McDougall Fertiliser Services based in Scottsdale in Northern Tasmania, has been providing helping hands to local farmers since the mid-90s, when family patriarch Paul McDougall decided to start his own business after working several years in the industry for others.
While Paul is still involved in the business which also has farming and bulk haulage interests, son Aaron manages the company’s fertiliser unit. The team is also supported by 16 full-time staff and a fleet of eight fertiliser spreaders, including three IVECO AD360 Trakker 4x4s – a further four on-road trucks make up the fleet, while a Trakker AD450 6x6 is also currently in build.
The Trakker range is a popular choice for fertiliser spreading applications both in Australia and New Zealand, where off-road performance, comfort and power are well regarded by operators.
The transition to IVECO from another European cab chassis, began around two and half years ago as part of a fleet upgrade program, according to Aaron.
“We were getting a bit tired with the previous brand trucks which were giving us reliability issues, so we decided to start looking at the alternatives,” Aaron said.
“In the end it came down to IVECO and another brand. The Trakker gave us some tare weight benefits (AD360 has 18t GVM and AD450 offers 33t GVM) which helped us make the final decision to go with IVECO. I’ve also seen several other companies in Tasmania with Trakkers and this gave us confidence, and I spoke to a high-profile operator in New Zealand, and he rated the Trakkers as well.”
The AD360 Trakker 4x4 features a full-time four-wheel-drive system with hub reduction and differential locks to front and rear axles for superior traction – benefits are the same for the 6x6 variants, but to all three axles.
Parabolic leaf spring suspension (4x4) and parabolic cantilever suspension (6x6) also provides excellent wheel articulation while smoothing out the bumps of even the roughest paddocks.
The driveline combination is also well proven.
Aaron’s Trakkers are fitted with the 6-cylinder Cursor 8 turbodiesel engine with 360hp and 1500NM of torque, while the soon-to-be-delivered Trakker 6x6 has the Cursor 13-litre engine with 450hp and 2200Nm. In both instances, the engines are coupled to 16-speed manual transmissions although an AMT option is also available.
The Trakkers feature Southern Spreader Bodies, are equipped with deep lug agricultural tyres and often tow feeder trailers; Aaron said they handle the undulating conditions of Northeast Tasmania extremely well – then once in the paddock inspire confidence.
“With a fully sealed cabin it’s a quiet environment even when driving on the bitumen with the speed-rated tractor tyres,” he said.
“The air conditioning is very good as well, and the seating is comfortable. In the paddocks the Trakkers feel safe and stable even on steep slopes – the gearing is also low, so we normally don’t even need low range, and the diff locks we only have to engage occasionally.”
Before joining the family business around 13 years ago, Aaron worked in corporate roles including as a department manager with Australia’s leading supermarket change.
“I’m not really a ‘truck guy’, I’m more interested in what the trucks can do for our business, what they cost to maintain, how much fuel they use – I see them as a tool,” he said.
“On the fuel front, the Trakkers perform better than our previous brand trucks – I’d say they’re pretty good, using about 11-12 litres per hour. We’ve been pleased with the Trakkers since purchasing the first one, which is why we’ve continued to use IVECO.”
AV Trucks has limited stock of 4x4 Trakker, with 6x6 versions some months away yet.
Call AV Trucks on 08 9478 2299 for availability and a demo
Full Specs at: https://www.iveco.com.au/product/trakker