WITH large areas of land turned over to blue gum tree farms in the past 20 years, there is a lot of good farming land which has been lost.
But brothers Ryan and Jake Wilks together with Scott McWaters have found a way to convert tree farms to arable farming land around Hamilton, Vic.
The three men - who operate as Nuland Contracting - recently imported a new 26-tonne AWHI Stump Grinder from Germany.
Their Stump Grinder is only the second to reach Australian shores, and has been busily grinding up stumps around Hamilton for the past month.
It generally has a mulcher attached Ryan said, but the Nulands team bought the stump buster attachment specifically for the purpose of getting rid of stumps in tree farms.
"We only started a month ago, and it's a lot of work going from forest to farm," he said.
In the past month, Nuland Contracting has worked about 80 hectares of tree farm land.
"We've only ground about 70ha, and been cleaning it up at the same time," Ryan said.
He described the Stump Grinder as a purpose-built tracked machine with a stump grinding head.
"It just grinds stumps to about 150 millimetres below the actual ground level; it destroys the stump basically," Ryan said.
"It's like a large scale garden rotary hoe - it spins forwards, it's got teeth on it, and it eats everything in its way.
"The trees won't grow back after they've been destroyed like that.
"The advantage of doing it this way is to keep remaining organic matter in the ground and add to the soil, hopefully saving the landowner money and time on fertiliser."
* Full report in Stock Journal, August 28, 2014 issue.