Quadriplegic farmer, Rob Cook, has purchased a Fuso Heavy truck and a Moore Trailers dog trailer for his family’s cattle operations in South East Queensland.
The former rodeo champion was reported to be left a quadriplegic after a helicopter crash on a Northern Territory station in 2008. He and his wife, Sarah, operate three cattle properties and recently opened their own butcher shop in Bundaberg.
Commercial vehicle manufacturer, Fuso, said that Rob Cook had been paying a fortune for sub-contractors to move cattle between properties, and as his wife has a multi-combination licence, invested in a new rigid cattle truck specification Fuso Heavy at Westco Trucks in Mackay.
Rob Cook arranged for original equipment manufacturer, Moore Trailers, near Toowoomba, to build a custom dog trailer.
“Because the truck has rear airbags, we just built an A-frame at the same height as the truck, so you can just dump the airbags and drive out from under the stock crate, making it easy and versatile for shifting equipment between farms,” he told Fuso.
Running without the trailer, Operations Manager, Matt Orgill, can help move machinery and feed, including 10-tonne batches of molasses lick, while Sarah Cook takes over when the jobs require the use of the dog trailer.
“It really is no effort to drive,” she told Fuso. “It’a easy. I was a bit worried going out for the first time with the dog trailer up the Bruce Highway, but it was ok.”
The Heavy is reported to run a Daimler-sourced 12-litre six-cylinder that makes 400hp.
Rob Cook told Fuso that he was forced to change the way he farmed and has adopted smarter techniques. He uses electro-hydraulic farm gates, Bluetooth positioning sensors, voice recognition software, telemetry and cattle dogs.
He is able to do much of the work from his electric wheelchair, and Sarah is at his side for many of the active parts of operations and drives him between stations in a customised 4x4 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van. Rob can traverse some of the paddocks with his off-road electric wheelchair, but is having a special all-terrain vehicle modified so he can go further.