BIG, BIGGER, BIGGEST: RJ & EF LIVESTOCK TRANSPORT KEEP GROWING WITH ISUZU
It was by sheer stroke of luck that Ray Jeffery and his wife, Elizabeth (Betty), stumbled upon their livestock transport operation. RJ & EF Livestock Transport was established 25 years ago when the married pair from Bodalla, New South Wales, attended a cattle show and Betty had struck up a conversation with another attendee who was selling an old truck. Ray said yes to buying the truck and their livestock operation kicked off from there.
Having tried out a few other truck brands early on, it was only in 2009 when Ray found an ad in the papers for a second-hand Isuzu truck from Suttons Arncliffe.
Making the four-hour drive with the complete intention of buying a second-hand truck, Ray arrived at Suttons Arncliffe, left with a brand-new Isuzu FVZ 1400 (260-300 6×4) and spent the next six years growing his business to the tune of 600,000 kilometres on the FVZ’s odometer.
As the jobs got bigger and the cattle loads got heavier, it was time for an upgrade, prompting Ray and Betty to invest in an Isuzu FXZ 1500 (240-350) from Canberra Isuzu. The FXZ became their trusty transporting steed for the following three years.
That three-year love affair was cut short when Ray read Isuzu’s Truckpower magazine in 2018. Ray had been flirting with the idea of buying an even bigger truck to grow his business, and after seeing the Dimchurch Wines feature in Truckpower—who was operating an Isuzu Giga CXY 455 6×4 Premium with a trailer on the back—Ray was sold.
“It was by luck that I was reading the Truckpower magazine and saw the Dimchurch Isuzu Giga truck, which had been stretched out to become a 28-foot rigid with the trailer on the back,” Ray said.
“So, I thought we’ll give that a shot and rang Canberra Isuzu to see if they could give me a price; it graduated from there and it all worked out pretty well.
“I’ve seen the Gigas on the roads here and I’ve always liked the look and the shape of them.
“And after seeing the Giga in Truckpower magazine, it just looked like the ideal truck for the job.”
Canberra Isuzu helped Ray and Elizabeth make the right call on which Giga to buy, introducing the couple to the Giga CXY 240-460, with manual transmission, allowing the truck a gross vehicle mass of 24,000 kg and a gross combination mass of 57,000 kg.
On the way home with their brand-new truck, Ray and Elizabeth made one more stop to pick up their stock crate from Moruya Engineering who designed their impressive trailer to meet the specific demands of their business, the Giga and the rigorous conditions their Giga will operate in.
Ray went on to explain why some of the other standout features of the Giga CXY 240-460—like the Meritor front and rear axles, and the Eaton 18-speed transmission—are so important in his line of work.
“When carting cattle on the truck and the trailer, you could have 20 big, Freisan dairy cows on there.
“But they’re all standing so the weight is in the air, not necessarily close to the floor, so the truck has to be well balanced and be able to go up to speed smoothly to cart that moving freight all the time,” Ray said.
However, transporting 20 big dairy cows isn’t the biggest job that RJ & EJ Livestock Transport undertakes. Their jobs vary widely, ranging from carting 11 water buffaloes from Bodalla down to Pakenham, and moving 40 head of cattle through 48 kilometres of winding dirt tracks through two mountains adjacent to Bodalla.
In terms of comfort, Ray says the interior cab ticks all the boxes. The cab houses an ISRI 6860 air suspension driver’s seat with pneumatic lumbar support and automatic weight adjustment, so Ray’s 900-kilometre days don’t end with him stiff and sore.
“It’s a relaxing truck to drive, I’m in it for eight or nine hours a day and when I get home, I think ‘I could go somewhere else now’,” Ray said.
Importantly, Ray’s favourite features of his Isuzu trucks are the trucks’ reliability and the support from Canberra Isuzu. When the well-being of many animals is in your hands, you need to be able to rely on your equipment to not only get the job done, but also keep both you and the animals safe.
“We’ve got a really good relationship with Canberra Isuzu.
“If we’ve ever got a problem, all we have to do is ring and they’ll bend over backwards for us.
“They’re a great bunch of people there and they look after us well,” Ray added.
“And reliability is super important in my trade; you need a reliable vehicle because you don’t want to be broken down on the road with somebody else’s livestock, standing around for five or six hours.
“I’ve never thought about another truck brand ever since I bought our first Isuzu.”