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20 June 2024

"Those VHM machines are like Lego, you just want to keep collecting more of them"


Knibbe Vegetables is a wonderful family business, located in the Wieringermeer polder. The farm next to the recently newly built 5,000 square meter barn is called the ‘Schipholhoeve’; a reference to the company’s start in the early fifties. The company is currently run by the third generation of the Knibbe family: three brothers who specialise in the cultivation and sales of iceberg lettuce, seed potatoes, and onions. In addition, carrots, sugar beets, wheat and celeriac are grown. Increasingly, business processes are supported by VHM machines.

The ambition

Managing Director Luke Knibbe: "I run Knibbe Vegetables together with my brothers. Tasks are neatly divided, and I mainly deal with iceberg lettuce. Formally, we have taken over the company, but my father still helps out and my mother takes care of bookkeeping. We are a real family business and very happy about that. We just work hard and do all we can to deliver the best possible products. In doing this, we are assisted by a permanent team of mainly Polish and Romanian employees. Depending on the season, their number varies from 10 to as many as 40 employees. In addition, we also regularly contract Dutch workers."

The challenge

"As with all arable farming companies, availability and affordability of labour is one of the biggest business challenges. In addition, CO2 emissions are a growing problem. We are working with fewer and fewer pesticides and increasingly relying on automation for hoeing. We are also introducing more automation in storage and VHM is one of our partners in this area. They are helping us find solutions that allow us to remain productive with the same number of people and, in the long run, probably with fewer people."

About Knibbe Vegetables

The foundation of Knibbe Vegetables was laid in 1942, after the first piece of land was sold to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. During the war, great-grandfather Knibbe’s farmland was confiscated by the German occupying forces. As a result of the national airport’s the expansion plans, grandfather Knibbe was given the opportunity to start an agricultural business in Wieringerwerf. His son took over in the early 1990s and handed the company over to his sons in 2017. In the meantime, Knibbe has grown into a thriving company that grows crops on approximately 500 hectares of extremely fertile agricultural land on the edge of the IJsselmeer.


The solution

"Part of the solution to increasing productivity is automation. That is why we have chosen to optimise crate and big bag logistics for the approximately 9,000 crates we have here. We bought our first box filler from VHM in 2017. At present, we have a VHM TwinFilr, MonoFilr and MonoFilr Pro. This year, we also put a new delivery line into operation with a box emptier from VHM. We use this when loading trucks and filling big bags in combination with the TwinFilr. We also have a Dijkstra inspection table combined with VHM belts. We painted the inspection table orange, so it nicely matches the VHM machines. It's great!"

  • Air-photo-potato-harvest.
  • Brothers-Knibbe-potato-growers.
  • Twin-filler-crates-potatoes.
  • Harversting-potato-field.
  • Knibbe-farmer.
  • Potato-crate-filling.
  • Grimme-potato-harvester.

"VHM's machines are solid and very rarely malfunction. That really sets them apart from other suppliers’ machines. If there are ever issues, these are always resolved fast. Usually remotely, and if necessary, they’ll drop by. We are, as a result, very satisfied with VHM's machines and service. They help us to work faster and more easily. Productivity has increased considerably thanks to the VHM machines. Those VHM machines are like Lego, you just want to keep collecting more of them."


"We painted the inspection table orange, so it nicely matches with the VHM machines."

Luke Knibbe, Managing Director Knibbe Vegetables



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