Known for its trailers and cranes, Farma is finally entering the forwarding game – and it’s doing so with an impressive product that pays tribute to its founder. Forestry Journal was invited along to a launch event in Estonia to see it in action. 

WHEN Leif Fors, the founder of Fors MW, had the idea of launching a forwarder, he scribbled a few notes and designs down on paper, then bought a cabin and an engine. But there was a stumbling block; he couldn’t find anyone to turn his concept into a fully functioning prototype and, before he was able to, he passed away from cancer. 

That could have so easily been the end of Farma’s sole forwarder venture, and, for a number of years, the project lay dormant. That was until one day when product manager Svante Högnert came across Leif’s original designs, and, acting on impulse, forwarded them onto Ulrica Fors, Leif’s daughter, by then CEO. It took her 20 minutes to make up her mind. 

“Should we do it?” she wrote back. “Can we find someone to do it?” 

The answer, as will become clear, was a resounding “yes”. 

“A dream on paper, now a reality” 

Forestry Journal: Ulrica Fors, CEO Farma, daughter of Fors founder Leif, with the LF8.Ulrica Fors, CEO Farma, daughter of Fors founder Leif, with the LF8. (Image: FJ/Jack Haugh)

More than 12 years had passed since Leif’s initial idea when, last month, Farma finally debuted the end result to Europe’s forestry press near Saue, Estonia. The LF8, an eight-wheeled, 8.5-tonne forwarder, has been designed with low-impact forestry and manoeuvrability in mind, with Fors MW officials certain it can plug a gap in the market. 

Tributes to Leif can be found wherever one might care to look. For starters, LF stands for ‘Leif’s Forwarder’, while the machine also features the firm’s older logo on its grill, a conscious choice to honour the man who first had the idea. 

“I am incredibly proud of this machine,” said Ulrica. “But I am even more proud of the team that has accomplished it.

“We are a smaller company – we produce thousands of lumber trailers, but we are small. In this case, it was a small, dedicated team that put in all the hours to put this together. 

“The whole company has rallied behind this project, and wanted to take this technical leap. This was a dream on paper, but now it is a reality.” 


To complete Leif’s original design, in 2020 Farma recruited John Nordlund to work alongside Henrik Götsten. With 10 years of experience in forestry, having previously worked for the likes of Alstor, he seemed like the perfect man for the job. Even more so when Ulrica later discovered John had grown up in the same “small, little village of Fors” in the north of Sweden. 

“It felt like the stars had aligned,” she said. “At that moment, it felt totally crazy 
to say we were going to do this, but it also felt 100-per-cent right.” 

John said: “I was asked by an old colleague to come and work with him on the project. I immediately felt that this was a once-in-a-lifetime thing; to get an opportunity to design a machine from almost a blank sheet of paper.

“It was a really nice challenge – a huge challenge. But it has been a very exciting project, and very rewarding. 

Forestry Journal: The Farma LF8 was debuted in October

“This is a compact forwarder. It is in between the smaller forwarders and the bigger ones. We believe there is a gap in the market in between the mini forwarders and the big machines. In that gap we can supply a strong, compact machine.

“It is a very narrow machine with a soft footprint, which is a focus in the industry right now – low-impact forestry. It can supply that.

“I believe low-impact working will be the future, especially in Sweden. Our winters are not so good. It will become more of a challenge to work in the forest."

“It more resembles the bigger machines” 

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As for the machine itself, it has been designed entirely by John and Henrik. It features a loading ratio of 1:1, meaning the weight of the machine should be the same as the loading capacity, something that is currently only achieved by the smallest 3- to 7-tonne machines.

Initially available in a default length of 8.5 m and 2.2 m width, it can be further lengthened to 9.03 m, thanks to Farma’s modular design. It can be fitted with any of the firm’s cranes, from 6.7 m up to 8.5 m. With a ground clearance of 550 mm, the LF8 is said to have a low centre of gravity and “very good” weight distribution. Its engine is a four-cylinder, 3.6-L Caterpillar, which produces 100 kW of power. 

Unlike a conventional machine with mechanical transmission, the speed of each wheel is optimised to limit damage to the forest floor and the environment. What this means is the inner wheels run at a lower speed. This is achieved in part by its ‘wheel motors’. According to John, this will ensure the LF8 has “no bogie lift problems”. 

Forestry Journal: Leif Fors, founder of Fors MW Leif Fors, founder of Fors MW (Image: Fors MW)

Or as he put it: “In comparison to a mechanical machine, when you hit a large obstacle the bogie axle will start to rotate as on wheel (bogie lift problem), with our setup that kind of issue can never occur.” 

As it stands, mini forwarders, those around five tonnes, and the big behemoths (think Ponsse Elephant Kings and you’re on the right track) typify the offerings on the market, but an 8.5-tonne offering is almost non-existent, especially since Eco Log announced that it would no longer be making the 750F former Gremo machine. That’s where Farma believes it can scratch an itch felt by the forestry sector.  

John continued: “The LF8 has large tyres, and we designed the transmission around wheel motors. 

“With wheel motors, you get more ability to optimise the construction of the machine. It more resembles the bigger machines than the smaller ones. The way the articulated joint works is more like a big machine, but in a small design.

“The wheel motors are controlled in our own unique way as the speed and power is optimised according to the machine steering angle.”

Fitted with a “large and spacious cabin”, one of the first things an operator might notice is the lack of buttons. Other than joysticks, the whole machine is controlled via a touchscreen. To ensure ease of service, the LF8 features few relays and fuses, while everything can be monitored remotely by Farma’s technical support team. 

Forestry Journal: John Nordlund, concept manager.John Nordlund, concept manager. (Image: FJ/Jack Haugh)

Like any design project, it was not without its challenges, and sometimes these were not what you might expect. The LF8’s ladder, for instance, proved a particular bugbear of John’s 

“It might seem like a simple part,” he said. “But there is some trick around the mechanical movement of it. It’s not rocket science, it is just simple mechanics, and it was possible to sort it.”

“It belongs here and not on my computer screen”

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Jet planes thunder through the sky as the crackle of two lone firepits struggles to fight off the first frost of the year. 

Farma has brought Forestry Journal (the only UK title at the launch event) and other industry publications to a woodland around 25 miles from its base to get a first look at the LF8 in action. There’s a buzz of excitement when the forwarder, driven by Henrik, comes into view and heads towards us. 

“I am very proud of it, and it is a lot of fun to see it here in its right habitat,” John later says. “This is where it should be; not on my computer screen. 

“When we first got it out and drove it, it went really smoothly. That was exciting. 

“It was a big step. The first part finished was the cabin, so it was very nice to see how it was coming together. At that moment, it felt real. Now, finally, all the small pieces are coming together and it is a very complete product. 

“We believe in it very much.” 

During the course of one morning, Henrik whizzes around the forest with the LF8, shifting logs with ease (the prototype model is fitted with Farma’s 8.0 X-CEL) and darting through hardly-there gaps between trees. It’s all very impressive. 

“We have worked very hard on getting the feel of the machine right,” said John. “You can precisely move the machine in difficult terrain. That’s due to the hydraulic and mechanical set-up.” 

As for the next steps, the LF8 is due to enter serial production in August 2024, before it will be shown off in the UK for the first time at September’s APF Exhibition in Warwickshire. All being well, the machine will be in the hands of an initial run of customers in 2025, with Farma expecting to produce eight units in total next year. 

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For now, Farma hasn’t released details on the cost of the machine, with Ulrica telling the press it is in discussion with its dealers over a fair price. 

“We will start with Sweden, and then the UK will be next,” Ulrica said. “We will be showing it off at APF in September 2024. We have already booked the stand for it.

“After that, we’ll aim for Germany and see the interest from there.”

Look for footage of the LF8 in action on the Forestry Journal YouTube channel.