HOME IN TIME FOR HARVEST: TURFCO GROWS ISUZU FLEET

Nov 02, 2023 4min read

General Manager Marcus Rogers and his son, Denver

Opening their doors for the first time back in 1987, Turfco is a family run business thriving in the beautiful green pastures of the picturesque town of Berry, NSW. Here they harvest lush, premium turf to deliver using the help of their Isuzu fleet and their new FYJ 300-350 twin steer truck.

Hauling turf isn’t easy work; variable weather and moisture levels can cause difficult conditions on the farm, meaning the weight of a truck filled with product is never a set number for Turfco.

“In favourable weather, a pallet of turf can weigh around 600 kg but in wet weather, which has been pretty prevalent the last few years, it can get up to 1.8-tonnes.”

With an eye to future business growth, Turfco’s General Manager, Marcus Rogers, decided the fleet could use the help of a vehicle that had payload capacity to handle the rainy season and ease the burden of unpredictable weather for the business.

He visited Dwyers Truck Centre in Coniston, New South Wales and after meeting with Sales Dealer Grant Walker, took a brand-new Isuzu FYJ 300-350 Auto twin-steer truck back to the farm.

Featuring a GVM of 30,000 kg and a hefty GCM of 45,000 kg, the FYJ 300-350 8x4 is capable of carrying huge quantities of turf or anything else that needs transporting for Turfco.

The FYJ twin steer model was specifically chosen for its weight bearing and load sharing advantages, with four axles providing the advantage of more flexible weight distribution and stability than smaller trucks in their existing fleet.

The FYJ’s 6-cylinder engine packs plenty of punch with an output of 257 kW @ 2,000 rpm and maximum torque of 1,422 Nm @ 1,400 rpm. The truck is also well protected with ABS braking, a Front Underrun Protection Device (FUPD), and a load sharing front suspension equaliser with shock absorber fitted as standard.

Marcus noted that Turfco had been using a variety of Isuzu Trucks product for decades at this point, first starting the fleet with second-hand Isuzu SBRs before buying their first brand new truck in 2002.

The fleet has since expanded to five trucks, all purchased from their local Isuzu dealership, whom they’ve done business since the late 90s.

With bigger payloads meaning fewer trips, the Turfco staff are delighted to have their new Isuzu truck making things move more quickly, increasing their overall efficiency.

“With our new twin steer FYJ, we can get more grass on the back than ever before,” said Marcus.

“This means fewer trips and a shorter workday for everyone, which makes life a lot easier!”

THE LONG HAUL

A family business starts when everyone comes together to tackle a common goal, but it can excel when the doors are thrown open to a valued team. Turfco have exercised this principle to good effect, retaining a long-serving staff team that keeps their years of experience at home on the farm.

With more than a third of the staff having joined over ten years ago (and retirement being the main cause of most staff leaving the farm) it’s safe to say they’ve put in the effort to create a welcoming workplace.

“You spend so much of your life at work, if you can make it a nice environment to be in, you hope that people will stick around a bit longer,” said Marcus.

“We’re a family business and we certainly try to treat every member of staff like extended family too.”

One long running team member, Norm, even has his own timber mill called ‘Normill’, which the farm uses to produce pallets in winter when the fields are quiet.

EYES ON THE FUTURE

A business can’t keep the lights on as long as Turfco has without a deep understanding of their product, expert knowledge of the conditions required for ideal turf and the desire to keep their customers satisfied.

They have managed this by keeping up to date with market trends and innovating to stay ahead of their competitors.

“The whole operation is basically paperless,” said Marcus.

“Everything is done on apps, all the way down to our trucks—all of our Isuzu trucks have trackers in them, which give us automated ETAs to pass on to customers.

“I think our point of difference is rooted in our service to customers… we like to show people that we appreciate them.”

THE TURFCO COWS

If every business has one special thing to set them aside from the herd, the Turfco Cows have to be one of the most joyful and endearing markers for this home grown business.

A community favourite and perennially visible from the Princes Highway, the unofficial mascot cows are painted for any occasion that tickles the fancy of business owner (and resident artist) Scott Parker.

“Most recently he was getting them ready for the release of the Barbie movie,” laughed Marcus.

“It's just something fun we do to engage the community and ties in with lots of other things we do for the community and charity groups.”

LENDING A HAND

On top of their active involvement in their local community and charities, Turfco also believe in education. A recent event saw the doors to the farm cast open to allow customers to learn more about the growing and harvesting processes and the work that goes into consistently producing their high quality of grass.

“We do lots of educational days on the farm for our customers as well,” explained Marcus.

“We had one early in July which saw about 130 of our commercial customers come on the farm and learn about different types of grass applications, the machinery we use, and we had our full line-up of Isuzu trucks on display there as well.”

With more clients coming on board all the time, Turfco and their partnership with Isuzu is hopefully set to grow like their turf—for a long time coming.

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