United Kingdom
Leafies outdoor

Leafies (spinach and lettuce) outdoor

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Lettuce and Spinach - open field and hydroponic
Noordlandseweg 54
2691 KM ’s-Gravenzande
Netherlands

Mechanical harvesting iceberg lettuce

Cutting and packing iceberg lettuce is often still done by hand, making it a very labor-intensive job. Therefore it’s important to mechanize the harvesting process. At BASF, we’re working hard to find out how we can make our varieties suitable for this process. 

How does mechanical harvesting of iceberg lettuce work?

There are varieties of lettuce with an elongated stem, enabling us to cut the stem underneath the head. This gives more opportunities for technical solutions of cutting by machine. BASF is always looking for breeding solutions and technical solutions which help to harvest whole iceberg heads in the future

BASF is working already hard to develop varieties for the processing industry – by, for example, developing varieties of iceberg lettuce that don’t grow as single heads, but instead grow individual leaves, that have the same crunch and texture as Iceberg leaves. With our lettuce breeding efforts, we want to make a kind of lettuce suitable for machine harvesting.  

Processors, growers, and machine manufacturers all have a say in which direction we should go. What new techniques are needed to make this possible? How do we convert human work into machine work? We need opinions from you and every part of the chain to keep developing both genetically and technically. To make sure that together, we can provide delicious, healthy, and sustainable vegetables, now and in the future.

Check out our latest Iceberg varieties Sprinkin, Firstkin and Liberkin

Single leaf concept for sandwiches and burgers

One of the best lettuce-related innovations in the last couple of years are the varieties that fall apart into equally sized leaves of lettuce when you cut out the internal core. The Multileaf® and Romaine leaf types in particular are our current leaders of this development. The Elemental variety is a nice example though: its leaves are sweet, and the plant produces between 20 and 25 single uniform leaves.

This new concept is very popular in the food and retail industry, which isn’t surprising: it has a great ease. Restaurants get whole leaves that they can use directly for their meals and recipes; plus, they’re easy to store, can be stacked, and have a longer shelf life than normal, cut lettuce.

Spinach with full resistance

One of the most important aspects to keep in mind when growing spinach varieties is a resistance to downy mildew: a disease that can destroy entire crops. Our newest varieties of spinach have the highest possible resistance Plus, BASF is also working on the development of spinach varieties that are both resistant and have a couple extra important traits. Think, for example, of resistant varieties with the perfect leaf shape, color, and texture. This is how we continue to expand our portfolio in order to meet all requirements of all our customers in the chain.

Download our Spinach leaflet