a step further by launching a veld management division that is providing both the tools and the technology to help farmers, nature and conservation organisations, landowners and land managers to deal with land management challenges.

“It is only now that we are experiencing the sometimes devastating results of over 100 years of bad practices. We can see that drought, changes in rainfall patterns, bush encroachment, encroachment by alien invasive plants and other contributing factors brought on by climate change have all but changed land use in sub-Saharan Africa. That is before we even begin to address issues like over-grazing, soil erosion and poor water management.

“We realised that many of our open spaces and grasslands no longer look the way they used to. In fact, many no longer exist and have been overtaken by bush and forests that should never have been there in the first place. Sadly, this includes both alien and indigenous plants and means that we now have a responsibility to intervene to restore them to what they were.”

It is easier to quantify the impact of these changes in land cover in a farming context. Fewer healthy grasslands means fewer animals and dramatically reduces both the carrying capacity and profitability of farms with important consequences for food security. You can express that in numbers.

But Southern Africa is also very much a country of game farms and conservation. In South Africa alone, there are approximately 12 000 registered game farms. Many are rehabilitated farms whilst others have experienced the impact of poor land management over the years.

“We opened our veld management division four years ago to advise rather than criticise, and now have tangible results and examples of what can be achieved. Under the expert eye of Divan Vermaak, a game ranger and veld management expert, we have created strong relationships within both the agricultural and conservation communities,” continued Pieter.

What started at Tala Game Reserve in KwaZulu-Natal with a small piece of land that was opened up and converted to grassland where more animals could graze, has now grown to involve far larger projects.

“For starters, we have undertaken a large project in Namibia, a country which is grappling with about 54 million hectares of encroachment. Similarly, massive bush encroachment has also taken its toll on both agricultural and conservation land in neighbouring Botswana.

“While we do see the business value of restoring thousands of hectares of high-value land that is now seen as almost worthless, we also know that we are doing far more than can be reflected on a balance sheet,” he concluded.

For more information, visit www.husqvarna.co.za

Rhino pic to come from Shakila …
The Husqvarna battery-powered saw painlessly and quietly removes a rhino’s horn to protect it from poachers.