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SUCCESS STORY: BERTHOUD – 120 years of innovation


1895 – 2018: Over 120 years in the service of crop protection

BERTHOUD is one of the pioneers of crop spraying in France. Founded in 1895 in the heart of the Beaujolais region, the company was behind the first backpack apparatus designed for vine spraying: the Excelsior-Gobet. The founder, Paul BERTHOUD, a local entrepreneur, set up a company that today enjoys a global footprint. Discover this “Made In France” success story, the result of an exceptional legacy.


The pioneering spirit

In 1895 in Belleville sur Saône, the birthplace of the company, Paul BERTHOUD went national with the EXCELSIOR GOBET followed by the EUROPEEN, backpack piston sprayers for vines.

The real success story began with the launch of many notable models, including the famous TOBOGGAN in 1913, the first trailed crop sprayer,… horse-drawn and able to treat two rows of vines at once.

After the First World War, Paul BERTHOUD's two sons, Fernand the “engineer” and Jean the “financier” developed the company and expanded the activity to tree growing and market gardening. The TOBOGGAN henceforth had a boom covering 7 rows for potatoes and a 13-nozzle herbicide boom. Over 24,350 models of the TOBOGGAN were sold up until the 1960’s..


The birth of a specialist

A new era began in the 1950’s, with the development of mechanised farming. BERTHOUD launched its first tractor-mounted air-assisted sprayer, the SPEEDATOM, whose pump and turbine were driven by the tractor PTO. It then developed a tractor-mounted range with the BLIZARD, DYNAMIC and MOTOFRUIDOR.

1959: Cousins Didier and Guy BERTHOUD joined the company, the third generation of the family. Turnover took off. Plastic replaced brass and copper and in 1964 the famous GAMA piston pump was launched (still sold today).

The 1970s were marked by the emergence of electronics, with the revolutionary DPAE (electronically-assisted flow proportional to forward speed) and PGC (controlled droplet application) which was awarded a gold medal at SIMA 1978.

The 1980s saw fast-paced development with the creation of a catalogue of over 250 models distributed by more than 400 agents in France and around the world.

1987 BERTHOUD joined the EXEL Industries group, the world leader in plant protection.


A leader thanks to its innovations

In 1990, BERTHOUD launched the MACK, the first crop sprayer up to European standards, followed by the BERTRONIC, an electronic unit controlling all the spraying parameters for the field.

In 1998, BERTHOUD launched the SPEEDAIR, the first pneumatic trailed sprayer, and the AXIALE boom with its triangular strut structure offering unrivalled stability. The MAJOR range, the first sprayers equipped with ACTIFLEX, BERTHOUD's patented axle suspension, was presented in 1999.

The years following 2000 were the years of precision spraying, sustainable development and globalisation. Numerous new models were brought out, including the ELYTE, the TENOR, the RAPTOR and the SPRINTER for row crops, the SUPAIR, the FRUCTAIR, the TWISTAIR and the WINAIR for vines and orchards.

2010 saw the introduction of GPS and computerisation: BERTHOUD launched its range of e-BERTHOUD solutions offering unlimited compatibility with the market offer.

In 2013 and 2015, BERTHOUD was rewarded at the SIMA Innovation Awards for its work to improve operator safety and environmental protection with the CLEAN SPRAYER, based on a direct injection concept, and the Bsafe, its closed transfer system allowing the safe introduction of plant protection products directly into the tank, which scooped up the silver medal at SIMA 2015.


“Forward together” is BERTHOUD’s motto, as it constructs the future of crop spraying on every continent in partnership with the stakeholders of the agricultural community. BERTHOUD thus contributes to the challenges of feeding the planet and sustainable development.