Feeding machine delivers the goods while saving money


Unit does the work of three | Storti Doberman replaces tractor, ration mixer and loader

WOODSTOCK, Ont. — Dealers readily admit the Storti Doberman isn’t a solution for every cattle operation. However, an Italian company says it has a solution for those who measure the economics of their farm operations in hours of productivity or where labour is in short supply.

Storti makes a self-propelled combination bunk facing, feed loading and twin screw ration mixer that can drive up to 35 km-h in its high-speed version.

Reto Ammann of Storti was in Canada to show off the machine at the Outdoor Farm Show in Wood-stock, Ont., earlier this fall.

The green machine with the sleekly curved cab drew a lot attention at the show.

Ammann said two Ontario farms are using the new machines: a beef feeder near Sarnia and a larger dairy operation.

“It replaces a wheel loader, a mixing wagon and a tractor with one machine,” he said.

The units cost $150,000 to $250,000, depending on capacity and options.

“It’s more than just replacing machines and having to climb on and off of units,” he said.

“It is also about smart loading with the Doberman measuring your silage as you fill. The wheel loader is always an estimate of the ration. This is exact.”

The silage loader arm can cut from the ground, up to five metres high on the face of a large silage bunk. The Rexroth pump driven loader can cut while moving up or down.

The knives on the loader drum feed an 80 centimetre wide conveyor belt. A special hopper can be accessed electronically from the cab to add small quantities of concentrates or other products to the load.

The two largest models of the vertical mixer, with capacities of 20 and 24 cubic metres, are driven by 175 and 190 horsepower Deutz engines. A two speed gearbox allows for a wide range of screw speeds.

“You can get rapid mixing, or very careful control, especially with the (hydraulically controlled) counter knives,” Ammann said.

Karl Terpstra of Newtech in Mitchell, Ont., has sold two of the machines.

“These really aren’t for every farmer, but for those who are building a new operation or have to make some new investments in a pay loader or a tractor, or are looking to save money by saving time, the machines are a good investment,” he said.

The machines have a lower r.p.m. operating mode that reduces the engine speed to its highest torque range while in transport, about 1,600 r.p.m., while still allowing them to travel at their maximum road speeds.

Integrated scales mean rations can be created repeatedly and reliably. Moisture levels can be evaluated on the go and an optional dry matter content analyzer can provide ration control while the operator remains in the cab.

Ammann said those tools could save producers money on feed costs and reduce the “guess work that accompanies most feeding situations.”

The machine creates feeding reports that can be transferred to an office computer.

The Doberman can push feed out from either side, and an optional feed conveyor with greater reach is available.

He said the beef feeder in Sarnia calculated the costs of his pull-type TMR mixer and wheel loader at $112 per operating hour. The self-propelled, all-in-one unit works out to $80 per hour and reduced the time spent feeding by 30 percent.

Terpstra said it also means one fewer machine needs to be kept warm in the winter.

“It keeps hours off of tractors and loaders that sit idling,” he said.

“For some producers this is the right fit.”