Environment, Sustainability & Safety

Grain Harvesting Code of Practice

South Australia has a voluntary Grain Harvesting Code of Practice which outlines the conditions under which grain harvesting and handling should occur in the paddock, including operating grain harvesters, vehicles involved in grain transport, and grain dryers and augers.

Growers are also reminded that pending changes to the Fire and Emergency Services Act mean that SA Police will soon have the power to direct that a producer’s harvesting operations cease where it may cause a fire. As part of this consideration, SA Police will have regard to whether producers are operating in accordance with the Code. This is expected to be brought into force in early 2021.

KNOW YOUR CODE

In 2016, GPSA and the Country Fire Service launched the successful Know Your Code campaign which encourages growers to abide by the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice. 

The campaign provides a checklist for growers to ensure they are adhering to the on-farm actions of the code. These include to:

  • Comply with the two legislated requirements of the code:
    • When using a stationary engine to auger grain, a person who is able to control the engine must be present when it is in use, or an area of at least 4m around must be cleared.
    • It is legislated that producers must carry a shovel or rake, portable water spray, and ensure engine and exhaust systems comply with regulations.
  • Monitor weather conditions and forecasts to stop harvest when the local actual Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) exceeds 35.
  • Remove crop residues on machines.
  • Regularly maintain machinery before and during harvest, particularly wearing parts and bearings, and keep maintenance records.
  • Reduce build‐up of static electricity on machinery during harvest.
  • Have a well-maintained farm fire‐fighting unit with a minimum of 250 litres of water in the same paddock.
  • Establish fire breaks around paddocks or across the property.
  • Ensure all farm staff are bushfire ready with the correct fire‐fighting clothing and equipment and that there is a fire prevention and emergency response strategy in place.
  • Have immediate access to a UHF CB radio or mobile phone to report emergencies.

Five Simple Steps

The Know Your Code campaign encourages growers to take five simple steps to help reduce the risk of harvester fires: 1. Preparation, 2. Maintenance, 3. Monitoring, 4. Safe operations and 5. Communication.

These steps are detailed in the poster below.

Private Farm Fire Unit Handbook 

The SA CFS Private Farm Fire Unit Handbook supports local initiatives or arrangements currently in place and provides advice for establishing and maintaining a consistent approach to the use of private farm fire units (PFFU) during SA bushfire events. 

The handbook provides guidance as to fire ground safety and expectations, wearing of personal protective clothing, safety equipment, communications and personal injury protection. 

GPSA recommend that all PFFU operators familiarise themselves with the handbook in order to promote the safe, effective and cooperative involvement of farm fire units with the CFS, to control fire events in the shortest possible time. 

For more information on farm fire units, see the CFS website.

Resources

Click on the links below to download these resources:

The current SA Grain Harvesting Code of Practice – PDF document

Grain Harvesting Operations Table – available for download and as a sticker for your header (email GPSA)

Grain Producers SA and Country Fire Service Know Your Code checklist – PDF document

SACFS Private Farm Fire Unit Handbook – PDF document

GRDC Back Pocket Guide: Reducing Harvester Fire Risk – PDF document (4mb)

GRDC Articles and Videos

GRDC video: Ben Wundersitz, Anna Binna, Maitland, on his preparation to reduce fire risk

GRDC article: Proactive approach to fire prevention on YP

GRDC article: Know Your Code before entering the paddock this harvest

GRDC article: Talking and personal connection important in tough times

Know Your Code case study: Adrian McCabe

For Mid North grain producer Adrian McCabe, the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice and corresponding Grassland Fire Danger Index is a simple guide for growers, transporters and receival sites for when to cease operations when conditions become too severe.

Click here to read more about Adrian McCabe

For Mid North grain producer Adrian McCabe, the Grain Harvesting Code of Practice and corresponding Grassland Fire Danger Index is a simple guide for growers, transporters and receival sites for when to cease operations when conditions become too severe.

Based at Hamley Bridge, Adrian says he follows the code “religiously” and combines it with his own business policies and procedures to keep family, staff and assets safe.

“The code and the GFDI is an excellent system which the whole industry is now looking to in order to determine whether it is safe to harvest, drive in paddocks or handle grain on-farm or at receival sites,” Adrian said.

Adrian keeps a close eye on weather conditions by using a hand-held weather meter in the paddock as well as a network of local weather stations, some of which are owned by other growers.

He says sharing that data is a positive step towards community safety.

“We use the information from the hand-held meter and weather stations to determine the GFDI and whether it is safe to continue harvesting.

“We will always finish when the GFDI exceeds 35 but it also depends on that day as to how early we will finish. It is a common occurrence in our area that if it is day where we think the code will be well exceeded then we and many other growers in our area will pull up early.

“For example, the GFDI might only be at 30 but the graph from the weather stations is trending upwards sharply then it is clear conditions are quickly deteriorating and we will stop harvesting before the index reaches 35.

“However, if the index isn’t spiking as rapidly and there is a cool change forecast for later on then we will continue harvesting up until the GFDI exceeds 35, at which point we will stop until it is safe to resume.”

Keeping family and employees safe starts with a number of policies which staff must follow in the event of a fire. For instance, employees cannot go to a fire on another property unless Adrian or his brother Luke, who he farms with, are also present. It is also against company policy to travel in a vehicle that isn’t owned by the farm during a fire.

The McCabes have three fire-fighting units, two of which are on the back of utes and one on the header comb trailer. Utes are fitted with hand rails on the tray to protect people from falling off if they happen to be operating the fire-fighting unit from the back of the ute. All vehicles carry shovels.

Protective clothing is kept in all vehicles equipped with fire-fighting units, including overalls, gloves, a helmet and glasses. Four-metre wide sprayed fire breaks are maintained around all paddocks to be harvested.

“When our staff are attending fires on other properties they must still comply with our business’ occupational health and safety policies, which includes having a manager present at all times,” Adrian said.

“In terms of machinery maintenance, we ensure all the relevant tasks are done prior to harvest and keep up regular inspections during harvest.

“Even if machinery is new, we still keep an eye on bearings and belts to make sure it is all running okay and is well-maintained.”

Adrian McCabe

At least one firefighting unit is always kept in the paddock that is being harvested. Machines are blown down in regular intervals depending on crop type. For example, if harvesting lentils or chickpeas then machines are blown down more regularly than if cereals are being harvested.

On days of higher fire risk, harvesters and chaser bins may be moved out of the paddock and back into the main yard.

Adrian says communication is something that has become natural among the grower community on days of high fire risk.

“Everyone communicates when conditions are looking severe but I am a firm believer in calculating your own local conditions with a hand-held meter or weather station data and to abide by the code based on that,” he said.

Adrian says growers and the wider industry have reached a point where they are comfortable with the code and how it is interpreted. He says self-policing has become more common with many growers realising the repercussions of becoming regulated if they do not follow the voluntary code.

“The code is something we all ‘get’ now and people are comfortable to stop harvesting when the GFDI exceeds 35,” he said.

“We have been through some big fires and we are now capable as a farming group to abide by the GFDI, which is a sensible index.”

Know Your Code: A CFS Perspective

The South Australian Grain Harvesting Code of Practice is a great example of industry and government working together to find practical solutions to an issue.

One of the required practices of the code is to suspend grain harvesting operations when the local actual Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) reaches 35.

Read more about how to take a hand-held weather reading

By Commander Brett Loughlin, Acting Director Preparedness Operations, CFS

The South Australian Grain Harvesting Code of Practice is a great example of industry and government working together to find practical solutions to an issue.

One of the required practices of the code is to suspend grain harvesting operations when the local actual Grassland Fire Danger Index (GFDI) reaches 35.

Fixed weather stations in the appropriate areas will generally give the most accurate readings of the GFDI. For those who do not have access to nearby weather station data, hand-held weather meters are also a reliable source of local weather conditions.

There may be a slight difference in temperature and wind speed between a hand-held weather meter and fixed weather station, however the results will be similar.

If using a hand-held weather meter, wind speed readings should be made in an open area at least 10 metres away from trees and other objects, facing into the wind with the meter held two metres high.

Temperature and humidity readings taken with a hand-held weather meter should be taken in the shade. These observations should then be averaged over a 10-minute period.

Using those observations, the GFDI should be measured using the following table which calculates the average wind speed for different temperature and relative humidity combinations that equate to a GFDI of 35.

For example, if the temperature is 35 degrees Celsius and the relative humidity is 14% (rounded down to 10%), then at this combination of temperature and relative humidity harvest operations should cease when the average wind speed is greater than 26 kilometres per hour.

One or two readings over an hour are unlikely to provide adequate data to enable a confident decision to be made.

Smartphone applications such as the NSW RFS Firefighter Pocketbook app can also help to calculate the GFDI.

Before the code existed, each local ag bureau or council area had different rules and policies. The code formed a basis for district harvesting codes of practice and brought about a consistent approach to fire risk management at harvest across South Australia.  

Since its development over a decade ago, the code has made a tangible difference in reducing the number of fires and the amount of damage to crops, farm machinery and infrastructure and communities.

The GFDI provides a numerical assessment of likely fire behaviour which is then grouped into categories. These are:

  • Low/moderate – GFDI of 0-11
    • Small fires, easily controlled, likely cool weather with high relative humidity.
  • High – GFDI of 12-24
    • Fires may present some threat to property but first attack fire-fighting is likely to succeed.
  • Very high – GFDI of 25-49
    • First attack fire-fighting will likely fail, fires may move quickly and threaten property, indirect strategies may succeed. The Kangaroo Island bushfires in December 2007 occurred on a day of very high fire danger.
  • Severe – GFDI of 50-99
    • Fires are wind-driven, will spread rapidly and may be uncontrollable with spot fires likely to occur. Total Fire Bans are declared for categories severe and above.
  • Extreme – GFDI of 100-149
    • Aggressive fire behaviour usually driven by strong winds. Fire-fighting is ineffective. The extreme category presents a significant threat to life and property.
  • Catastrophic – GFDI of 150 and over
    • Fires on catastrophic days are uncontrollable until conditions ease. The Pinery fire in November 2015 and the Wangary fire in January 2005 occurred on days of catastrophic fire danger.

While it is not currently specified in the code as to when harvesting can resume, the CFS suggests waiting until conditions have obviously moderated and making the decision in conjunction with neighbours.

Details: For more information contact CFS Headquarters on 08 8463 4200.

Hit Your Target

Spray drift

Chemical application is fundamental to many cropping systems, helping to control weeds, diseases and pests and maximise crop yield and quality. Growers must adopt best practice strategies and equipment to minimise spray drift and off-target damage. They must also recognise the risk of damage to off target crops, particularly sensitive crops in viticultural and horticultural areas.

Read about the measures Hit Your Target champion Andrew Biele takes to minimise spray drift and off-target damage

The need to eliminate spray drift within farmers’ own boundaries, let alone to neighbouring properties, is becoming more and more prominent as crop rotations become more diverse, according to Mallee grower Andrew Biele.

Andrew is the operations manager for Bulla Burra, a collaborative enterprise spread over properties between Loxton and Alawoona.

With vineyards and almond and citrus orchards dotted throughout the Riverland and northern Mallee, Andrew is conscious of the effect off-target chemicals could have on neighbouring enterprises.

However, with up to 50 per cent of Bulla Burra’s planting now consisting of legumes and oilseeds, he says they cannot afford to have off-target issues within their own enterprises, let alone anywhere else.

“We’ve got many different crop types within our own boundaries now, so we want to look after our own crops,” Andrew said.

“But it’s also important agriculture and horticulture work together. We’re all producing food for the community and need to ensure this is produced to the highest standards.”

There are a number of measures Bulla Burra takes to help eliminate the potential for spray drift.

“Temperature inversions are a risk for spray drift and these can place us and our neighbours at risk of off-target damage so spraying should be avoided if certain conditions arise,” Andrew said.

“In our region, dawn and dusk are the highest risk times, particularly if it is very calm and warm. You can guarantee there will be an inversion of some sort during these periods. For our operators, we recommend simply not spraying or stopping spraying in any of these conditions arise.

“Wind direction and speed at the time of spraying are also key.

“We continually monitor wind direction with a hand-held weather meter. We are looking for speeds above 3 kilometres an hour because some wind is needed to ensure the spray hits the ground.

“We are that cautious that we continually monitor weather throughout our application period. It might take us five days to finish spraying one paddock, but we are dedicated to safety.

“Our staff are required to check the online server for weather and then ground truth it with our internal weather monitoring devices, such as the hand-held Kestrel. We check and record conditions every hour and respond according to the changing conditions. If in any doubt, we stop.

 “We keep individual paddock diaries and record all details on an hourly basis. Our systems are both hand written and electronically kept for best practice.

“Keeping equipment up-to-date is also important, particularly when it comes to nozzle technology. We use air induction nozzles for our summer spraying which have a coarse to very coarse droplet size so there is less chance of drift. We also use additives to reduce the spray fines.”

Andrew says reducing ground speed when spraying has also made a huge difference in regard to spray drift.

“We have reduced our ground speed to ensure we get better droplet size management,” he said. “So long as we are still working within the pressure parameters of the nozzles we are using then it works well.”

All Bulla Burra staff participate in training so they are aware of best practice spray application techniques.

“All our staff are ChemCert accredited, this give them an insight into droplet sizes, speeds, weather and how to predict weather conditions which helps our team become best practice operators.

“We are also very strict with our staff adhering to the label requirements of any chemicals used, this ensures they understand the operation requirements of the specific chemical and keep our team and our neighbours safe.”

Details: Andrew Biele, 0439 927 782, andrewbiele@bigpond.com

Read about what advice Hit Your Target champion Peter Cousins has to minimise spray drift and off-target damage

Increasing droplet size is key in reducing spray drift, according to Mid North-based consultant Peter Cousins, Crystal Brook.

Peter says increasing water rates and choosing the right nozzles are important in increasing droplet size. He also encourages growers to keep the boom height low and reduce ground speed to help them reduce the risk of spray drift.

“One thing I encourage growers to do is to get someone else to operate your system for a run, then you can get out in the paddock and assess how your spray rig is operating,” he said.

“Critically assess what your spray pattern looks like. You should be making sure your spray is hitting the ground and ensuring that there is no drift behind the boom. If there is, make adjustments to reduce drift, recheck the weather and operating conditions and stop if necessary.

“If weather conditions are suitable for spraying and you still have drift you need to change your operating and rig set up.

“First, look at what type of nozzles you are using, making sure the nozzles are operating at the correct pressure or as per the manufacturer or label recommendations. Also look at the droplet size and increase if necessary.

“Then look at the boom height, best practice is to sit the boom 50 centimetres above the target.

“Operating speed is also important. As a general rule of thumb, aim for 14 to 22km per hour. But first and foremost, keep an eye on changing weather conditions and stop if in doubt, especially if at risk of an inversion.”

Peter encourages growers to educate themselves about temperature inversions and their effects on spray drift.

“Reading inversion conditions can be difficult, but if growers can get some information such as what is provided by the GRDC then that will help them to get a better idea as to when they should or should not be spraying,” he says.

“Inversions occur on most nights 1.5 hours before sunset and up to 1.5 hours after sunrise, unless there is a continuing wind speed of over 11km per hour through the night or if it’s overcast.

“Do not spray when there is no wind, you need at least 3km per hour at all times. You can continue to spray up to 18km per hour. Using your own, or regional specific, real-time weather systems is also recommended to ensure spray decisions are based on the best available information.

“Take the weather conditions in the paddock continually throughout the spray operation, growers should check at least once every hour and are encouraged to use both a hand-held device and a reliable online weather forecasting service. These details should be recorded in a spray diary.”

Along with fellow Mid North-based consultant Mick Faulkner, Peter was instrumental in getting funding from the State Government to set up a network of weather stations across the Mid North.

The Mid North Mesonet gives growers access to weather data, such as temperature, wind speed and even when temperature inversions are developing.

This specific combination of data helps growers make informed decisions and minimise the risk of spray drift.

Peter says there is an onus on growers to self-regulate when it comes to spraying, similar to how they have in regard to the grassland fire danger index (GFDI) during harvest.

“Essentially, growers need to recognise that they have a responsibility to hit their target and reduce spray drift,” he said.

“It is also important to stress the importance of following the crop protection product label so their application technique meets the legal requirements.”

Details: Peter Cousins, 0408 210 893, couspilk@bigpond.net.au

Hit Your Target campaign

In May 2018, GPSA launched a new campaign encouraging growers to ‘Hit Your Target’.

In recent years, off-target damage has been an increasing issue in viticultural and horticultural areas, with damage to vines during periods of summer weed control of particular concern. Poor spray practices, such as spraying in certain weather conditions, at high speed or incorrect equipment set-up can result in spray drifting tens of kilometres from the application site.

Growers have rallied to adhere to the Harvest Code of Practice and to not reap grain when the Grassland Fire Danger Index is above 35. GPSA is seeking a similar response from ‘Hit Your Target’ in which communities of growers work together to minimise the risk of spray drift – and to ensure that these important tools in our cropping businesses can be maintained.

Tips to ‘Hit Your Target’

The campaign points to a number of resources for growers and conveys best practice information to help growers ‘Hit Your Target’ and reduce the likelihood of spray drift and off target damage.

The Grains Research and Development Corporation and spray application consultant Bill Gordon provide a number of recommendations for growers to help to minimise spray drift.

  • Choose products carefully. Understand the coverage requirements plus the mode of action, formulation type and adjuvant used. Read and follow the crop protection product label for what is legally required on spray quality, buffer (no-spray) zones and wind speed requirements.
  • Use correct droplet size. Use the coarsest spray quality that will provide efficacy. Be prepared to increase application volumes when coarser spray qualities are used, or when the delta T value approaches 10 to 12. When using any of the Group I herbicides, do not apply with smaller than coarse to very coarse droplets, as per the product label. The minimum droplet size should be 200 microns to avoid spray drift. Nozzle choice is just the first step in drift reduction. Even the best nozzles will cause drift if the remainder of the spraying process is conducted inadequately.
  • Never spray in temperature inversions. Always expect surface temperature inversions will form later in the day, as sunset approaches, and they are likely to persist overnight and beyond sunrise on many occasions. If the spray operator cannot determine that an inversion is not present, then no spraying should occur. 
  • Monitor weather. Use weather forecasting tools and plan. Understand the wind speed and direction. Pay close attention to variations between predicted maximum and minimum temperatures above 5 to 7 degrees Celsius, delta T values below 2, low overnight wind speeds (less than 11 km/h) and predictions of dew or frost as these all indicate the likely presence of a surface inversion. Do not spray with the wind direction toward sensitive areas and do not spray when sea breezes develop.
  • Sun. Only start spraying after the sun has risen more than 20 degrees above the horizon and the wind speed has been above 4 to 5 km/h for more than 20 to 30 minutes, with a clear direction that is away from adjacent sensitive areas. 
  • Boom. Set the boom height to achieve double overlap of the spray patterns. With a 110-degree nozzle using a 50cm nozzle spacing, this is 50cm above the top of the stubble or crop canopy. Boom height and stability is critical. Use height control systems for wider booms or reduce the spraying speed to avoid boom bounce. 
  • Minimise spray speed. Avoid high spraying speeds, particularly when ground cover is minimal. Speeds above 16 to 18 km/h with trailing rigs, and above 20 to 22 km/h with self-propelled sprayers greatly increase losses and increase spray drift due to affects at the nozzle and the aerodynamics of the machine. 
  • Buffers. Leave unsprayed buffers when the label requires, or when the wind direction is towards sensitive areas. For ground application of non-volatile products using a coarse spray quality (or larger) during daylight hours and wind speeds between 3 and 20 km/h, a 300m downwind buffer is generally sufficient with a coarse spray quality of larger droplets. However, growers should always refer to the spray drift restraints on the product label. Smaller spray qualities will require larger buffers. 
  • Record. Always measure and record the wind speed, wind direction, temperature and relative humidity at the start of spraying and at the end of every tank, according to the label requirements. Label no-spray zones and downwind buffer distances are based on wind measurements at 2m above the ground. If possible, check weather station data for temperature inversions.
  • Know the risks. Growers must be aware that they are liable. All spray equipment operators have a moral and legal obligation to ensure that their spray applications do not impact other producers, their neighbours or their community. Biosecurity SA will pursue all reports of anyone who has either deliberately or negligently caused damage to others by not following regulatory requirements. If caught, offences can carry a maximum penalty of $35,000.
  • Reporting. Reporting is critical to protect crops and achieve statewide compliance. Growers can report off-target damage through Biosecurity SA on the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals Hotline on 1300 799 694 or pirsa.ruralchemicals@sa.gov.au
  • Resources. Growers need to know what resources they have available to make better informed decisions. Weather stations are an ideal tool to assist with decision-making. Other tools to consider are field weather meters in close proximity to where spraying is being conducted or a hand-held weather meter which can frequently measure conditions in the paddock.
  • Crop susceptibility. Growers should have greater awareness of what crops are vulnerable to spray drift. Susceptible crops include cotton, tobacco, tomatoes, vines, fruit trees, vegetables, legume crops and pastures, oilseed crops and susceptible trees, such as Kurrajongs, Belahs and Eucalypts. Growers should also be aware of home garden fruit, vegetables and ornamentals when spraying.

Applying 2,4-D

The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority issued a permit in October 2018 which describe the instructions for using products containing 2,4-D. In summary:

  • Products containing 2,4-D must be applied using a Very Coarse spray quality. From 1 October to 15 April, the APVMA advises using an Extremely Coarse or Ultra Coarse spray quality in cereal, fallow or pasture.
  • There are mandatory no spray zones or downwind buffers to aquatic areas and terrestrial vegetation as well as specific instructions and larger no spray zones for aerial applications.
  • Additional record keeping is required, including boom height.

For more information, refer to the GRDC’s Maintaining efficacy with larger droplets – New 2,4-D application requirements fact sheet.

Resources

There are a number of resources relating to spray drift which spray applicators can access.

Further information on spray drift is also available on the APVMA website.

GRDC resources

GRDC spray application series
GRDC spray drift webinar recording

Heavy Vehicle Safety

Roadworthy Heavy Vehicles… Made Easy!

Grain Producers SA, on behalf of Primary Producers SA, has delivered FREE Roadworthy Heavy Vehicles … Made Easy! workshops again in 2021, designed specifically to help SA primary producers understand heavy vehicle roadworthiness requirements.

Since the project began in February 2020, GPSA Regional Field Officer Shane Gale has delivered heavy vehicle workshops in 19 rural and regional locations across SA. The workshops have been a huge success with overwhelming engagement from growers across SA.

Read a case study with Eudunda grower Anthony Pfitzner

Grain Producers SA’s Roadworthy Heavy Vehicles … Made Easy! workshops have emphasised the importance of good record keeping when it comes to heavy vehicle maintenance, a practice Anthony Pfitzner will now implement in his business.

Anthony and his family farm cereals and sheep on 2200 hectares, 10 kilometres west of Eudunda.

The Pfitzners run several trucks on their property, including an old 1996 Scania 113 tipper and trailer.

Anthony attended the theory and practical workshops held at Riverton in July as he wanted to expand his knowledge on heavy vehicle inspections and compliance responsibilities.

“We have staff who regularly drive our trucks and I want to ensure my vehicles are safe and roadworthy for them,” he said.

“We have a basic understanding of what maintenance we should look out for on our trucks but there can be little things which should not be ignored.

“We need to be taking responsibility of the condition of our vehicle and ensure regular maintenance is being completed.”

Record keeping, even of daily and weekly maintenance checks of the truck, was highlighted as an important practice for growers to adopt.

“The record keeping doesn’t need to be fancy,” Anthony said.

“We just need to make sure we record what we have checked, along with what the mechanic is doing, to provide peace of mind and proof in case something happens involving the vehicle.”

Anthony volunteered to take his Scania tipper to the practical workshop at Vin Callery Transport in Riverton for the practical inspection.

Vin Callery Transport’s Chris Callery said he ran through the inspection checklist he uses for annual inspections with attendees during the practical workshop.

“We set Anthony’s truck up over a pit so the attendees could look under the tipper,” he said.

“As I was inspecting the truck, I highlighted any issues I saw to the growers.

“No farm truck will ever be perfect. However, this workshop provided growers with a basic outline of the necessities to be able to pass a heavy vehicle inspection.”

Anthony found the workshops very valuable and said all primary producers should get involved to improve their knowledge.

“We get our mechanic to do annual checks on the truck, but we don’t get to sit and go through the inspection and what to look for in great detail with them like we could in the practical workshop,” he said.

“I think farmers get a bad reputation for having unroadworthy trucks on the road and that has made truck maintenance sound like a bit of a scary thing to them.

“Whatever goes on the road needs to be roadworthy, whether that be a farm-to-farm truck or a truck carting grain and hay on the highway.

“It’s important for us as farmers to take responsibility for heavy vehicle roadworthiness.”

Contact: Anthony Pfitzner, 0429 811 984, gwgfarm@bigpond.com; Chris Callery, 0418 847 957, christophercallery@bigpond.com

Read a case study with Cowell grower Robert Norris

Attending theory and practical Roadworthy Heavy Vehicles … Made Easy workshops reinforced the basic understanding Robert Norris and his sons-in-law had of their truck’s roadworthiness.

Farming cereals and sheep at Cowell on the Eyre Peninsula, Robert and his sons-in-law James Martin (pictured) and David Gray run a 1985 Volvo N12 prime mover which pulls a single tipper at seeding and harvest.

Robert and James attended the workshops as they were curious to know if their truck would comply under the criteria of the Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual.

“We attended the theory workshop at Cowell in March and, following that, we volunteered to take our truck to the practical workshop at Quinn Transport, Cleve,” Robert said.

“That workshop was really useful for us. It helped us identify what to look for when doing maintenance and what the problems were with the truck.

“We knew we had to do some work on the bushes and brake linings on the trailer, which we had planned to do as part of our general maintenance anyway, but from the free inspection at the workshop we found out we really only needed to replace the windscreen washer fluid reservoir and a cracked headlight.”

Despite its age, Robert said his truck is still holding up well from a compliance perspective.

“If you do regular maintenance on the important things such as brakes, steering and tyres – which is what everyone should be doing anyway, regardless of whether the truck is old or new – then you won’t run into too many issues,” he said.

“That is probably something James and David learned from the workshops; despite it being an older truck, it is still safe and only needs some basic repairs.”

Robert said he would recommend other producers attend the Roadworthy Heavy Vehicles … Made Easy workshops when they re-commence.

“Whether you only have a basic understanding or a good understanding, the presenters at the workshops are great at explaining all the requirements under Heavy Vehicle National Law and addressing any questions we farmers might have about roadworthiness,” he said.

The theory and practical workshops are designed for members of Primary Producers SA who own and operate their own heavy vehicles and help to deliver on our commitment to road safety.

Theory workshops are led by road transport experts who have a comprehensive knowledge of quality management and national heavy vehicle maintenance systems, to provide primary producers with:

  • Outline of the NHVR Heavy Vehicle Inspection Manual
  • Road safety awareness
  • Producer compliance and maintenance responsibilities
  • Requirements of the regulator
  • Possible changes that may be introduced SA’s Heavy Vehicle Inspection Scheme

In addition, all theory workshop participants have the opportunity to take part in a practical workshop to receive valuable hints and tips on keeping heavy vehicle’s roadworthy.

Early registrants may have the opportunity to have their own vehicle’s roadworthiness checked for FREE as part of each theory workshop (spots are limited).

Primary producers who attend the workshops will receive training and knowledge which will be essential in helping them to develop a tailored approach to heavy vehicle maintenance, inspections and compliance on vehicles involved in their farm businesses.

The Roadworthy Heavy Vehicles… Made Easy! campaign has been funded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative Program, with the support of the Federal Government.

Anyone who has attended a theory workshop is eligible to get their heavy vehicle inspected for free by one of the practical workshop providers, which are listed below.

  • Quinn Transport, Cleve
  • Cummins Garage, Cummins
  • Schultz Mechanical Repairs, Clare
  • KADS Truck ‘N Diesel, Angaston
  • Docking Mechanical Services, Kimba
  • CC Truck Repairs, Moonta
  • Tatiara Truck & Trailers, Bordertown
  • Rudall Motors, Rudall
  • Greatbatch Agencies, Wirrulla
  • Vin Callery Transport, Riverton
  • Kelly Bros Pty Ltd, Jamestown
  • J L&M W Hein Engineering & Auto Repairs, Streaky Bay
  • Wishart Contractors, Loxton
  • Moore Mechanical, Murray Bridge

Chain of Responsibility… Made Easy!

In early 2019, GPSA held interactive, FREE and practical workshops for our members, and all Primary Producers SA commodity group members, in conjunction with industry experts Natwide Personnel.

These workshops have helped to:

  • Educate farmers about what the new chain of responsibility laws mean for farm practices when using heavy vehicles on public roads,
  • Ensure compliance for all members of the farming business, and
  • Provide attendees with the opportunity to question and seek expert advice on their farm situations.
  • Following attendance, farmers received support and advice from Natwide for the following 12 months

This program was made possible by support from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative Program.

An overview of the project is available here. A copy of the presentation to members is available here.