Actros ticks all the right boxes for family-run operation

Farming is very much a family business for the Wolthuis family, which recently welcomed a new Mercedes-Benz truck to its operation in Victoria’s Wimmera region.

During the harvest, the whole family pitches in. Joanne Wolthuis, 21, drives the combine harvester that harvest wheat, barley, faba beans, canola and lentils, while her 19-year-old brother Tonnis drives a tractor with chaser bin to collect it all and keep the harvester going.

Their father Ceus (pronounced ‘say-us’) drives the new Actros 2663 B-double tipper set, which is used to bring the harvested grain back to the silos at their main property and to other collection sites in the region.

His wife Petra does the critical book-keeping and scheduling as well, as cooking meals and providing other support functions for the 2200 hectare operation.

The family was making do with a single truck, a European model with 460hp, and Ceus decided to add another truck in time for the most recent harvest, which started in November.

He eventually settled on an Actros. Ceus wanted a truck with more horsepower and decided to go “over the top” and select a 2663, which has 16-litre engine that produces 630hp.

Ceus, who comes from a farming family and operated a farm in The Netherlands before coming to Australia in 2001, has never been dedicated to any particular brand. He says he runs a ‘rainbow’ farm, which means having equipment from many different brands in many different colours, including Case red to Fendt and John Deere green.

When it came to the new truck, he needed one that would be ready in time for the harvest, had a good amount of power and had advanced technology and safety.

The Actros ticked all the boxes and was also able to be provided by and supported by Wilson Bolton, a dealership less than half an hour away in Horsham.

he new Actros 2663 B-double tipper set, which is used to bring the harvested grain back to the silos at their main property and to other collection sites in the region. Image: Daimler Truck Australia Pacific

Ceus didn’t just want a plain farm truck though, he had the fuel tanks painted black, optioned a black bull-bar and even went for black wheels. The end result is a mean-looking machine with plenty of presence.

“I like my European trucks and I really like the look of the Mercedes-Benz truck,” Ceus says.

He has been impressed by the way the 630hp engine and 12-speed automated manual transmission (AMT) perform and likes the large information screens and easy to use driver controls.

“It’s like I’m sitting in a car with all these comfort features, the screens and the AMT. It makes it all a lot easier,” he says.

The Actros has been set up for mass management and will operate with a Gross Combination Mass (GCM) of 68.5 tonnes fully loaded.

A strong proponent of improving farm safety, Ceus is thrilled the Actros comes standard with a high degree of active and passive safety items, as well as features aimed at reducing fatigue.

He is surprised that some trucks come with so few of the safety features that are standard on the Actros, including the Advanced Emergency Braking System, called Active Drive Assist, that uses radar and camera technology to automatically brake the truck if the driver has not seen an impending collision.

“The idea of having a truck that could run into someone and injure and kill them when you can buy one with technology that can do stop that from happening, or reduce the impact, seem strange to me,” he says.

“This Mercedes-Benz has got all the safety gear you can get and that is really assuring,” he says.

Challenging weather meant that this harvest took longer than usual and only wound up in early January, but the Actros didn’t miss a beat.

“It has been really good and we are very pleased with the decision to go with the Actros,” Ceus says.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Send this to a friend