Sustainability Amidst Growth: The Little Big Dairy Co And Isuzu Trucks
When you speak with Jim Elliott of The Little Big Dairy Co, you can tell how passionate he is about sustainable dairy farming—and Jim explains this is the case with every single member in the Chesworth family business, because this is more than just a business for them.
Jim explains that his wife, Emma, her parents and her brothers are eighth-generation Chesworth farmers, born into their 100-year-old family-run business, carefully carrying forward from one generation to another the sound knowledge of sustainable dairy production and farming practices.
It thus comes as no surprise that this rapidly growing family-run dairy farm is serious about sustainable farming practices. Their commitment to each cow’s happiness and health has meant that, as registered breeders, they are not only aware of all the 900 plus Holsteins on their farm, but each of these have a name that everyone in the family knows by heart.
“Our cows are a part of our family. They are the reason we are able to produce over 10 million litres of milk per year,” Jim said.
Based west of Dubbo in central western New South Wales, along the Macquarie River, The Little Big Dairy Co is a venture that has grown by 50 per cent in the last 12 months, and was borne out of expanding their family farm to an integrated business comprising on-farm dairy processing and bottling, complete with distribution across New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory.
As a small business that has steadily expanded to become direct suppliers to the food and retail industries across two states, having a reliable transport solution was absolutely mandatory. This is when they decided to go the Isuzu way with the NLR 200.
Jim shares, “When we started I traded my ute for the Isuzu NLR 200 fitted with a refrigerated body.
“The NLR 200 is a versatile truck and we’re able to drive it on a car licence. For us as a family-run business, this means that anyone in the family can jump in it and do deliveries, which is really helpful.
“The truck is now in Canberra, and it’s perfect for running daily deliveries to cafes and supermarkets around the city; its compact size and also its ability to fit a lot of product in it are reasons why we chose it.”
But the Isuzu NLR 200 isn’t the only truck supporting their operations.
A typical, busy day at fast-growing The Little Big Dairy Co involves larger deliveries with their other pride and joy, the medium-duty Isuzu FRR 107-210, in and around Dubbo. This truck is fitted with a fridge body and an electric standby generator.
Jim elaborates on the truck’s fittings, “This lets us load the truck the afternoon before and run it on power, turning the body into a cooler room.”
But why the medium-duty FRR 107-210, exactly?
“We chose the FRR 107-210 because we service over 100 customers, travelling 2,500 kilometres a week,” Jim answered.
With a power of 154 kW @ 2,400 rpm and a torque of 726 Nm @ 1,600 rpm, as well as a gross vehicle mass of 10,700 kg, the truck easily transports the heavy cargo whether along city streets or high-speed freeways.
“It’s geared really well for both city traffic and open freeways,” Jim said.
“This FRR has the exact size and power we need because milk makes for heavy cargo, and so we needed a six-pallet truck that could also have a payload of six tonnes, excluding the weight of the refrigeration unit.
“The truck works amazingly with the heavy-duty suspension, and with the six-pallet configuration, we are able to do supermarket pallet drops, as well as carton drops to smaller retailers and food services.
“And the size makes it really good for navigating around town—the truck can still fit into the 45-degree angle parking, so it makes deliveries really easy.”
Their Isuzu FRR 107-210, however, is also tasked with the longer trips to regional areas around Dubbo. With long distances to cover, comfort is important. “The truck has a spacious cab, which makes the longer 500-kilometre trips more comfortable.”
With these journeys across the diverse Australian landscape—city and otherwise—in all seasons, having trucks built for Australian conditions is the natural choice.
The Australian landscape and weather can be unforgiving, especially for vehicles taxed by those conditions and carrying heavy, easily spoiled cargo.
Reliability was hence a big factor that led The Little Big Dairy Co to choose Isuzu trucks to support their operations. Jim explains that these trucks have been one of the best additions to their operations.
“For us as a family business and located in Dubbo, the trucks’ reliability is everything.
“With these Isuzu trucks, everything has been smooth, we’ve had no downtime issues.
“The trucks service really well. And that’s all the maintenance we need for them, really,” Jim enthused.
Easy to manoeuvre and comfortable to drive, Jim shared that making commutes on the FRR is absolutely effortless.
“The FRR travels to pretty much everywhere and is very versatile in that way.
“We have used the truck for bulk shipping or bulk transferring from depot to depot. And then it’s back to Dubbo for some more runs, so it could do 30 deliveries a day across nearly 1,000 kilometres and it’s a comfortable truck for that job,” Jim said.
Since buying their trucks from Tracserv, the Isuzu Trucks dealership in Dubbo, The Little Big Dairy Co trusts them with all their servicing and aftersales needs as well.
“Tracserv’s staff provide great support for our business, so we are happy to reciprocate,” Jim shared.
“You’d prefer to buy products from a dealer you have a good relationship with and whose aftersales support is good, which to us is as important as—if not, more so than—the product itself.
“And because we have a great relationship with Tracserv, we prefer to just service our truck through them.”
As the business expands, Jim shared that they will continue to keep buying Isuzu trucks to support their daily operations, but also because they act as mobile billboards for the business.
Jim said, “The Isuzus are good trucks, they’re reliable, and they look really good, they look smart and professional.
“We pride ourselves on our professionalism by providing the highest quality of product and service, and basically our Isuzu trucks match that.
“And for us, our trucks are part of our advertising—basically mobile billboards with bright and fun signage for our business.
“When we drive around in town, we always see kids in the back seats of the cars pointing and smiling at our colourful truck, which feels great!”
Growing quickly and steadily with a steadfast commitment to sustainability, The Little Big Dairy Co is looking at a possible further 50 per cent growth in the next year. But this growth isn’t going to compromise their vision and mission of sustainability.
“While we are growing as fast as we can, we also seek to grow sustainably and guarantee a fair price through the whole supply chain.
“Essentially, we don’t drop our price for volume,” Jim said.
With this projected growth underway that is set to see the sustainable dairy farm cement its place in the New South Wales and Canberra markets, The Little Big Dairy Co is taking Isuzu along for the ride.
“We will continue to buy Isuzu trucks; they’ve got great reliability,” Jim said.
“But more important than that, we’re about people—and the good relationship we have with the sales and service team at Tracserv.
“That’s how we roll.”