Ag News

Questions that need to be asked before you buy that Truck for the Farm

  • By: Farm Tender "Prime"
  • Dec 18, 2017

A big rig might well be the pride and joy of some growers, however doing the appropriate sums and taking an objective approach can help determine what truck combination to buy or if contract services will suffice.

Rural Directions managing director and South Australian grower David Heinjus says many farmers have a passion for trucks and want to have control over logistics and management.

With that in mind, Rural Directions staff have looked at the whole logistics process, from rates of harvesting in the paddock which can influence the amount of freight required and help to cost the process out.

“For growers with a large harvesting capacity and high-yielding crops, the pressure is on for logistics – either paddock storage or trucks and freight required,” he says.

“In SA, different parts of the state have different regulations and this will influence what type of combination can be operated. For example, on the Eyre Peninsula where road trains are legal, they can be quite cost-effective for growers.

“However, this is quite situational and depends on the distance to the receival site. Some growers have very short turnarounds and can carry a lot more grain in a day compared to someone else with a longer freight length, so it is certainly something that needs to be worked out on a case by case basis.

“The cost per tonne is a lot lower with a road train compared with a single combination. However, in other areas such as the Mid North or Mallee, B-double combinations are the largest that can be operated on those roads.”

Mr Heinjus says transport innovations such as a tri dolly means increased tonnage can be carried on a road train.

“Such innovations results in a tri dolly becoming the new trend,” he says. “This then accelerates the depreciation of a bogie dolly because less people want them.

“New B-triple combinations will now also influence the depreciation of single trailers that are not road train rated. As more road train routes are developed in SA, the nature of farm trucks will definitely change. This all needs to be looked at strategically and costed.”
Owning versus contracting

When deciding on whether to purchase a truck or to hire a contractor, Mr Heinjus says it is important to look at the total cost of ownership.

Total cost of ownership is the process of understanding all costs associated with operating a piece of farm machinery or a vehicle. It involves calculating:

   * Annual depreciation cost
   * Interest cost
   * Insurance cost
   * Registration cost
   * Annual repairs and maintenance costs
   * Fuel costs
   * Labour costs
   * Valuing risk, penalty or timeliness costs.

These costs then need to be divided by the expected tonnes to be carted, which can then be provided as a direct to comparison to using a carrier.

Mr Heinjus says the annual depreciation cost of a truck can be difficult to calculate because it relies on trying to value the ...
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