Field and Forest Machinery is a name many readers will know well, and the company has done anything but stand still in recent years. We went along to its Broxburn base to find out all about the latest developments. 

IT’S rare to see much change over two years in forestry, but sometimes it does. This was the thinking that enticed Forestry Journal to visit Field and Forest Machinery once again on the outskirts of Edinburgh. Since our last visit in April 2021, the company, founded by Tom Brown and now overseen by operations manager Eddie Cattanach, has expanded its reach, product offerings, and personnel, all while remaining true to its roots.

Field and Forest Machinery is a dealership specialising in woodchippers and excavator attachments for the arb and forestry sectors. The company serves a diverse clientele, including forestry professionals, landowners, estate managers, and even public bodies such as Network Rail. The past two years have seen the company grow exponentially, opening its first English depot in Hampshire and adding Westtech to its line-up of esteemed brands.

READ MORE: Field and Forest: how the Broxburn arb and forestry machinery supplier is meeting customers' needs

Eddie said: “For us at this point, it is quite exciting. In the last 18 months, we have really pushed on. The southern depot was a regular topic of discussion before the company decided anything. It was really a question of location and obtaining the correct facilities.

Forestry Journal:  Opening the Hampshire depot has been a major step forward for Field and Forest. Opening the Hampshire depot has been a major step forward for Field and Forest. (Image: Supplied)

"We were already hiring and supplying machines in and around London and the south coast – and many of our valued customers are located in this vicinity.”

The expansion has also led to an increase in personnel, with the addition of depot manager Joe Lower, administrator Jo Taylor, and sales representative Max Peacock. The team now consists of 15 employees, including recent hires such as workshop manager James Stewart and apprentice Allan Barker.

The company’s dedication to excellence extends to its fabrication facility, overseen by Gregg Charleston, and the recent achievement of ISO certification. Eddie emphasises the importance of investing in the team, saying: “We have a great team who are always happy to go the extra mile. And this extends not only to the workshop but to Tracey Vaughan, office manager, and Michael Liness, sales executive, who are both key players in our day-to-day operations. I’m a strong believer that if we invest in our team, it’s only going to benefit the company in the long run.”

Forestry Journal: Bomford has proven a popular brand with farmers.Bomford has proven a popular brand with farmers. (Image: FJ)

Field and Forest Machinery’s recent partnership with Westtech is another significant milestone for the company. 

“Westtech, invited Tom and Chris Clark, product specialist/engineer, to visit Westtech’s facility in Austria,” Eddie said. “With both companies sharing the same ambition and innovation for the mechanical arb industry, this made perfect sense for Field and Forest Machinery to partner with Westtech as a dealer in the UK offering sales, servicing and technical support. The team will continue to work hard to promote Westtech along with our existing brands.”

Eddie added: “The GMT grapple saw has really excelled as a product in recent times.

"With ash dieback rapidly taking hold throughout the UK, we have supplied in excess of 100 units throughout the UK, across a number of sectors. With zero chain-shot risk, the GMT leads the way with regards to safety, hence why it is very popular within the road and rail industries, along with tree surgeons and contractors working within close proximity of residential and built-up areas.

Forestry Journal: A dedicated fabrication facility was recently opened at the firm’s Broxburn base.A dedicated fabrication facility was recently opened at the firm’s Broxburn base. (Image: FJ)

"The control, accuracy and dexterity that the GMT offers is on a par with that of a climber, without the risk of having personnel working at height. The exceptional design and engineering really puts the GMT at the forefront of the mechanical arb industry.”

Field and Forest Machinery’s success is also evident in its growth within the agroforestry market, fuelled by demand from farmers for forestry machinery. Eddie notes the strong connection between the two industries, saying: “With a vast majority of woodland and forestry plots neighbouring agricultural land, there is always going to be a crossover between farmers and the forestry industry. There is a strong connection there.”

Brands such as Bomford, Femac, Indeco, and OMEF have played a crucial role in Field and Forest’s success in agroforestry. Eddie observes the diversification among farmers, saying: “A lot of farmers are looking at diversifying. There are so many restrictions being put on them, and funding and initiatives being taken from them. Farmers are looking at what else they can do to bring in revenue. We have had quite a few enquiries from farmers who are allowing local tree surgery companies to dispose of their green waste in dedicated areas and this is then processed using shredders and grinders to create a by-product which can generate an income stream.”

Forestry Journal: Big or small, Field and Forest has it all.Big or small, Field and Forest has it all. (Image: FJ)

“There are a lot of different avenues farmers are considering,” Eddie added. “It ranges from clients who want to undertake woodland maintenance and perhaps keep field edges clear for combines to operate damage-free, to others who want to make it a part of their business. It’s really quite interesting and farmers are now, to an extent, one of our most constant customer bases.”

Eddie continued: “The Bomford Flailbot was out on hire to a farmer recently. He had ground that was overgrown with gorse and too steep to process with a tractor. They hired the Bomford Flailbot for a day and said that without it, he’d have had to resort to hand cutting and it would have taken him two or three days. This took him a quarter of a day.”

Field and Forest Machinery’s commitment to providing tailored solutions to customers is evident in the company’s willingness to engage with clients and determine the best solution for their machinery needs. 

Forestry Journal: OMEF is among the brands offered by Field and Forest OMEF is among the brands offered by Field and Forest (Image: FJ)

“Many of our customers from the agricultural field have excavators and similar but are unsure of what is compatible with their machinery from a forestry perspective,” Eddie said. “We can engage with them in that sense, and work out the best solution for their machine and the job in hand. In addition to advising on the selection of attachments, implements and wood processors, we are able to offer a comprehensive aftersales service along with parts and servicing of all the machinery and attachments that we offer.”

As Field and Forest Machinery looks to the future, Eddie remains tight-lipped on specific details but hints at the company’s ambitious plans for the next five to 10 years. With exciting developments and a driven team behind it, Field and Forest Machinery is undoubtedly poised for continued success in the coming years. It seems like the perfect reason for us to plan another visit in the future.