ExpoSE : 9 innovations for asparagus and strawberries

The German exhibition Expo SE, specialising in techniques for the production, harvesting and packaging of asparagus and strawberries, welcomed more than 400 exhibitors and some innovations concerning in particular harvesting assistance and even robotisation. New innovations were also seen, to address concerns about agroecology, sustainability of systems and recycling. Part of the exhibition, expo Direkt is also dedicated to direct sales.
Thu 12/01/2023 by Guy Dubon

Engels : a ridger for agroecology

Designed by the Dutch manufacturer Engels, the EcoSpader 2030 asparagus ridger was awarded one of the “Innovation-Best of 2022” at ExpoSE. More than a ridger, the EcoSpader preserves the plant cover of the inter-row and allows an agro ecological approach by promoting the improvement of soil quality. To do this, the machine groups the volume of soil available for the mound using disks. It works the soil in depth without touching the crown in order to form a mound with a homogeneous soil to facilitate asparagus growth. The height of the mound is fixed, only its width can vary thanks to sensors and cylinders integrated into the machine. The machine can be used in plantations with an inter-row starting from 2.20 m.

Strauss : prototype of a harvesting robot

Strauss, a specialist in asparagus harvesting and packaging, presented a prototype of a robot for the harvesting of green asparagus. The harvesting arm is placed in a controlled light environment (covered cell) where asparagus (location + size) is detected using cameras. A picking arm, suspended and mobile thanks to pulleys, picks and deposits the asparagus on a conveyor tray. According to the manufacturer, the system is intended to be “rustic and efficient” and to harvest 2000 to 3000 asparagus per hour and facilitate the maintenance of the machine. The machine works autonomously on the plot and can change row by itself. By analysing the images the forecast of the next day’s harvest may be ensured. Finalisation of development and demonstrations to take place in 2023 with availability in 2024.

Ringo Plast : refrigerated boxes

The Ringo Plast Company offers insulated crates of different sizes that can contain from 5 to 10 kg of asparagus (or other produce) in order to maintain the temperature for 6 to 8 hours and preserve the freshness of the product. They can also be equipped with additional freezing plates that improve shelf life.

Böckenhoff Folien : recycled plastic films

This supplier ensures the recycling of plastic sheeting, covering films and pocket films used in asparagus cultivation. After collection, the plastic films are shredded, washed and cleaned to remove all dirt and then baled for recycling. The service is charged at 110 euros per ton of films.

Daios : tunnel ventilation

Daios, the plastic film manufacturer presented a new tunnel cover film. The cover, made of polyethylene of from 90 to 150 microns, designed for covering an 8.40m tunnel, is equipped with a 1.20m wide ventilation “box”. It consists of a perforated film and a cover film, placed at the ridge of the tunnel. This box ensures both the seal of the tunnel and its superior ventilation. According to the manufacturer, it is possible to reduce excessive summer temperatures by 5°C. The film is already available in Spain, Italy, Germany and Mexico.

Tenrit : peel your asparagus yourself

“Do it yourself”, this is what Tenrit offers with this adaptation to the direct sale of its automatic asparagus peeler. The basic peeler element is equipped with an automatic asparagus feeding conveyor that starts when the first asparagus is placed on it and it has a recovery tray reduced to the size of an asparagus bunch. It will take the customer/consumer 20 seconds to peel his one-kilo bunch of asparagus.

Kesse Böhner : self-service micro-marketplace

This micro market designed in a container is the commercial evolution of self-service in a small space. The customer enters this micro store, under video surveillance, using a bank card. Once inside, the customer weighs out and pays for the products installed on the shelves and in refrigerated cabinets. Several modules exist, the 18 m2 (6x3m) one costs 60,000 euros all inclusive.

Christiaens : total harvesting of green asparagus

“Christian” is a harvester for green asparagus designed on the concept of “total harvest” already used by this manufacturer for white asparagus with his “Chris” harvester. The machine is equipped with a cutting bar, a conveyor belt and distribution for crating and sorting asparagus. All asparagus is harvested every 5 days. According to the manufacturer, the waste rate (particularly asparagus which is too short) is 20%. The loss is compensated by a harvesting yield (2 hours per hectare) and a very low harvest cost. The machine is also equipped with claws to ensure mechanical weeding.

Bejo : new late variety

Bejo 3199 F1 is a new variety from the breeding program that gave rise to Cumulus, Prius and Cygnus. Bejo 3199 F1 is a late variety that comes in the April-June production window with a medium calibre and more than 50% asparagus being 22-26mm. According to the breeder, the taste quality of Bejo 3199 F1 comes second just after the Cumulus reference.


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