It is the season for enjoying the white gold amongst vegetables, and harvest is in full swing in the south of the Netherlands. This year is special for Rik Kursten, director of asparagus cultivator Teboza. His firm works with a brand new asparagus robot; the Sparter, developed by agritech scale-up Cerescon. Since March this selective harvesting machine has been detecting asparagus underground, which should improve quality and quantity.

Spring is also the time for unpredictable weather. The land is alternatively blasted by sand and wind, scorched by the sun and drenched by heavy rains. “The robot should be able to harvest for 10 hours a day”, Kursten explains. “But conditions do affect the mechanics and sometimes it stalls”. The software of this new machine is excellent, he says: “Sparter’s performance gets better with experience, which is why we hope for many more surprises so it keeps on learning.”