Engels Innovatietechniek BV (Engels Machines) presents the EcoSpader 2030, a bed former for asparagus cultivation, at the expoSE 2022 fair in Karlsruhe.
Asparagus cultivation is in full development and the trend goes towards sustainable cultivation with higher harvesting efficiency. Engels Machines has been a manufacturer of innovative, sustainable solutions for asparagus cultivation since the company was founded in 1999.
It all started some 22 years ago with Frank Engels' decision to no longer handle the plastic foil on the asparagus bed by hand, but with a machine. With the development of the AspergeSpin, a harvesting machine for white asparagus, he successfully initiated a turning point in the market. With the machine, labour costs could be kept within limits and the organisation of staff could be improved considerably. Nowadays it is impossible to imagine the European asparagus production without the AspergeSpin and there are more than 12,000 machines running in the fields.
A next step in the right direction was the introduction of the M-arch system, which handles plastic foils with the AspergeSpin according to weather conditions. Engels Machines is thus the only company that has made ‘foil management’ with two foils possible with a harvesting machine. ‘Foil management’ verifiably increases the yield of fields, which helps to save harvesting costs, as more asparagus can be harvested in less time. At the same time, better quality asparagus is delivered because growth conditions are optimised. In addition, early season harvesting is made possible in a simple, energy-saving way.
Now Engels Machines is taking its philosophy a logical step further to increase harvesting performance in asparagus cultivation. Conditions in the field and the structure of the asparagus beds have so far been a limit when it comes to increasing harvesting performance. In addition, issues such as CO2 reduction, sustainability and biodiversity are playing an increasingly important role in asparagus cultivation, just as in other areas of agriculture. The EcoSpader 2030, a bed former offers a solution to these issues in asparagus cultivation.
Together with the machine, Engels Machines proposes strip tilling, namely to divide the asparagus field into a permanent green strip and a cultivation strip. The green strip binds CO2 in the soil all year round, acts as an easily navigable ground for machinery, ensures biodiversity in the field, which is beneficial for the soil life and ultimately the asparagus plants. Roots of asparagus plants grow unhindered, get more nutrients and produce more asparagus spears. Rainwater is better absorbed and stored by the green strip , soil erosion is reduced and the fields look greener. The cultivation strip above the asparagus spears is the only ground that is tilled. This is where the machine comes into the picture. The EcoSpader 2030 digs up the cultivation strip in the direction of travel and, depending on the setting and the time of year, transforms the cultivation strip into a wide, flat winter bed or a high, narrow harvest bed.
The winter bed can absorb a lot of water and a lot of nutrients are introduced into the soil without compressing the soil in parts of the cultivation strip. In spring, the EcoSpader 2030 is then used again to build up a high, airy harvest bed. The machine is designed to build up a stable side wall on the flanks of the bed, while the asparagus bed itself remains airy above the asparagus plant. The first practical trials have already shown the advantages. Asparagus spears grow better and straighter due to the airy soil. But there is also another advantage: (hand) harvesting is much easier due to the airy asparagus bed. The asparagus spears can be cut without a lot of digging, making it much easier and faster to harvest more asparagus.
Making asparagus harvesting easier by using the AspergeSpin, which takes care of handling plastic foils, allowing the harvester to concentrate fully on harvesting asparagus. Higher yield thanks to systematic use of ‘foil management’ with M-arches. And now ideal, sustainable conditions in the field (for environment, machines and harvesters) thanks to strip till cultivation with green strips and the use of the EcoSpader 2030.
Result: reduced harvesting costs, easier harvesting and more efficiency. Last but not least: future-oriented and sustainable.
Engels Machines will b exhibiting during ExpoSE 2022, Karlsruhe, Hall 1, booth D 17 on 23-24. November 2022.