Tombesi A.

Advances in harvesting and pruning of olive trees

Rivista : Anno 42/Numero 1
Autori/Authors : Tombesi A.

Abstract
In the last 20 years, following globalization of olive oil market, which caused greater competitiveness in terms of oil quality and production cost, all the countries interested to olive growing must introduce efficient planting and techniques to satisfy these requirements. Two main solutions were proposed: intensive orchards (~400 trees/ha) and super-high intensive orchards (~1600 trees/ha); the first is well known, because it was close to the reference model for new plantings in the last decades. On this model trunk shakers and fruit interception frames greatly improved mechanization degree. In order to optimize mechanical harvesting efficiency, plant characteristic, time of harvesting and plant layout were defined, and intensive cultural practices were suggested to obtain high oil production and quality. Super-high intensive orchards were an alternative with the purpose to use over-row harvester derived from the ones used in grape harvesting. This kind of machine, which operates in continuous, has high harvesting efficiency also in cultivars with small fruit size. This solution fascinated growers and started to spread all around the world. However, very soon, cultivars appeared to be the key-factor. Only very productive and compact cultivars resulted suitable for this system of cultivation. Pruning represents an important factor to facilitate mechanical harvesting and to regulate efficient fruit production. The mechanization of pruning increases work safety and reduces hand work, contributing to a more economical olive production. Optimal solutions were tested and recommended.

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