Industry Insights

Hooves and Moves with Isuzu Trucks

Aside from being a part of our national identity, it’s no secret that the livestock sector is of vital importance to the sustainability of rural communities and economies in Australia.

Due to the growing demand for animal products, there’s a constant need to refine and develop livestock production systems that allow the combination of food security and sustainability through unpredictable weather conditions.

According to industry figures, our ‘red’ meat industry feeds 24 million Australians, contributes to 405,000 Australian jobs through direct and indirect employment and generates $14 billion in export revenue through the supply of more than 100 global markets.

This is all against the backdrop of a particularly harsh and unforgiving environment here in Australia. From devasting flood to crippling drought, Australian farmers battle through it all.

During these tougher times when feed is low and livestock are suffering, help is at hand.

Tenterfield-based, Duff Pastoral, distributes a molasses-based liquid cattle feed to farmers. This liquid feed helps cattle digest dry and low-quality feed, particularly useful in times of drought.

Duff Pastoral distributes the product straight into the paddocks of farmers and adjusts the product according to the cattle’s needs.

“We have a sweet blend and a sour blend, so we can make the cattle use more or less. We have a consumption rate that we target, and if they’re not using enough, we’ll make the mix sweeter. If they’re using too much, we’ll make it sourer,” said Robert Duff, owner of Duff Pastoral.

From a transport standpoint, the science and calculations behind the job are long, and so are the hours.

The Duff Pastoral fleet travels all around northern New South Wales and southern Queensland delivering feed to farmers. With depots in Tenterfield and Goondiwindi, Rob and his team travel as far north as Warwick and as south as Guyra, covering 296 km vertically. In terms of west to east, they travel from Mungindi to Lismore, covering a whopping 558 km of land.

Rob and his crew do around 230,000 kms a year, so they needed a truck that could be relied on to travel the distance yet remain comfortable. It was a no-brainer for the Kenway & Clarke dealership in Goondiwindi to recommend the Isuzu’s Giga CXY 240-460 and the popular FXD 165-350 model.

The Duff Pastoral trucks are not pretty. They do long days of driving through patches of rough ground and mixed conditions, and yet their Isuzu trucks are always ready to tackle the long day ahead.

Robert said this reliability was one of the main reasons they bought Isuzu over other brands.

“We’ve looked at others, but we come back to the Isuzu every time because they’re a good, reliable truck.”

“There’s lots of people that depend on us for feed for their cattle, so we can’t afford to be broken down. We have to have reliable trucks.”

“We do pretty long days, so we need as much comfort as we can.”

Both models are also fitted with the ISRI 6860 air suspension driver’s seat, complete with pneumatic lumbar support, height, rake and automatic weight adjustments. This means Rob’s drivers can customise their seating for those longer trips.

Not only do these trucks need to be comfortable, they need to do the job. Both of Rob’s trucks are kitted out with custom built bodies that suit his needs. The Giga features onboard scales that weigh the molasses product, with the FXD fitted with a flow meter to measure the product by volume.

“We buy the product by weight, so it’s beneficial to sell it by weight too. Then there’s no discrepancy. The product’s weight alters depending on the consistency of the molasses and so forth. So, it’s much fairer both ways if it’s weighed off rather than metered by volume. The build on our Giga does that for us,” he said.

“They’re both purpose-built for the job. It’s not the sort of thing we can just chuck onto any sort of truck.”

And trust him when he says it’s not pretty or glamorous what he does.

“Our trucks do a lot of hard work. They don’t look very pretty, because of the areas that we operate in. We have a lot of collisions with wildlife – kangaroos, pigs, that sort of thing. And they’re on rough roads pretty much all the time, but the Isuzu’s handle it all very well.”

Isuzu trucks are infamous for their safety standards. Both trucks feature Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), which allows dramatic braking while preventing wheels from locking and skidding, driver airbags with seatbelt pretensioners to hold the driver to the chair in the event of a crash, and double acting hydraulic suspension to protect drivers and their cargo from unwanted vibrations.

The Giga and FXD are fully equipped with the power and agility to compliment the work Duff Pastoral do. With a gross vehicle mass (GVM) of 16,500 kg, power of 257 kW at 2,000 rpm and torque of 1,422 Nm at 1,400 rpm, the FXD 165-350 is not messing around. The Giga sits even higher, with a GVM of 24,000 kg, power of 309 kW at 1,800 rpm and torque of 1,863 Nm at 1,300 rpm.

Additionally, access was a big factor for Rob, as the trucks are often working in tight and hard to reach locations.

“Being cab overs, they’re a lot easier to get through a lot of tight spaces, through gates in properties and so forth. From that standpoint, they’re good to get around in, despite being larger trucks.”

As with all things in life, it’s not just the outside that counts. Isuzu’s interior features, such as the Digital Audio-Visual Entertainment (DAVE) systems and Bluetooth with voice recognition, make life easier for Rob’s drivers. Rob uses the Bluetooth function everyday as a way to take things off his hands – literally.

In the demanding industry of farming and agriculture, Robert has hundreds of farmers and hundreds of thousands of cows relying on him to deliver. The need for reliability is prominent, and fortunately for Robert, Isuzu is all that he needs to get him to the most remote corners of New South Wales and back home safely.

And when we asked him if he’d buy an Isuzu truck in the future?

“Absolutely. 100 per cent. Yes”