Supertino, a manufacturer based in northern Italy, is testing its newly-developed 100% electric-powered, self-propelled diet feeder.

Fitted with a 100kW electric motor, the company says that the machine is otherwise similar to its ‘conventional’ diesel-powered models; it uses the same chassis, (hydrostatic) transmission and gearboxes.

The machine has a capacity of 21m³ and employs a twin-auger mixer configuration. It will be known as the Electra 21.

According to the firm, a diet feeder (or mixer wagon) is an ideal agricultural machine to be 100% electrically-powered. It reasons that, because the machine is typically based in one location (i.e. in a large yard on one big farm), it’s easy to keep it charged up – as it’s always close to a power outlet. This contrasts with the case of, say, a tillage tractor; it might spend whole days and nights away from the yard in far off fields or on an out-farm.

The prototype is currently undergoing testing; it is hoped that these machines will be available for sale commercially later this year.

Key selling points, says the company, will include zero CO2 emissions, reduced maintenance (due to the electric motor having fewer moving and wearing parts than a diesel engine) and significantly reduced running costs (on the basis that the required electricity will cost less than the diesel that would otherwise be needed).

Another claimed advantage is reduced noise – as the electric motor throws out less chatter than an oil-burning diesel powerplant. This, says Supertino, is useful when working around livestock and in enclosed spaces. The Italian manufacturer reasons that it will cause less stress for surrounding animals and less fatigue for the operator – and anybody working in the vicinity of the machine.

Founded in 1960…and growing

Founded in 1960 by Augusto Supertino, the Italian company is still growing today.

The firm currently operates from a facility covering 15,000m²; it manufactures a varied range of agricultural machinery including balers, wrappers, zero-grazers, spreaders and, of course, diet feeders (mixer wagons). As yet, the company has no official importer or distributor in Ireland.