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12.03.2024

Masters of the soil

Hans Wübben GmbH tills and retills agricultural and forest land.

  • Agriculture and forestry
  • References

The Oldenburger Münsterland. Here in the districts of Cloppenburg and Vechta, the land is flat, the locals talk “Plattdeutsch” and greet each other constantly with “Moin”. And the people in the region are as rustic, uncomplicated and warm as their timeless greeting. In the heart of the Oldenburger Münsterland lies the village of Emstek. Since 1972, Emstek has been the base of operations for Hans Wübben GmbH – a specialist in earthmoving.

 

What began in the 1960s as a classic contracting enterprise has today become a family company with a highly specialised field of expertise. “Our core business is tilling and retilling agricultural and forest land,” explains Johannes Wübben, managing director of Hans Wübben GmbH. What does that mean? Well, much of northern Germany is covered with wet marshland. Establishing arable land for crops is no easy task. The land must be prepared before anything can grow on it. The preparation requires heavy equipment. In order to till the marshes, Hans Wübben GmbH use deep ploughs (to depths of 2.20 m) to turn the ground over so that the underlying mineral soil is on top of the black humus, a lighter marsh or the remains of a bog from which the peat has been removed. The mineral soil that is brought up improves the permeability and water capacity of the soil and allows roots to grow better. This way, the land become agriculturally viable.

To prevent their heavy caterpillar tracks from sinking into the boggy land, all of the earthworking machines are fitted with travel gear designed specifically for marshland. Some of these undercarriages have been made wider and longer in the company’s own workshop. Undercarriages up to 1.25 metres wide provide enough contact area to prevent the machines from sinking into the ground. “We built it all ourselves. You can’t buy it anywhere,” explains workshop manager Aloys Thien, not without a hint of pride. After the deep plough has done its work, the surface must be levelled so that surface water can run off without getting trapped. This is how marshes are turned into fertile agricultural land.

If the peat layer is too wet or thicker than 1.4 metres, the deep plough will not get through it. Then the ditchwork begins. “We need a ratio of roughly two thirds peat layer to one third sand layer, so where the peat layer is thicker we have to use suitable hydraulic excavators to turn over the layers of mineral and marsh soil according to the rules of earthworking,” Dirk Marischen of Hans Wübben GmbH explains the problem. The result after ditching is the same as after the deep ploughs. The object is always the same, to turn the marshy soil over so that a drainage effect is achieved, allowing the water to run away. This is the only way to make the soil usable for farming or forestry.

For ditching operations, the company’s fleet includes several different chain excavators. In this way, ditchworks to a depth of 5.5 metres are possible.  These machines can also be used for rehabilitating ponds, constructing embankments and sludge removal. Hans Wübben GmbH hires its machines out with fully qualified operators. “We have 15 employees, most of them have been with the company for many years, some of them since the beginning,” says Johannes Wübben, “so both we and our customers can be sure that the work they need done is carried out with complete professionalism.”

Besides tilling, Hans Wübben GmbH is also tasked with retilling arable and forest land. Particularly in open-cast lignite mining, more and more agricultural land is being turned over to mining lignite. The pits that are left after the lignite has been removed are filled in with the leftover topsoil. However, this is often done using heavy machinery, so when the work of filling is over, the ground is very heavily compacted. It has to be loosened up before maize or grain crops can grow here. In these cases, the earthmoving experts rely on the “dig-lift-loosen” method, which can easily loosen soils to a depth of one metre.

Hans Wübben GmbH has been a loyal customer of HANSA‑FLEX for more than 20 years. “Our most frequent needs are for hydraulic hoses. When one goes bad, we need to replace it fast, otherwise the machine is standing useless on the site. And your field technician Richard Heinemann has been the perfect contact for us for many years,” Johannes Wübben praises the services of HANSA‑FLEX. And sometimes when they are in a real hurry, Mr. Wübben knows that a service vehicle of the mobile Rapid Hydraulic Service is never far away. “The service is really good. The few failures we have had up to now were all corrected within a few hours. Normally, we do all our own repairs, but sometimes that’s simply not possible,” says Dirk Marischen.

We ask for hydraulic hoses most often. If one breaks, we need a replacement quickly, otherwise the machine on the construction site comes to a standstill. And that’s where our HANSA‑FLEX field service representative has been the perfect contact for us for many years.

Johannes Lübben

Managing Director of Hans Wübben GmbH

The contracting company can also look back with pride on major projects completed to date. For example, Herren der Böden played a preparatory role during the construction of the A20/A14. In some construction sections of the A20/A14, various bulldozers from the Wübben company were used so that the now completed A20 could be built. And anyone who has ever driven past the Mercedes test track in Papenburg, Lower Saxony, should know that Hans Wübben GmbH also provided levelling work here so that this test track could be built. The village of Emstek is certainly not the centre of the world, but one thing is certain: when it comes to earthmoving, you will find the right specialists here.

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