Drought-breaking rains across South-East Australia opened the way, in 2020, for a dramatically increased agricultural planting of winter crops, more than has been seen for the best part of a decade.
And as spring ripens towards summer, grain is being harvested and road trains are rolling to store the estimated 24 million tonne winter crop, according to ABARES, the Australian Government agricultural forecaster.
Harvesters are reaping the golden crop across Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales to a happy tune for farmers, and bank managers.
The big harvest has meant an unprecedented demand for bulk haulage vehicles and trailers to get the crop to storage silos and then on to mills and export shipping ports.
“The demand for tipper product has been huge and yes, if we could have built more we could have sold them,” says MaxiTRANS’ SA State Sales Manager, Kym Penhall.
Kym describes how the grain harvest in South Australia is rolling down from the northern and western wheat belts and will conclude in the South East in the height of summer.
South Australia, under the compliance oversight of the NHVR, is making full use of truck combinations.
“There’s a lot of variety of combinations down here in South Australia from B-Doubles, road trains to A B Triples,” Kym says.
He says for these configurations customers are able to apply for a low cost permit through the NHVR portal to gain approval on the routes they want to travel.
An expansion of MaxiTRANS’ manufacturing and engineering capabilities comes with the opening of a new heavy duty trailer manufacturing facility at Carole Park, Queensland. The new facility will increase the numbers of trailers reaching the market and has been purpose built, replacing the company’s former facility at Richlands.
MaxiTRANS bulk haulage tipper products feeding into grain haulage applications fly under the Lusty EMS and Hamelex White flags.
Lusty EMS provides a wide range of tipper bulk haulage solutions from the ever popular and versatile semi-tipper available in modules suitable for single trailer work or B-Double combinations, through the Stag B-Double combos that preclude the requirement of having to unhook to unload, and the versatile multipurpose Multi-Loader range.
PBS combinations and dollies for road train setups are also available through Lusty EMS.
Hamelex White is a leading Australian tipper brand putting out a wide range of tippers and bulk haulage equipment, including B Double Tippers, three up to six axle truck and dog combinations, Tip over Axle (TOA), Moving floors and chassis tippers.
With this diverse range, Hamelex White offers tippers ideally suited to grain haulage when maximum payload and low tare weight are priorities.
The Drought: The abundant summer harvest of 2020 grew with the breaking of the drought that left SE Australia dry from January 2017 through to October 2019, the driest period of 34 consecutive months for a century.
By spring 2019 farmlands were parched, rivers and water storages dried up and millions of fish had died. Farmers did it tough as desert winds blew their rich top soils away as dust.
As is the way in the boom / bust cycle of the Australian climate, widespread heavy rain arrived in the first quarter of 2020 and the famers, with agricultural machinery bogging, raced to get plantings of wheat, barley, canola and lentils into the ground.
The Market Outlook for wheat is bearish with global prices expected to remain low, although returns are up slightly from the 2019-20 season. There is a weaker world demand because of some restrictions brought about by Covid.
Australian barley is expected to fall below the average world price because of the prohibitive tariffs introduced by China. Canola and lentil prices are holding strong and the lower expected returns from wheat and barley has urged a strong planting of these grains.
In spite of lack-lustre expectations for returns, the large plantings of grains in NSW, Victoria and South Australia are expected to return solid revenue to farmers and will see an increased inquiry in agricultural machinery and haulage combinations.
MaxiTRANS, with the increased capacity coming with the opening of the new Queensland facility is in a position to meet the growing demand of bulk haulage applications across the nation.