Product quality and maximum efficiency during harvesting are inevitably part of modern asparagus cultivation. The market is increasingly demanding high-quality asparagus. It is therefore necessary for the producer to meet the increasing quality requirements, in order to achieve corresponding sales results. At the same time, for many years there has been considerable pressure on the labour market from the considerable number of personnel at all stages of the value chain - whether in harvesting, processing or sales.
Producers from all over the world are fighting these challenges: Production costs are showing an upward trend, while marketing prices are stagnating, says Ton Smolders of Engels Machines. At this year's ExpoSE, the Dutch company presented an extract from its modern machine selection.
Left: The ASV harvesting machine is suitable for individual harvesting work, even with green asparagus. Right: The proven Engels asparagus spider.
Efficient harvesting automation
It is the asparagus harvest that determines the final production costs of each individual producer to a large extent. For many growers, a high degree of automation during harvesting is the right solution to meet this challenge. Within the European cultivation of white asparagus, the asparagus spider from Engels Machines, which is predominantly combined with the so-called M-bow, is being used increasingly. This combination leads to an efficient foil management on the asparagus field as well as to an efficient control of revenues and product quality. "This controlled harvesting work also contributes significantly to a higher yield per hour per harvest worker. In practice, the yield per employee is often doubled," says Smolders.
Cultivation consultant Ton Smolders at the exhibition stand during this year's expoSE in Karlsruhe. Automating the asparagus harvest is very much on everyone's mind at this point in time.
Increased efficiency in the green asparagus sector
Regarding global asparagus cultivation, the area for green asparagus is becoming quite large. Here, too, Engels has developed a suitable solution for efficient and highly automated harvesting. In practice, it is often underestimated how much time the staff needs to actually collect the individual asparagus spears, and bring them to a central collection point. As the weight of the green asparagus spears is significantly lower compared to the white asparagus, the growers have to harvest significantly more product to achieve the same yields (in kg).
The MultiSpider is suitable for joint harvesting in groups and is also being used more and more in green asparagus cultivation.
By automating the harvesting process, harvesters now only have to carry out the harvesting action itself. "In just a few seconds, the employee decides how to cut the stalk and he or she then only has to place them nearby. This high degree of automation now makes it possible to significantly reduce the time between harvesting and actual processing, which is of considerable benefit to the quality of the asparagus," Smolders concluded.