Officina Mingozzi of Argenta (Ferrara), Italy

New machinery designed to facilitate the cultivation of asparagus

For the successful growing of asparagus, and in order to save on workforce, there are dedicated machines of the latest design. Officine Mingozzi, which specializes in the production of flame heat-treatment machines (flame weeding), has developed a number of tools to improve cultivation techniques for this crop and, at the same time, reduce labour requirements. The first thing that was highlighted was soil preparation.

“All asparagus producers know that this species does not tolerate water stagnation and needs large quantities of organic substance, which must be properly buried in aerated soil, to a depth of 70-80 cm. This will be available to the roots, which supply the plant with nutrients," said Luciano Trentini, an experienced specialist in the sector.

The Officine Mingozzi mixer is a special device which, by means of rotating elements, is able to move a layer of soil 100 cm wide, to a depth of 70-80 cm, without creating a tilling sole, stratifying the organic substance previously distributed on the row, over the whole soil profile. The machine, weighing about two tons, has a forward speed of about 800-1,200 m/hour and requires a tractor with a power of 120-140 hp depending on the type of soil, whether loose or of medium consistency. It is very well suited to new-generation plants, where single or twin rows are positioned at a distance of over 2.5 meters. The canal created after the passage of the machine encourages the asparagus to develop its root system, which can be up to two meters deep.

Once the soil has been prepared, the plants must be planted in spring in temperate soil at a depth of 20-30 cm. The transplanting machine requires four people on board the machine, of which two are needed to prepare the nursery material and two to place the plants in the appropriate slots, and an operator who drives the 70-80 Hp tractor. The machine is capable of performing the following operations: opening the furrow, laying the sub-irrigation pipe, laying the rootstock in single or twin rows, and covering the rootstock with approximately 10-15 cm of soil.

The machine is carried by the tractor and has a working capacity of 3,000 to 4,000 plants per hour. The advantage of using the machine is the even positioning of the plants at the same depth and the reduced foot pressure on the soil due to a single pass. Irrigation can also be positioned along the row on the surface.

Weed control is one of the major issues facing asparagus producers today, along with the fight against fungal diseases. One of the recommended practices after the mowing of the vegetation is to remove it and burn it. The aim of this operation is the partial or total elimination of fungal pathogens such as Stemfillium and Rust, which can cause serious damage to asparagus. Burning residues on the ground also provides excellent control of weed seeds present on the surface of the soil. To overcome this problem, machines using heat produced by LPG combustion can be used.

"Officine Mingozzi has developed a number of machines such as the flame weeder combined with the weed cutter, a machine that allows both row weeding and disinfection and weed control during the asparagus growing phase.

These aspects will be presented by Officine Mingozzi (Ferrara-IT) in collaboration with Luciano Trentini and Roberto Tomasone (CREA-IT) during the World Asparagus Conference organized by ISHS Asparagus, which will take place in Cordoba, Spain, from 12 to 15 June 2022.

For more information: 
Officine Mingozzi 
Via Val d'Albero, 25/b
44010 Argenta, Ferrara (Italy)
0532 807106 

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