Freight

Cover of Future Challenges of Changing Agricultural Equipment
Future Challenges of Changing Agricultural Equipment
  • Publication no: AP-R521-16
  • ISBN: 978-1-925451-20-7
  • Published: 1 July 2016

This report investigates the policy challenges presented by the operation of agricultural vehicles on public roads in Australia and New Zealand.

The research identifies agricultural industry trends and suggests the most likely future scenario will see incremental increases in the average physical size and mass of most equipment, driven primarily by economic forces and the need for greater productivity.

The project reviewed jurisdictions’ policies on agricultural vehicle mass and dimensions, identified discrepancies between the policies and the current/future agricultural fleet, and conducted technical assessments to investigate the impacts.

The report recommends that the current limitations and variations in existing policies should be addressed as a priority, not only to ensure that the risks are managed, but also to provide greater clarity and certainty to the agricultural industry. Limits and requirements should be harmonised across jurisdictions to the greatest extent possible, in a similar manner that has been achieved in the conventional heavy vehicle industry since the creation of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

The research findings can be used by jurisdictions to develop policies that will allow current and future agricultural equipment from local and overseas markets to be operated on public roads without undue additional risk to safety and infrastructure. The findings also allow the industry to make better informed decisions regarding future equipment purchases, and its operation within the bounds of jurisdictional policy.

  • Summary
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms
  • 1. Introduction
    • 1.1. Background
      • 1.1.1. Relatively high axle load, gross mass, and gross combination mass
      • 1.1.2. Potential operation of laden vehicles on public roads
      • 1.1.3. Impacts of high-flotation tyres and vehicles fitted with tracks
      • 1.1.4. Potential for reduced braking performance
      • 1.1.5. Relatively large overall dimensions
      • 1.1.6. Projections from agricultural equipment
      • 1.1.7. Potential speed differential, and night travel
      • 1.1.8. Conventional heavy vehicles or passenger vehicles used in agricultural combinations
      • 1.1.9. Lack of a maximum towing rating for some equipment
      • 1.1.10. Modifications to vehicles and equipment
      • 1.1.11. Minimum levels of safety equipment
      • 1.1.12. Agricultural vehicle operator licensing
    • 1.2. Project scope
    • 1.3. Achievement of project objectives
      • 1.3.1. Stage 1
      • 1.3.2. Stage 2
      • 1.3.3. Stage 3
    • 1.4. Report structure
  • 2. Future Changes to Agricultural Equipment
    • 2.1. Industry trends influencing equipment size
      • 2.1.1. Economic forces
      • 2.1.2. Developments in agricultural techniques and technology
    • 2.2. Catalogue of technical specifications for future agricultural equipment
      • 2.2.1. Tractors
      • 2.2.2. Harvesters
      • 2.2.3. Powered and unpowered boom sprayers
      • 2.2.4. Cotton pickers
      • 2.2.5. Combs
      • 2.2.6. Comb trailers
      • 2.2.7. Tillers/drill seeders and air carts
      • 2.2.8. Augers
      • 2.2.9. Field and chaser bins
      • 2.2.10. Silage trailers
    • 2.3. Summary of how agricultural equipment is expected to change in the future
  • 3. Review of Jurisdictions’ Policies
    • 3.1. Mass limits
    • 3.2. Dimension limits
    • 3.3. Braking performance requirements
    • 3.4. Additional safety requirements
    • 3.5. Night travel
    • 3.6. Discrepancies between current policies and future equipment
      • 3.6.1. Mass
      • 3.6.2. Towed mass ratios
      • 3.6.3. Length of single vehicles and implements
      • 3.6.4. Width
      • 3.6.5. Combination length
      • 3.6.6. Height
      • 3.6.7. Rear overhang
      • 3.6.8. Braking performance requirements
    • 3.7. Safety and infrastructure impacts of the discrepancies
    • 3.8. Treatment of agricultural vehicles in other countries
  • 4. Assessing the Potential Impacts
    • 4.1. Pavement wear and bridge effects
      • 4.1.1. Subject vehicles
      • 4.1.2. Reference vehicle
      • 4.1.3. ESA results
      • 4.1.4. MERRV results
    • 4.2. Braking performance
    • 4.3. Rollover threshold
    • 4.4. Swept path and tail swing
      • 4.4.1. Subject vehicles
      • 4.4.2. Reference vehicles
      • 4.4.3. Swept path and tail swing results
    • 4.5. Analysis of crash data
      • 4.5.1. South Australia
      • 4.5.2. Queensland
      • 4.5.3. New South Wales
      • 4.5.4. Victoria
      • 4.5.5. Tasmania
      • 4.5.6. Summary of findings from the crash data
  • 5. Discussion, Recommendations and Further Research
    • 5.1. Summary of current jurisdictional policy approaches
    • 5.2. Discrepancies between policies and current/future equipment
    • 5.3. Potential impacts of current and future agricultural equipment
    • 5.4. Recommended policy changes
      • 5.4.1. Dimension limits
      • 5.4.2. Axle load and gross mass limits
      • 5.4.3. Operating agricultural vehicles when laden
      • 5.4.4. Braking performance levels
      • 5.4.5. The use of passenger vehicles in agricultural combinations
    • 5.5. Next steps for the NHVR and jurisdictions
  • References
  • Appendix A Examples of Agricultural Vehicles
  • Appendix B List of Industry Associations and Contact Details
  • Appendix C MERRV Results