Asparagus cultivation rising again since 2000

Some 2,500 hectares were used to grow asparagus in the Netherlands in 2008. This is 19 percent more land than in 2000. The area of asparagus cultivation peaked in 1963, at 5,100 hectares. The north of the province of Limburg is the main area for asparagus cultivation, but the crop is also increasingly being grown in other parts of the country.

Area of asparagus, 1947–2008

Area of asparagus, 1947-2008

Asparagus boom in mid-20th century

Asparagus cultivation boomed in the 1950s, reaching its peak in 1963 when 5,100 hectares were devoted to asparagus. After that, the total area dropped quickly to 2,300 hectares in 1980. In 2008 asparagus was grown on 2,500 hectares in the Netherlands, less than half the area in 1963.

Less in north Limburg

The north of the province of Limburg is still the region where most asparagus is grown in the Netherlands. While the total area of asparagus rose by 170 percent in the rest of the country, the cultivated area in north Limburg decreased by 30 percent. In 1980, 82 percent of the area of asparagus cultivation was located in north Limburg, in 2008 this had shrunk to 57 percent.

Increase mainly in North Brabant

In the sandy areas of the province of North Brabant in particular, asparagus cultivation is becoming more popular. In 2008 the Westelijk Peelgebied region accounted for 16 percent of the total area of asparagus cultivation, and central North Brabant for nearly 8 percent. In other provinces, too, more asparagus is being grown, especially provinces with sandy soil. 

Asparagus yields, 1947–2008

Asparagus yields, 1947-2008

Yields no longer rising

After 1963, asparagus yields per hectare grew substantially. In 1993 the yield peaked at nearly 8 tonnes per hectare. Since then it has been fluctuating at around 6 tonnes per hectare.

Wim de Rooij