According to Dean Brooks, when it comes to tough conditions trucks don’t experience anything more difficult than fertiliser spreading work. “The handling and the twisting involved in ground spreading is as hard as it gets,” he said.
And Dean would know. He is the General Manager of Brooks Spreading, a business that was established in 2003, and is dedicated to the transport and spreading of fertiliser around farmland.
“Ninety per cent of our work’s off-road,” Dean said. “So, above all, we require vehicles that thrive in off-road conditions.”
The company runs three IVECO Trakker 360 models, as well another truck and a tractor. “We purchased the Trakkers in 2014 and they’ve given us a good run. They perform well on the paddock and the weight distribution’s really good for what we’re doing,” Dean said.
He explained that, prior to 2014, he used off-road vehicles from another well-known European manufacturer.
“Those vehicles had the right specs on paper for off-road work, however, the problem was we couldn’t keep them running. The trucks had issues, mainly electrical. And we thought that manufacturer didn’t stand behind the product very well. We ended up paying for a hell of a lot of stuff we shouldn’t have been paying for,” Dean said.
So Brooks Spreading turned to IVECO Trakker 360 4x4s.
With permanent all-wheel drive to all axles and front, centre and rear differential locks as standard, the vehicles are well equipped to deliver maximum traction off-road, while the parabolic leaf spring suspension and a high tensile steel chassis allows for outstanding articulation over rough terrain.
According to Dean, the Trakkers have proven themselves to be durable, plus they deliver the added benefits of reliability and extra horse power. This last feature, he said is necessary in the mountainous landscape around Nelson.
“We cover a fair chunk of the top of the South Island, from North Canterbury up, basically. We work form Nelson down to Springs Junction, North Canterbury, across to Kaikoura and back to Nelson. It’s a fairly big triangle,” he said.
One of the key geographical features of this ‘triangle’ is, of course, its steepness. “Nelson is a very difficult place to own a transport company. It doesn’t matter which way you turn out of town there’s a mountain in front of you,” Dean said.
The Trakker 4x4 is powered by IVECO's versatile Cursor 8, 6 cylinder, turbocharged diesel engine and has what’s needed to handle these conditions: 360 hp (265 kW) and 1106 Ib ft (1500 Nm) of torque, ensuring plenty of power.
“We need the high horsepower the Trakker provides because we can tow three and four axle trailers behind them. Those are 40-odd tonne and that’s why we like high horsepower trucks,” Dean said.
In addition, Dean said his drivers are very happy with the levels of comfort the Trakkers deliver. The cabs have many of the ergonomic features of IVECO's on-road models and are designed to lessen fatigue on the driver and passenger, particularly after long periods driving in tough terrain.
“They are very smooth riding and very quiet in the cab. Probably the quietest trucks I’ve owned,” he said.
Dean said switching to the IVECO Trakkers has proven to be a good business decision. He said the simple fact they are reliable and therefore have minimal downtime has been a big plus for Brooks Spreading. On top of that, he was quick to praise the after-sales support he has received from IVECO.
“They’ve been excellent to deal with. The service we’ve got from IVECO and New Zealand trucks has been exceptional,” he said.