JOHN NICOLETTI –
Cat Trucks biggest prime mover, the heavy duty CT630HD, has been chosen to spearhead a large grain operation in Western Australia.
As the western harvesting season begins, the 130 tonne road train spec Cat Truck is hauling large payloads of bulk grain in the Nicoletti Group of Company’s operations, mostly centred in the heart of the WA wheat belt.
Eight Cat Trucks in the combined fleets are meeting the demands of the Nicoletti operation.
Principal John Nicoletti says today his family-owned operation is farming around 300,000 acres in the central wheat belt.
“We have 40,000 hectares of crop and run 12 harvesters. We have to shift the grain in a hurry because if it gets down-graded it costs us money. You can’t get contract trucks at harvest time so we run our own fleet,” Mr Nicoletti says.
The Nicoletti business model is vertically integrated, giving full control of the production and marketing process to the Nicolettis, from planting seed stock to marketing on a global scale.
Transport is an important link in that complete integration.
However Julie Nicoletti says successful vertical integration is not for everybody.
“You’ve got to be big to make it work. To own big trucks you have to have the capability of having (grain) storage so that trucks can work all year round,” Mrs Nicoletti says.
The Nicolettis also own and run a chain of agricultural implement dealerships selling and supporting tractor, harvester and the farming machinery required in the wheat belt.
Two Cat Trucks run in the dealership operation, including a brand new, second CT630HD that is used on heavy lifts of machinery the length and breadth of Australia.
The CT630HD gives us the tonnage we’ve never been able to claim before with its 131 tonne rating.
John Nicoletti has been running Cat Trucks for six years.
“We bought a couple of the first ones and they have been performing really well. All I can say to you is that if you are happy with something you stick with it. And we are happy with them and they are reasonably priced. They are reliable,” Mr Nicoletti says.
Part of the reason for investing in Cat Trucks, John Nicoletti says, is the support fromWestern Australian distributors, WesTrac, and in particular truck salesman Peter Calligaro.
“We’ve been dealing with Peter for a long time, WesTrac does a great job, the trucks are reliable and for what we do, they work well,” he says.
WesTrak’s Peter Calligaro is excited about the advantages that the heavy duty truck offers operators.
“The CT630HD gives us the tonnage we’ve never been able to claim before with its 131 tonne rating. This truck gives the grain guys the opportunity to be able to utilise the C Train. With the previous 90 tonne ratings, we couldn’t get into that field. This truck has been a big asset to us in the West,” says Peter Calligaro.
John and Julie Nicoletti started married life in Merredin a generation ago with, as Julie puts it, “Two hundred dollars in our pockets and a dream. John had a dream to have 100 thousand acres and 20 thousand sheep.”
The Nicolettis were to go on and quadruple that seemingly unattainable dream to become the biggest grain growers in Australia.
In spite of recent ‘down sizing’ of their property interests, the Nicolettis are still major players in grain growing.
As part of the complete integration of the operation, the Nicolettis have invested heavily in grain storage allowing flexibility in working the market and keeping trucks busy throughout most of the year rather than just at harvest time, a period measured in weeks.
“We’ve had good truck drivers over the years and to keep them we need to keep them busy all year round. Grain storage and our trucks work vertically together and we have been delivering grain down to various flour mills around Perth, keeping the whole operation ticketty boo!”