WHILE the methane-reduction spotlight is largely on producers and it is the processing plant so often linked with high-tech gear, the humble livestock transport operator is also making big strides in these type of innovations.
Third-generation Queensland family operation Frasers Livestock Transport has cut its fleet carbon dioxide emissions by 23 per cent, drawn on artificial intelligence in driver safety technology and just earned a prestigious award for setting the benchmark in livestock transport safety and animal handling training.
And that is only the highlights.
It seems it is not just the big corporates implementing environmental, social and governance strategies.
With their 52 trucks, ranging from single trailers to roadtrains, on the road across the country, the Warwick headquartered business has been quietly chipping away with its bespoke sustainability strategies and own-written training programs.
The business, which operates out of five Queensland depots, is approaching 80 years in the game.
Frasers' Athol Carter literally pulled his prime mover up to the stage at this year's Beefex22, the annual Australian Lot Feeders' Association, conference in Brisbane.
He told delegates livestock transport was a unique culture and there were certainly some icons of the road behind the wheel out there.
"But what people probably don't realise is how much goes on behind the scenes to meet market and consumer expectations," he said.
"We would implement ten new 'best practice' changes every single year - ranging from animal welfare improvements and new biosecurity requirements to driver health and safety measures."
The sustainability and environmental advancement program that delivered a rapid fleet enhancement such that more than 70pc of the fleet is now under two years old, thus slashing emissions, was about 'doing our bit in the beef industry's move to CN30', Mr Carter said.
"We need to continuously invest in equipment innovations that meet the challenges of today and tomorrow and carbon neutral is one of the biggest challenges.
"But that is one part of our ESG program. It's coupled with other programs, like our annual Yarn at the Yard safety day where we open our gates to the rest of the supply chain and to our clients.
"Transparency is very important to us and a big part of moving forward with this industry."
So too is adopting new technology, Mr Carter says.
Over the past three years, Frasers has fitted 80pc of its fleet with Guardian by Seeing Machines systems, an in-cab camera tool built on AI that monitors the driver's face and eyes in real time for fatigue and distraction and gives both audible and seat vibration alerts when it detects a possible sign.
"This is real-time intervention that has enormous safety potential," Mr Carter said.
Frasers has also just received the 2022 Queensland Trucking Association's industry award for training and skilling excellence for a training course the business created itself.
"It was designed to increase knowledge of cattle behaviour and improved animal welfare, along with safety of workers - ultimately the safest and most efficient livestock handling possible," Mr Carter said.
More than 150 people have now been put through the course.
"Our drivers are the face of the business. They have huge responsibility and need to be independent and resilient," Mr Carter said.
"They can be in Perth one day, Byron Bay the next - to give you some context of the vast distances we travel."
ALFA president Barb Madden said having carriers who share the values of maintaining animal welfare was critically important to the lot feeding industry.
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