Serving the local livestock district

By: Tamara Whitsed, Photography by: Tamara Whitsed, Video by: Tamara Whitsed

Livestock haulers Andrew and Marla Stone say local roads need attention in their area around Pyalong, Victoria


Andrew and Marla Stone aim to meet the many varied transport needs of their rural clients through their small business Agri-Trans in Pyalong.

The greatest demand is for livestock haulage, but Agri-Trans also carts and spreads fertiliser and transports wool, hay, grain and machinery.

Andrew and Marla Stone operate Agri-Trans from Pyalong

Pyalong is located on the Northern Highway, less than an hour from Melbourne’s northern suburbs. The Stones’ 1998 International TranStar and 2007 Hino 700 (converted to a rigid tray truck) rarely venture more than two hours from home.

"A lot of our work either starts or finishes on local roads and some of the main issues around our area are just the state of the roads and the width of the roads," Andrew says.

Andrew loves truck driving: "You just keep plodding along until you get it done."

He complains that some roads are too narrow, the edges are washing away and repairs are "just patches on patches". Another hazard is the overhanging trees which are too low for the 4.6m stock crate he pulls with the TranStar.

"A new issue that’s come about because of technology is that Google Maps sends a lot of cars along back roads." Most local residents pull off the road to let trucks stay on the bitumen. But strangers don’t understand this country etiquette.

"I’ve got to take up the middle of the road so I don’t hit the trees, and they don’t know that," Andrew says.

These lambs are bound for Bendigo Livestock Exchange

He isn’t entirely opposed to the wire rope safety barriers: "I’ve seen it save a car in front of me." But he says they block access to several unofficial rest areas – places where he can no longer pull over to check his load, stretch his legs or sleep.

Andrew’s job became much easier in 2014 when Marla left full-time work to help him at Agri-Trans. She does all the bookkeeping and administration, tows the grain auger when it’s needed, feeds their cattle, and regularly washes the stock crates. Marla is also vice president of the Livestock & Rural Transporters Association of Victoria.

Andrew and Marla with the 1998 International TranStar which pulls a stock crate, tipper and flat top trailer

Read the full story in the July 2019 edition of Owner//Driver.


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