Nestled in the countryside on an island just outside Stockholm, Menhammar Stuteri is one of Sweden’s most well-known and oldest stud farms.

But far from being traditional, this forward-looking enterprise has its sights firmly fixed on a sustainable future – and is turning to electric tractors and machines.

With over 1,800 hectares of land, 700 hectares of which are set aside for horse pasture, and agricultural land, there are always plenty of jobs to be done around Menhammar.

Home to around 300 horses, plus 50 cows and 25 sheep, the farm breeds, trains and sells top-class trotting horses. It boasts its own racetracks and is one of the largest horse breeders in Europe. Providing an environment where its animals – and people – can flourish is a top priority.

Living and breathing sustainability

The farm is part of the family-owned Soya Group, with companies active in shipping, retail estate, stud and farm and water purification. All have a strong sustainability focus, making electric machines a natural fit, a meeting of minds. Both share a commitment to leading the transformation of their respective industries.

The farm now has three Volvo L25 electric wheel loaders, which are being used across the farm in a variety of ways, from shifting feed and hay for the cows and horses, to mucking out the stables and general materials handling.

They also have a sweeper that they can quickly and easily attach for cleaning. The ability to use the machines both inside and out – without the risk of harmful emissions to people or the animals – is superb.

Electric machinery emits no fumes.

Ulf Segerström, Operations Manager at Menhammar, says, “Here at Menhammar, we’re proud of our pioneering spirit and approach to environmental and social responsibility. We’re on a journey to becoming a fossil-free site so switching to electric machines makes sense. Their near silent and zero emission operation makes them ideal for working near our horses and livestock. We can get closer to them without causing any unnecessary stress.”

Ulf continues, “We’re really impressed with the battery life of the electric machines, which enable us to get jobs around the farm done quickly and efficiently, all without disturbing the animals. They’re much more comfortable for our employees to operate and work alongside too. All-in-all, it makes for a much more peaceful and clean work environment.”

Putting nature first

Conserving the landscape is a priority at Menhammar. The land here has been farmed for 800 years and ensuring it is still around for future generations to enjoy is a big commitment. The farm works hard to provide birds, game, insects, and plants with the right conditions to support biodiversity. Plant nutrients are circulated in the form of horse manure to arable land.

A pond, built in 2019, captures phosphorous from horse manure deposited in pastures and fields, preventing it from being transported via rainwater to ditches and streams that feed into Lake Mälaren. The pond has reduced the quantity of phosphorus reaching the lake by between 60 and 80%.

The welfare of animals and people is truly valued at Menhammar.

The tractors run on hydrotreated vegetable oil (HVO100), a biofuel, in an initiative that has saved almost 420,000kg CO2 emissions in 2022, whilst the quad bikes are electric. The farm also produces 100% of its own heating and energy via a combination of solar panels – which contributed 209,606 kWh in 2022 - and a biofuel plant which turns horse manure and woodchips into heat, providing a further 1,600,000kWh.

The welfare of its people too, is a priority at Menhammar, with many of the farm’s 55-strong team of staff living on the estate. A communal kitchen garden and outdoor gym are just some of the benefits provided.

Kate Andersson, electromobility marketing manager at Volvo CE, says, “When you visit Menhammar, you can see and feel that they are serious about sustainability. They really want to make a difference, and that is really inspiring. They know that the investments they make today will secure the future of the stud farm for years to come, for future generations.

“We sometimes see an initial reluctance by machine operators to switch to electric, most likely because of a fear of the unknown, but there was not a trace of this at Menhammar, instead the change has been embraced with positivity and enthusiasm.

Menhammar is showing the significant role electric tractors and machinery can have in the farming and equestrian industries where reputations rely on the wellbeing of livestock and horses - helping them to decarbonise and meet their sustainability ambitions.

Let’s see how many equine farms in Ireland follow suit.