‘Drovers’ vital for industry
LIVESTOCK transport is the glue that holds together one of Australia’s major industries, biggest employers and one which attracts offshore capital by the shipload.
That industry is livestock production.
Trucks bring an efficiency to this industry that make sparse and remote production areas competitive on the world market.
Every day, every night, the stocky is a-running.
From the driver’s point of view, this is one of the hardest jobs in transport.
In a road train not only do you have to drive over some of the roughest tracks in the country, but you are responsible for 100–200 head of living animals, ensuring that they are travelling safely, making sure they are standing.
Most livestock truck drivers have an empathy for these animals that has a more grounded understanding than the city animal-libbers.
There are approximately 25 million head of cattle in Australia at present and the cattle industry involves more than 50% of all agricultural businesses in this country.
The industry employs more than 200,000 people and cattle production in 2016/17 is estimated at $12.7 billion.
❝The cattle industry turns over $7.1 billion for Australia, much of it valuable export dollars...
In the 2016/17 financial year, Australia exported 68% of its total beef and veal production to markets in 77 countries. The value of this export alone was $7.1 billion.
With live export ships leaving Australian ports continuously, live cattle exports were valued at $1.2 billion with 907,965 head exported in the 2016/17 year.
There has been a shift in the livestock transport industry, where 40 years ago much of the transport was from cattle stations to rail heads.
These days the efficiency of road transport means the bulk of cattle get to the saleyards, to abattoirs and to live export ships by road.
Today road trains are pulling six decks of prime bullocks out of the Channel Country, seven deck quads bring ‘feeders’ into the feedlots in grain country, and B-doubles all over haul livestock to market.
On the transport side of primary production, there is an extended spread of service industries ensuring that wheels keep turning and that the equipment meets contemporary expectations of animal safety and comfort.
From the trucks through to trailer manufacturers, all the ancillary equipment, loading ramp construction and a hundred other support services, a great team across the country keeps this billiondollar industry on the road.
Because without road transport, Australia would not have the primary production industry that it has today.
A schmick looking Kenworth of Shanahans crosses Dogwood Creek at Miles in Queensland.