Trucking‘s hayday

8 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineMarch 8, 2019

Life is best when communities unite and come together in support of those dealt a rough hand, something rural folk know best. The recent Nelson Fire Hay Convoy was a supreme example of unity in adversity.

Photo: Carriers from the Nelson region lined up to get feed home to their farmers in need. Solly‘s Freight Ltd storming north out of Christchurch.

“My friend Frannie [Francis Dick] in Nelson phoned me and I could tell she was distressed. Her animals had no feed and the fire cordons meant there was no way of getting feed to them,” said Paule Crawford. “She wasn‘t the only one affected either.”
A rural girl herself, with farming a huge part of her life, Paule decided to swing into action from her home in Mid- Canterbury and do her bit to help Frannie with the mounting crisis.

Photo: Messages on the bales had people tooting and waving and received the thumbs up from road work gangs.

At that moment she had a thought and started doing what rural folk do when there‘s a genuine need – tapping into networks. She phoned Nigel Young at Quality Feeds and Contracting Ltd in Timaru and asked if he knew of any feed that might be available to support the folk in Nelson. “Give me five, I‘ll ring you back,” was the reply. Nigel phoned back all right; he‘d found 120 round bales. ‘Hell! Okay, who next?‘ thought Paule. With that she got on the phone to her cobber Baz Hill, who worked at Mid Canterbury Baling Ltd.
“Baz! How many unit loads is 120 round bales?” “Ooooh, about four,” was the reply. After establishing with Frannie, Nigel and Baz that a truckload was doable, Paule rang Federated Farmers Feedline to check if they wanted feed. They certainly did, and local Farmlands sales manager Frazer Clarke was seconded as Feedline coordinator and told Paule to “send everything you‘ve got”.

Photo: Darryl and Anita Campbell on the Lewis – ‘Magnesium P.I.‘

Photo: The Oversize Pilot‘s NH Volvo on the final leg into Richmond. A big wave sums up the mood surrounding the whole project.

“I must have been crazy,” laughs Paule. “It just snowballed. I can‘t get over the people; those who donated feed, the trucking companies, those who provided yards. Every time we phoned and said what we were doing people just wanted to help. They wanted to help other people.” Farmers Todd and Julie Smyth were the single largest donators of feed, and Nigel Young‘s Timaru yard was effectively the southern staging point. Nigel himself was the second largest benefactor. Protranz Earthmoving‘s yard in Christchurch quickly became the northern hub after Gerard and Mike Daldry put their hands up to help. During the week up to 17 February there wasn‘t much in the way of sleep for Paule and her merry band of helpers. As the size of the operation grew, so did the coordination task. “We kept in contact daily with Frazer and the Federated Farmers team to advise what we had and what was to be sent each day. We staggered loads to ease unloading pressure at the other end, as we weren‘t the only ones donating feed. We could put the brakes on any load if required. However, Federated Farmers wanted the lot to help the farmers through that critical three- to four-week post-event period.” Over the course of the week 23 trucks from 12 companies covered 17,784km, carting 267 tonne of product.

Photo: The Volvo FM Johnny McCormick drives for Mid Canterbury Baling Ltd almost ready to leave ex Christchurch.

Photo: (From left) Mid Canterbury Baling driver Johnny McCormick, the tireless Paule Crawford, and her right-hand man and expert truck wrangler Bazz Hill.

“We cut feed donations off on the Tuesday afternoon, I could see it getting past our ability to manage the transport. We even had 24 tonne of magnesium fertiliser donated,” said Paule. “The product mostly went to the Richmond Showgrounds, with three loads delivered direct to farms. The whole thing was done and dusted in seven days start to finish, with five days for logistics. “I can‘t thank all those involved enough. Where do you start? Everyone reading this who pitched in and got involved, you have our heartfelt thanks. You are all heroes. I‘ve received calls from farmers in the Nelson area affected by the fire, and now in a drought situation, thanking everyone who came to their aid.”

Photo: Protranz Earthmoving loading ex-Timaru

Photo: Hilton Haulage loading at Nigel Young‘s Quality Feeds and Contracting Ltd in Timaru.

Photo: Talley‘s Group jumped in to help.

Photo: Wilson Bulk Transport Ltd loading out of Todd and Julie Smyth‘s property. They were the single largest donors of feed.

The Legends List
Everyone who so generously donated their precious feed

Mid Canterbury Baling Ltd – Johnnie McCormick
Mid Canterbury Baling Ltd – Fergus Wakelin, Neville Nelson
Quality Feeds and Contracting – Nigel Young, Oli Austin
Protranz Earthmoving – Gerard and Mike Daldry
Talley‘s Group – Hayden Reed
Hilton Haulage – Justin Hardacre, Chris Gard
Wilson Bulk Transport – Heath Little
The Oversize Pilot – Al Giddens
Solly‘s Freight – Ed and Merv Solly, Mike, Barry and Willy
NZ Trucking Page – Katie
DMH Contracting – Diezal and Mark
Power Farming – Geoff McCabe
Leeding Signs – Jess Snelson
Placemakers Christchurch – Ross Wheelans
Placemakers Wanaka – Rex Smart
Lakeland Hiab Services – Glenn Templeton
Otago Fixers
Allied Petroleum
Ashburton District Council
Todd and Julie Smyth
Hand Loaders – Ryan Pharazyn, Tony Robb, Marga, Garth,
Ethan (A.K.A ‘Ginger‘ – Protranz Earthmoving), and Holly.
Johnny Miller and ‘gun‘ telehandler driver Dara
Guy Hahn and Jake Hahn
Darryl and Anita Campbell
Robynne Naylor
Barbara Kennedy
Mike Ameer