Business Feature, Earthmoving Industry Insight

Porter Group and Robertson’s Farmgate

Robertson’s Farmgate relies on a fleet of Hyundai and Ammann heavy machinery to ensure its diverse variety of customers continue to receive quality product when it’s needed most

Hyundai HX300L crawler excavator

Robertson’s Farmgate will be a familiar name to many Victorians, especially those routinely chasing surf along the south coast around Torquay. Positioned along the Surf Coast Highway about 17km south of Geelong, the business is a popular stop-in for those looking for premium homeware items, flowers and more.

But behind the scenes, there is much more to this operation than just what is seen at the roadside. Andrew Robertson’s business is also a working farm covering 400 acres/162 hectares, with 20 staff spread across the entire company. Away from the store itself, Andrew and his team’s main focus is processing and supplying organic compost and soil to landscapers and other clients, while the firewood supply side of the business services customers from as far away as the Melbourne suburbs.

It’s an operation that has been growing and evolving for 35 years, with the retail side of the company soon to expand further with a recently announced café addition.

So things are certainly busy, even during the current lockdown restrictions as Robertson’s Farmgate’s role as an organic waste recycler means it is providing an essential service.

Daniel Lloyd operates the Hyundai Robex 35Z-9

Hyundai fleet

Robertson and his operations manager, Daniel Lloyd, say that big machines handle the raw materials quickly, making the entire production process much more efficient.

“We use our Hyundai excavators and wheel loader to turn and mix material during the composting process, as well as load out completed product to our customers,” Lloyd says.

“Our wheel loader is also a vital part of our firewood supply service.”

The Robertson’s Farmgate fleet consists of several machines from Hyundai, sourced through Porter Group, including a new HX300 crawler excavator, R110-9 crawler excavator, an older R35Z-7 mini excavator, and a HL740-9 wheel loader.

“Hyundai machinery gives us solid reliability and good value for money,” Robertson says.

“We work our machines pretty hard, but our team really look after the equipment and that pays dividends for us because we get a lot of consistent performance out of the machines as a result.”

Hyundai has worked hard with its customers to improve the durability of its new HX series excavators, which are engineered using a robust frame structure and now utilise more wear-resistant parts, high-grade high-pressure hydraulic hoses with improved heat and pressure resistance, and reinforced components.

Hyundai HL740-9 wheel loader

Variable Power Control

Hyundai has also debuted a new Variable Power Control system, designed to provide for better fuel efficiency from the Cummins-developed turbo diesel engine. The Variable Power Control system works to improve fuel efficiency, using a three-stage power setting – Power, Standard and Eco – to find a balance between the highest performance and the most efficient fuel burn rate in any job – perfect for an excavator with a varied task list across the course of the working day.

Robertson’s Farmgate’s Hyundai HL740-9 wheel loader, meanwhile, offers up heaped bucket capacity of 2.3 cubic metres and, inside the cab, another variable operating mode system.

Depending on what sort of activity the machine is undertaking, the multi- mode system, which allows for on-the-fly adjustment, gives the wheel loader operator the most efficient mix of engine power and transmission shift depending on whether light- or heavy-duty loading is required.

The machine’s load sensing hydraulic system with a variable volume piston pump and closed centre main control valve also ensure efficient load-specific hydraulic power and additional energy savings. Underneath the machine, an enhanced axle design improves driving over variable ground conditions so, when on the move around the farm, this helps with in-cab comfort and works to reduce material loss from the bucket.

Daniel Lloyd helps Michael Brown in the Ammann ARX 40 roller

Ammann ARX 40

While the Hyundai excavators and wheel loader are all engaged in ensuring Robertson’s Farmgate customers can get the top-quality products they need, the company’s Ammann ARX 40 roller is tasked with making sure those arriving on-site can get in and out without any hold-ups.

“We have an extensive network of tracks and roads around the property, so the roller is extremely useful in helping us maintain these,” Robertson says.

“We have a lot of semi- and B-double truck and trailer units that drive in here, so we actually consider it part of our service offering to the industry if those guys can get their trucks in, load up or load out, and get on their way again without any issues. It sets the tone for the business if our customers know their trucks will travel on well-groomed gravel access ways when they’re on the property; it just helps underline our reputation as a trustworthy operator.

“In that regard, the roller is invaluable. And it’s great to have on the fleet permanently, rather than needing to go hire one every time we need one.”

The Ammann ARX 40 features a drum width of 1,300mm, while its in-line drum set-up enables equal distribution of compaction forces. The roller features an EU Stage V-compliant Kubota engine, an intuitive dashboard layout and reduced sound levels, which helps improve operator comfort in the driver’s seat.

Robertson says that, while his staff are proficient with all things mechanical by nature of their roles, Robertson’s Farmgate relies on distributor Porter Equipment to service the Hyundai and Ammann machinery. And it’s Robertson’s ability to keep tabs on machine service data remotely, among other telemetry, that underscores the benefit of investing in new plant.

“Hyundai’s Hi-Mate system is very handy, and it gives us the ability to track our fleet online, which take a lot of that more manual bookkeeping out of the equation,” he says.

“For example, we can look at the machine’s service history and maintenance log and we can see when its next scheduled service is due.”

Hyundai HL740-9 Wheel Loader


Hi-Mate can also give Hyundai owners and fleet managers reports on engine hours, fuel levels and average fuel burn, time of key-on and key-off, and machine location thanks to GPS satellite technology.

What’s more, the system even allows owners the ability to geo fence their Hyundai machine, meaning that if the machine is moved from within a prescribed location, Hi-Mate alerts the account holder with a notification.

Lloyd says that, between the automated online reporting system and the clear communication the Robertson’s Farmgate team get from Porter Equipment, the after-sales side of the ownership experience works really well for them.

“Porter has been fantastic to deal with, right from the off. We have been Hyundai customers for many years because we like the machines, but things definitely stepped up when Porter Equipment became the distributor,” he says.

“They offer great service, good communication and Keil Davies, who is the Melbourne and Western Victoria sales rep, is a great operator. Between the machines themselves and the people behind the brand here, we couldn’t ask for better.”

Hyundai HX300L crawler excavator

Photography: Cameron Murray

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