Wayne Davis is a man who takes pride in his work and likes doing it well. Originally, he worked for one of Australia’s leading meat processors at their Mackay plant before it changed hands in the mid-90s. Following some restructuring of the company under the new ownership, redundancy packages were offered to some employees in 1996, and Wayne took one. Faced with the decision of what to do next, Wayne chose to have a go at contract mowing, and, to that effect, he purchased his first tractor that same year. The business has grown to include 18 tractors at present, and in the high season of, roughly, October to June, Wayne is able to give employment to up to 16 people.
Wayne’s fleet of mowing contract tractors do a variety of large scale jobs, including the maintenance of Queensland Rail railway corridors, Ergon Energy access tracks along high voltage power lines and some of the Central Coast section of the Bruce Highway and Peak Downs Highway, in addition to a variety of work for different Regional Councils. The team covers the more than 250 kilometres that separate Proserpine from St Lawrence, south of Mackay, and they may get inland as far as Moranbah, almost 160 kilometres west of Mackay. This type of maintenance work, which may go by largely unnoticed by the general public at times, is not merely cosmetic. On the contrary, it keeps motorists, the community at large and Queensland Rail and Ergon workers safer by improving visibility and reducing hazards, and it can contribute to faster and less dangerous emergency rescue operations, for instance by providing areas where helicopters may land safely.
Wayne’s line of work can have operators sitting in a tractor cabin for 10 or 12 hours a day in the busy season. In that situation, a comfortable environment can make a huge difference, and Wayne says that ‘diesel operation in comfort’ is just one of the reasons why he chose John Deere tractors. This comfort relates not only to the ergonomic seat and other aspects of the inside of the cabin, but also to how quiet it is inside. Wayne likes the fact that, with the Deere’s Bluetooth connectivity and the noise insulation, he can ‘take a phone call in the cab with the motor at full rev and having a normal conversation is no problem’.
When asked what other reasons he has for choosing John Deere, Wayne comments that, initially, he ‘looked around and saw that nearly every successful farmer had a Deere in his shed’. His own experience is that his John Deere tractors are very reliable, a highly valued feature in a business where ‘you can’t afford breakdowns, because it is very hard to catch up later on’. For Wayne, ‘settling for poor quality translates to more expenses in the long run’. He also finds the visibility when operating the machine to be excellent, making his job both easier and safer. Last but not least, the John Deere Full Frame chassis means that he has no problems getting in and out of drains and other difficult places that can ‘flex the machine a lot’.
Wayne takes pride in maintaining his machines. To that effect, he communicates to his operators the short and long term advantages of keeping the cabin clean, the outside ‘clean and polished’ and the engine well maintained, and expects them to work to that standard. They do a lot of the mechanical maintenance themselves, and for breakdowns he has two mobile mechanics, or the equipment can also be brought down to their shed. In all his business dealings, Wayne always does his best to buy locally, supporting other local businesses, and he has found the Vanderfield Mackay dealership to be very reliable, providing whatever parts may be needed in a timely manner and offering good back up.
One of the satisfactions that Wayne has always been able to find in his job is to look back at the end of the day and see the change his work has made, knowing that he has made a positive contribution to his commu- nity. We wish him and his team a very successful and satisfactory upcoming season, and many more to come.