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Heyeveld cultivates a wide range of hardy garden plants on a 95-ha site, both in containers and in the open field. Particular attention is paid to the correct deployment of techniques to produce high-quality plants with respect for the environment. These efforts are appreciated far beyond Belgium’s borders, as evidenced by the company’s strikingly international customer portfolio.

In the late 1930s, Mathijs Peters and his wife Jeanne Deville began to cultivate and sell vegetable plants. Their sons Jan and Jef took over the business in 1958 and began growing garden plants and laying out gardens in 1960. The brothers immediately reacted to the growing demand for a wider range of garden plants. In 1970, they decided to focus on the wholesale market.

In the late 1990s, the third generation took over: Mathieu and Leon, Jan’s sons, and Marie-Jeanne and Johan, Jef’s son and daughter. They continued to grow the business. In 2006 they opted to focus exclusively on garden plants and the company was divided up. Since then, cultivation has been handled by Boomkwekerij Heyeveld, with the trading company Peters Belgian Outdoor Plants taking care of trade. The two companies operate independently, but consciously chose to maintain strong links and thus work closely together.

About the company
Initially, Kwekerij Heyeveld’s chief specialism was to offer a wide range of soil-grown garden plants. “We have a total growing area of almost 100 ha, of which 80 ha is set aside for soil-grown conifers and 15 ha for container-grown shrubs and grasses”, manager Leon Peters explains. “Conifers are one of our key specialities, with a particular strength being our wide range of yew varieties. Other important product categories are grasses and small shrubs. What’s more, in order to be able to respond flexibly to our customers specific requirements, we offer our products in a variety of pot sizes. Here we have pot sizes ranging from 1 litre right up to 200 litres”, Leon laughs.

“In 2010 we purchased an additional 11-ha site in As”, Leon continues. “This is also where the majority of our greenhouse capacity is located, so the site opens up fresh opportunities when it comes to our range, our capacity and our efficiency”, Leon continues. And he immediately looks to the future: “Soon we want to fully renovate and reorganise our As site so that we can continue to modernise.”

“We attach a great deal of importance to the correct deployment of the available technology”, Leon emphasises. “For example, we use a spraying machine with GPS steering on our open-field plots. It is important to always spray with sufficient water, so that the active substances are better distributed and are better absorbed by the plants”, Leon clarifies. “Moreover, this more efficient technique also means that we can avoid repeat treatments.” The company plans to continue to focus on mechanisation, and the planting distance is being adjusted in line with this. “This means that it will also be easier for us to use mechanical weed control, for example”, Leon explains.

In order to optimise water management in the open field and to respond to seasonal effects, Heyeveld deploys a mobile irrigation system. “We basically take our reel irrigation machines with us. We can deploy a large water container with reels at our various different sites”, Leon explains.

70% of Heyeveld’s turnover is achieved through exports. “The company is active in almost the whole of Europe, and we are even going further afield, to Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan for example. We supply some twenty different countries direct. We also sell through a number of Dutch wholesalers, which gives our products an even wider international reach”, Leon explains.

Heyeveld also makes a concerted effort itself to reach international customers. “Each year, we attend a number of trade fairs. IPM, for example, has been a highlight in our diary for some 30 years now. We also aim to establish good trade contacts at other trade fairs. Interested parties are always welcome to visit our company and discover our products for themselves”, Leon concludes.

Heyeveld in figures

  • Employees:

    • 4 managers

    • c. 20 full-time employees

    • c. 10 seasonal workers

  • Land area:

    • 80 ha open-field cultivation

    • 12.5 ha open-air container fields

    • 2.5 ha container cultivation under glass

  • Export: 70% of turnover

    • Supplies c. 20 countries direct

    • Key markets:

      • Italy: 25%

      • The Netherlands: 18%

      • Germany: 10%

      • The whole of Europe with expansion towards Asia

    • Indirect export even further afield via Dutch wholesalers

  • Future:

    • Modernisation of As site