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The world’s very first selective asparagus harvesting robot is on its way to its owner

Cerescon dispatches its first Sparter

The very first Sparter, the selective asparagus harvesting machine developed by Cerescon, is on its way to its owner. With it the Dutch high-tech startup rolled out the world’s very first selective asparagus harvesting robot to be sold. The machine is on its way to an asparagus company in France. The name of the machine was kept secret in the three years during which it was developed and assembled in Cerescon’s factory in Heeze, Noord-Brabant.

Cerescon created the Sparter in close cooperation with Brabant, Limburg and German asparagus growers. The selective asparagus harvesting machine can be bought in a 3-row, 2-row or 1-row model, with a harvesting reach of 50, 35 and 17 hectares respectively. All the required functions are integrated into the robot: detecting the asparagus underground while on the move, harvesting, handling the plastic foil and the sandbed repair. The way the machine detects and harvests causes less damage to the asparagus, resulting in a higher yield. The spears also don’t discolour or flower. Harvesting by machine not only yields more, but also delivers a better quality of asparagus.

Future plans
Cerescon will be producing six Sparters for sale for the 2019 asparagus harvesting season. Several growers have applied for subsidies for this, and some have thus been pre-assigned. Over the following years Cerescon plans to double its production, to a maximum of 65 machines a year. Sparter sales will begin in the Netherlands, Germany and France, and Cerescon will then expand the sales to other European countries where white asparagus is grown.

Exporting outside Europe, for instance to Peru and Taiwan, is also on the cards. Ad Vermeer, inventor of the Sparter and co-owner of Cerescon: “We’re still just at the very beginning of the automated selective harvest. The Netherlands is a pioneer in agricultural innovation, and we are seeing worldwide interest in what we’re doing here in Heeze.”

Cerescon development
Cerescon presented the first, beta version of the selective asparagus harvesting machine in the spring of 2017, developed under the firm’s own control. The company was founded in December 2014, and now employs 20 staff. Last year it gained a number of national and international innovation awards.

For more information:
De Geestakkers 5
5591RC Heeze
Tel: +316 4796 8940 or +316 5759 1229

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