The history of Storti begins in January 1956 in the town of Belfiore in the province of Verona. From that moment on, the ingenuity of its founder, Ottorino Storti, propels the company towards an unstoppable growth that has led it to become a global benchmark in the field of agricultural mechanisation. Innovation has always been one of Storti’s strengths.
During the troubled 40s, Ottorino Storti graduates as a technician and ends up working for the Germans for more than seven months. After the war, he returns to his family in Montagnana (PD), to work in his father’s farming business. In this environment, his brilliant creative intuition begins to take shape, leading him to motorise everything in the company that is operated by hand, improving the performance of tractors and agricultural machinery. With this experience, he began working as a subcontractor in 1950. Towards the end of the summer of 1955, his cousin Giovanni Frigo suggests that he rent a workshop in Belfiore (VR), where the Ottorino Storti company was eventually established in January 1956. The first jobs were focused on repairing agricultural equipment and the management of an “Aquila” fuel pump, with which the workshop was supplied. Following this, Ottorino decides to produce a series of customised slurry tanks for pesticide treatment since the area contains a large number of orchards. In May, he was struck by a very serious illness, which would last until the end of 1956. During the long months of illness, however, the Belfiore workshop does not close because his cousin, Giovanni Frigo – wishing to continue Ottorino’s dream – himself, manages the factory. After a crisis in the early 60s, business continues as usual. In 1966, Ottorino leaves the old rented company to build a new warehouse in Belfiore. Despite continuing efforts Ottorino’s finances look rather gloomy. The market of pesticide treatment equipment in the fruit-growing sector is now saturated. Truth be told, Ottorino is much more inventor than trader and, to pull himself out of the quagmire of stagnation, he begins to analyse the agriculture sector. At that time, several livestock farms had to deal with the need to extract corn silage from trench–bunk silos. It is 1967 and Ottorino Storti builds a prototype of a machine in a very short time that extracts corn silage with little effort, leaving a perfectly vertical surface that is smooth, compact and therefore favourable for a high degree of preservation. The excellent results lead to the invention being patented at the Chamber of Commerce in Verona and later, in all European countries. Moreover, since there is no classification category for this type of machine, Ottorino Storti invents a name: The “PLUTO” silage unloader. The innovative machine is received with great interest by farmers and traders alike, to the point that the well-known “Mengele & Steiner” in Bolzano decides to start a rather intense trade relationship with Ottorino Storti. A new machine is produced in 1968: the MASTINO grass fodder mixer wagon which stands out – compared to the first American mixer wagons – for the functionality of its new mixing tank, new mixing shaft and new transmission. “The idea of these mixer wagons was American,” says Ottorino in a recent interview, “The few Italian farmers who had used them, however, were not happy because they didn’t work very well and had set them aside as a mistaken purchase. I then tried to study the case thoroughly and managed to understand its faults, to improve its features by designing a new mixing tank, a new mixing shaft and a new transmission.” The combination of the PLUTO silage loader and the MASTINO mixer wagon immediately becomes a winning combination – a single operator in just 30-40 minutes is able to feed a considerable number of cattle. To give you an idea of the utility of these two machines, consider that before the advent of these machines, feeding the same number of cattle required three or four people doing at least half a day’s work. Its success is immediate, and sales grow steadily, marking the beginning of a trend that could no longer be curtailed. Given the success of these machines, Ottorino Storti definitively abandons the construction of slurry tanks for pesticide treatment and completely dedicates his time to the production of new machines for agriculture. Official recognition soon follows – during the 1973 Verona Agricultural Fair, the PLUTO silage loader is awarded a gold medal as the best technical innovation.
To tackle the imitations of the technique by a number of unscrupulous competitors but, more importantly, to satisfy the needs of the farmers, Ottorino files new patents, which still revolutionise the livestock feeding mechanisation system. In 1974, DESSILCAR was introduced, the first machine in the world capable of performing three functions: silage loading, mixing and distributing the feed to cattle. It is definitely a leap in quality – a single operator, with the assistance of a tractor and the 4 m³ Dessilcar, is able to feed up to 100 head of cattle in a very short time (approx. fifteen minutes), with a notable reduction in fatigue and management costs. The COCKER is next – a 1 m³ combined (silage unloader-mixer-spreader) machine – and the 3 m³ BRACCO. To be able to cope with the high number of orders for this type of machine, Ottorino Storti founds a new company with his brother, Antonio, in 1975 – FRASTO (Fratelli Storti) S.a.s. based in the town of Albaredo d’Adige (VR), which would produce machines for small farms. STORTI, however, specialises in building machines for medium to large livestock farms. Following the opening of the large, new English market where farmers add large quantities of long hay to shredded corn silage, Ottorino Storti designs and patents a new cutting auger with asymmetrical blades in 1979, which would be called the “Unifeed auger”. This invention, still subject to copying, would be the foundation of Storti’s future success in the construction of its mixer wagons. In early 1982, the disruption of the trade relationship with Mengele & Steiner led Ottorino Storti to formulate a new marketing strategy, a new machine list and a new sales network. Never satisfied, he also designed new machines by launching the first self-propelled mixing-silage unloading wagons on the market: the IDROALANO and IDROMASTINO. During this time, the company begins its own distribution of the range, including on an international scale, beginning with France and England and then moving on to Germany. Meanwhile at FRASTO, Paolo – one of Ottorino’s sons – shows signs of an inventive spirit worthy of his father, with whom he develops a new machine destined to further revolutionise the silage unloader-mixer wagon sector – the Unifeed BOXER. This project employs an innovative feeding system for dairy cows called Unifeed, which is gaining ground because of its indisputable advantages. In essence, Unifeed consists of the simultaneous supply of all elements of the ration – corn silage, the staple feed, is supplemented by other components of the diet (grass silage, hay, flour etc.) that are suitably mixed by a cutter-mixer wagon. From a technical and economic point of view, the advantages that can be achieved by correctly utilising this technique may briefly be summarised as – increase in dry matter ingestion and better use of feed; improvement in milk production both in quantity and in quality; improvement in hygiene and health of cows; more efficient use of company by-products.
READ THE INTERVIEW WITH OTTORINO STORTI