The Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) has recently released a report by Marsden Jacob Associates on Road Transport Trends in Australian Agriculture . The research explores total vehicle numbers used in the agricultural sector and a range of issues within four specific industries (grains, dairy, livestock and fruit and nuts). The issues explored included: primary producer vehicles registered by state government; usage of different vehicle types; vehicle ownership (e.g. owned vs. leased); type of roads used (e.g. unsealed vs sealed roads); on-farm vs off-farm usage of vehicles; the timing of vehicle replacements; vehicle access issues; and the destination of farm produce (that is, the next point in the supply chain).

The report shows that there are around 70,000 heavy vehicles registered by farmers for both on-farm and off-farm usage. Additionally, there are around 150,000 heavy vehicles either owned by farmers or not owned by farmers but used to transport goods and/or produce to or from the farm. Additionally, in aggregate across the five segments surveyed: the most common vehicle types owned and operated by farmers are light commercial vehicles and heavy rigid trucks; almost all farm vehicles (this includes both light and heavy vehicles) operated by farm businesses are owned, rather than leased;heavy farm vehicles (greater than 4.5 gross tonnes) travel on average around 13 000 kilometres per year; almost 50 per cent of farm vehicles travel on unsealed roads; over half of operators of articulated vehicles, B-doubles and road trains stated that they change vehicle configuration according to their freight needs; and there is a small proportion of farmers that are experiencing issues with vehicle access to roads.

For furhter information, please contact Matthew Clarke on (03) 9882 1600.

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