AFIA is seeking financial contributions from the fodder industry to fund a project with the goal of allowing the fodder industry to access Higher Mass Limits (HML) for the transportation of hay. We are aiming to raise $30,000 to fund technical research and then engage with both state and federal transport regulators to see access to HML for hay implemented in all states.

This project will also aid in creating one national set of hay transport regulations by bringing all of the state regulators to the table. Both the NHVR and VicRoads have indicated support for this project which will assist in getting the other states on board.

We are looking for contributions from all sectors of the fodder industry; transporters, exporters, contractors and growers.


AFIA has a strong history of managing projects that deliver real change for the hay industry. This is especially true when it comes to transport. In 2008 AFIA coordinated the “Assessment of Vehicles for the Transport of Hay and Straw” research project, the work that underpins the current over dimensional allowances for hay.

This research project generated information that allowed AFIA to lobby state transport regulators to amend regulations to ensure the fodder industry could safely and efficiently transport hay. While the ultimate goal of getting all states to adopt one set of hay transport regulations was not achieved in in this process, large gains were made for industry. AFIA now has an opportunity build on these improvements by carrying out further research. This work will have two key goals:

1.     To demonstrate that hay can be safely transported at Higher Mass Limits (HML)

2.     To set the scene for getting the states to commit to one set of harmonised hay transport regulations.

Higher Mass Limits (HML)

Currently a number of industries have access to HML in Australia. This enables transport operators to operate at higher mass limits providing they meet some additional requirements. As it stands, the fodder industry does not have access to these mass limits however, with an increase in the use of high density balers there is an opportunity to deliver a large productivity gain to the our industry.

Under HML a standard single prime mover and trailer combination mass increases from 42.5 tonnes to 45.5 tonnes and a standard B Double increases from 62.5 tonnes to 68.0 tonnes.

While there are a number of variations based on the specifications of the truck and trailer combination it can be simplified to an extra 3 tonne for semi-trailers and an additional 5.5 tonne for b doubles.

Operation at HML weights requires the vehicle to be operated under the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme (NHVAS) “Mass Management” Accreditation Module. Many AFIA members are already participating in Mass Management for grain transport.

It is estimated that the administrative effort required to support Mass Management equates to one hour per vehicle per week, not seen as being significant in comparison to the benefits.

Why HML for Hay?

Access to HML will see a reduction in trucks on the road and deliver productivity savings to industry. Below are some examples of what this means financially to the fodder industry;

·       Estimates based on conservative savings of $5* per tonne and a 20% uptake in the export sector alone will see $7,250,000 go back into the SA economy.

·       A semitrailer doing two loads a week at HML over a one year period would move an additional 300 tonnes of hay. This translates to approximately 7 loads. The savings returned to the transport operator over this period based on a saving of $5 per tonne add up to $22500.

·       A b double doing two loads of hay a week at HML over a one year period would move an additional 600 tonnes of hay. This translates to approximately 14 loads of hay.  The savings returned to the transport operator over this period based on a saving of $5 per tonne add up to $47000.


*the $5 per tonne is cost saving is based on increased tonnages being transported with limited additional running costs.


HML has successfully been introduced for other sectors such as grains. To progress getting access to HML for hay the work done in 2008 needs to be expanded to allow it to account for higher bale weights. AFIA has identified the right people to carry out the work and we are now seeking financial contributions from industry to carry out the research.


With the research completed we then plan to present the research findings to the state transport regulators and ministers seeking their commitment to implement it in their state. At the same time we will also put the case for this to be adopted nationally through the NHVR as part of a national set of hay and straw transport notices.


When do we start?

Our current goal is for the hay industry to have access to HML for the 2016 hay season. AFIA has started the process talking to the transport regulators and has identified the appropriate researchers for the job who can complete the technical aspects of the project relatively quickly. We now need to secure the funding to ensure that we can properly fund the research.


How to help?

For more information or to make a financial contribution to the HML for Hay project contact Darren Keating, AFIA EO at or 03 9670 0523