Shifting the silage safely

With safety front-of-mind, Priebbenow Silage switched from tippers to moving floor trailers some years back. The company now owns three BPW Transpec Cargo Floor equipped Barker trailers with a fourth expected to join the fray shortly.

There’s no question that the tipping semi-trailer, widely believed to have been pioneered by August Fruehauf in the aftermath of World War I, was a truly remarkable invention that more than one century on continues to lend itself admirably to a multitude of applications in road transport.

Equally, though, the design has an inherent drawback due to the progressively heightened centre of gravity as it is being tipped. As such, uneven ground or a strong gust of wind perpendicular to it can, in a worst-case scenario, cause the trailer to finish up on its side.
The chance of contacting overhead obstacles such as electricity cables when tipping in fields is another potential hazard which must be mitigated by vigilance on the part of the driver.

It’s these reasons and more that prompted the development of the moving floor trailer which facilitates the discharge of the load while the trailer remains horizontal.

Cleverly, the moving floor system comprises a series of hydraulically actuated aluminium planks which move forward individually and then rearwards together – with the latter action moving the load incrementally rearwards. Each plank then once again moves forward sequentially while the load stays stationary and so the process is rapidly repeated until the load is completely ejected.

Brendan Priebbenow, owner of Priebbenow Silage, believes the moving floor trailer is just the ticket for his silage harvesting and haulage operation that involves plenty of in-paddock work with harvesting machinery discharging the silage directly into the trailers prior to delivery to customers.

The business was established by Brendan’s father Brett at Greenmount near Toowoomba in 1992, initially utilising Mercedes-Benz rigid tippers before transitioning to moving floor trailers as the preferred way of increasing capacity in the operation without going down the semi-tipper path.

“For our operation with the high volume loads we carry the moving floor trailers are a lot safer than semi-tippers,” Brendan says.
“They take about eight minutes to unload which is longer than what a tipper takes, but that is no big deal for us.”
The first Cargo Floor furnished Barker trailer joined the fleet two years ago and was quickly followed by two more, with a fourth expected in the near future.

According to Brendan, the three initial units have performed faultlessly over the past two years which he says is ample evidence that the BPW Transpec Cargo Floor system has been designed and built with reliability and durability at the forefront.
“We can’t afford to be stopped by breakdowns so we need equipment that keeps working as it should with only regular scheduled servicing required,” he says.

This philosophy extends to the trucks also, with the fleet of nine being an all-Kenworth affair including four prime movers – a K104B cab-over along with T404SAR, T650 and T904 conventionals pulling the moving floor trailers and five K104B eight-wheel rigid tippers.

“We’ve standardised on Kenworth for reliability purposes – if you keep the maintenance up to them they just keep going, which is what we need,” Brendan says – adding that the entire fleet is Caterpillar-powered for the same reason.

As for where the equipment was purchased, Brendan says the first Barker Cargo Floor trailer was delivered by Brown and Hurley at Toowoomba where the Kenworths were also bought. However, the subsequent three have been acquired directly from Barker Trailers.

“We have since built a strong relationship with the company and are very happy with the trailers they have supplied.”

Priebbenow Silage continues to grow with the beef cattle industry it supplies, with the company working the entire length of the eastern seaboard starting in the Gulf country in far north Queensland and working right through to Victoria as the season progresses.

Summer crops from January to June consist of forage sorghum and corn while in the second half of the year barley and oats are the predominant crops used for silage.

Brendan predicts his business will continue to grow in synch with the burgeoning beef industry that must keep pace with the world’s seemingly insatiable appetite for prime cuts of meat.

“There’s a huge demand for red meat so we have to keep feeding the animals,” he says simply. “In fact, last year was our biggest year ever.”
Keeping up with this increased demand is the primary reason why reliable equipment is paramount.

With the BPW Transpec Cargo Floor units in the Barker trailers doing their bit to ensure the smooth operation of the business, Priebbenow Silage will continue to meet the growing demand for quality cattle feed in the years ahead.