About Olives ...
Please read these pages thoroughly as they will answer many of your questions on this exciting industry.
"Australian olive growers are involved in one of the
nation's fastest growing horticultural industries."
(Peter Fuller, The Australian Farm Journal)
studies show that olives and olive oil help to lower levels of bad
cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attacks and certain
cancers. The Mediterranean diet which includes plenty of olives
and olive oil has long been known as one of the healthiest.
of Crete in the Mediterranean have the highest consumption of olive
oil per person in the world and they also have the lowest
rate of death from heart related diseases in the world. It is no
secret that the olive, which has been providing food and medicine
to humans for millenniums, is one of the most versatile and
life giving trees on earth.
is rich in mono-unsaturated fats and contains no cholesterol. Many
nutritionists and medical groups including the National Heart
Foundation are now recommending olive oil as the healthy substitute
for other fats in the diet. Olive oil is the only oil which is actually
a fruit juice ... in its purest form, the oil is simply 'squeezed'
from the fruit, filtered and bottled ... with no contamination
by any chemical processes.
Oil ... is actually a fruit juice!
proven health facts are a major reason for the ever increasing
demand for olive products around the world.
modern American, with all his patent contrivances...will never
know...a full tide of health until he returns to the proper
admixture of olive oil in his diet. Until he again recognizes the
value and use of olive oil, he will continue to drag his consumptive-thinned,
liver-shrivelled, mummified-skinned, and constipated and pessimistic
anatomy about...in a vain search for lost health."Dr
P.E. Remondino, Olive Grower's Convention, California 1891.
The first record of commercial olive cultivation dates back over
5,000 years to the region of Syria. In the five millenniums
from that day, archaeologists have been able to track the spread
of the noble olive across the entire Mediterranean basin and
possible lifespan of up to 2,000 years, individual olive trees
have seen not only generations, but entire kingdoms, come and go
on the earth's surface.
temple to modern day Tuscany, the olive has had a distinguished
career enriching the human race. Countless people have used the
olive for an income, food, medicine, heat, light and shade.
somewhat mysterious birth on the shores of the Mediterranean,
the olive tree and its fruit have grown into a modern industry
worth an estimated $20 Billion a year.
The health benefits of olive oil are being learned around
the world. In 1991 Australia imported $38 million worth of
olive products. By 1996, just five years later, imports had
risen to $115 million and they are still rising. (Australian Bureau
of Statistics). In fact, over the past decade, Australian olive
product imports have increased by more than 300 per cent
(Reichelt & Burr, 1997). Olive oil now commands up to
50 per cent of the edible oil shelf space in some of our leading
supermarkets ... but with our own Australian olive products
always sold out well before the next year's harvest, we have to
import around 95% of the olive products we consume.
consume more olive oil per person than any other country outside
of the Mediterranean!
growers have the opportunity of lifting our economy by producing
the majority of these olives on Australian soil. Also, rising
labour costs and subsidy changes in the Mediterranean countries
are forcing them to increase the export price of their olive products.
This gives Australian growers an increasingly competitive
edge over import prices.
Australian growers are encouraged to reduce the ever increasing
imports by producing olives in Australia, for Australians.
However, a number of Australia's larger growers are planting
solely for export purposes. They will send all of their produce
into the rapidly expanding Asian and American markets. Asia is beginning
to demand a more varied Western diet and along with this comes
the desire for items such as pizza's topped with sliced or
whole olives, olives in salads, and the use of quality olive oils
for salads and cooking. With around two billion people, the
possibilities are almost endless.
imports of olive oil almost doubled from 1995 to 1996 when
they reached 16,637 metric tons. (Nikkei Kezai Newspaper 20/11/97)
And in the 1997/98 year they imported a staggering 34,228
tonnes! (International Olive Oil Council) The USA is importing 100
times the olive oil they produce and the best marketed Californian
oils are selling at unrealistic retail prices of up to US$100 per
litre. (San Francisco Chronicle) Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore and
many northern European countries are also rapidly increasing their
demand for high quality olive products.
As with any business, there is a need to have a market for your
product. It is true that the market for olive products has
been around for 5,000 years and is currently a multi-billion dollar
industry, but there is still a need for every Australian grower
to find a buyer for their fruit or products. There are three main
options for the selling of olive crops in Australia.
past, Australian growers have needed to focus on the sale
of fresh olives to produce markets or on-site processing in which
case they then needed to market the oils and table olives they produced.
markets are still buying olives and the on-site processing
option is still viable for people with the necessary processing
and marketing skills. However, the construction of small and
large scale olive processing factories across many regions
of Australia has opened new doors to olive growers.
in most states are now offering contracts to olive growers
for their fruit at set prices and qualities. A number of processors
are also offering contracts on quality fruit from growers
prior to the grove being planted.
The olive is a handsome tree with silvery grey-green foliage.
Olive trees were selected at the Sydney Opera House as the sole
tree planted on the Harbour side in 1973. Now, over twenty years
later, these trees in large planter tubs, are still growing
and fruiting. The architects chose olives because of their beauty,
lack of untidy bark and leaf shedding, ability to withstand the
battering of storms, salt water, heat and cold, and their
ornamental olives grow in suburban backyards across Australia. Over
the years, many people have mistakenly bought these olive trees
from nurseries, not realising that they are only for ornamental
purposes. The leaf is a darker green colour than the commercial
varieties and does not have the same silvery grey-green appearance.
As the trees grow to maturity they produce a tiny pea-sized
fruit which has no value. The tree's owners then assume that olives
do not do well in their area. The problem is simply that they
have the wrong tree. With commercial olive trees, lack of water
and nutrients and other general care problems can also result in
very little fruit.
of true commercial olives crop well from the cool winter areas
of Queensland through New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania in
the south, and across to South Australia and Western Australia.
through thousands of years, the olive tree has proved to be
very drought hardy. When many other trees have died, the olive
tree has always been amongst the few survivors. Unlike many
other fruit orchards, an olive grove can be neglected for
a number of years and then simply be rejuvenated to bring it back
With minimal care olive trees will live and produce fruit for well
over a thousand years. This has been demonstrated in the Middle
East and places like the Garden of Gethsemane in Jerusalem.
There are no age limits to the commercial viability of an olive
grove on average fertility soils, provided that the tree receives
suitable annual pruning, water and fertiliser. A suitably
cared for orchard planted on the common 5m x 8m spacing can
be commercially viable for well over 100 years.
a Gift The
olive tree is a symbol of joy, peace and happiness and as such makes
an excellent gift. Because of its general hardiness, people who
don't have 'green thumbs' will find them fairly easy to care for.
With normal care, the olive tree will generally outlive any human
and give useful food for many centuries.
Olives are regularly grown on properties throughout the world
as a handsome windbreak and avenue tree. Windbreak spacing
around properties can be as close as three metres (10 feet),
but don't expect heavy crops per tree at this closer spacing.
Olive groves, avenues and boundary plantings increase the value
of any property. The olive is a hardy tree, handsome in appearance
and valuable for fruit.
trees will tolerate a large range of soil conditions, preferring
a neutral to alkaline soil type. If your soils are acidic,
they may be easily changed to an optimal pH of 7.0-8.0 by
simple methods such as the addition of agricultural
lime. Check with your local fertilizer company or lime supplier
if you need your lime quantities worked out. Our OLIFAX 15 sheet
will give basic information about the use of lime in your
olive grove's soil. Olives will often grow in hilly, rocky areas
that are not suitable for other crops. However, they do not
like very heavy soils that hold excessive water after wet periods.
It is important
to understand your soil type, structure and pH prior to planting.
After the trees are in the ground, there is very little you
can do to alter drainage and other essential factors. You can buy
a very easy-to-use pH
Test Kit from Olive Agencies to do your basic tests.
Olive trees like cool/cold winters and hot summers. Even though
olives are evergreen trees, they still need a cool winter so they
can rest to prepare for their main shooting, flowering and
fruiting in the spring. For most varieties some winter frost is
the world olives are grown in climates which range from the
cold of Tuscany (Italy) where minus 20 degrees Celsius is not unheard
of, through to warmer areas such as Seville (Spain) where some regions
don't even reach 0 degrees Celsius during winter. Summer temperatures
are important for the growth of fruit-bearing foliage. Most olive
growing regions of the world have average maximum daily temperatures,
in the hottest month of summer, somewhere above 30 degrees
Celsius. Afternoon temperatures as high as 45 degrees Celsius have
very little effect on mature olives as they have an inbuilt mechanism
which temporarily shuts down their system until the cooler part
of the day arrives. However, apart from the cool winter and warm
summer requirements, the moisture levels of the tree must
also be adequate. (See the enclosed copy of OLIFAX
- 1 and the World
Olive Climates article for more climate details.)
olive trees will survive and crop well even in the very cold areas
of Australia. Some varieties will also fruit well in 'no frost'
areas as long as the winters are cool enough. Short cold snaps
of down to minus 10 degrees Celsius are often not overly detrimental
to mature olive trees with sufficient moisture in the soil
to avoid stress. Some varieties have been seen to survive
minus 15 degrees Celsius as long as they are in good health. Most
olive trees will be killed to the ground in an extreme freeze of
minus 20 degrees Celsius such as can occur in the coldest
olive growing regions of the world. However, such severe
temperatures are quite rare in Australia.
aspect to be considered is the effect of cold snaps on young trees.
It is not advisable to plant young olive trees during winter
if your temperatures fall below minus 5 degrees Celsius. Very young
trees can often handle temperatures down to minus 5 degrees
Celsius (as they sometimes do during their growth at Olives Australia),
but they must be kept in good health and have sufficient moisture.
Keep a good eye on the health and moisture levels of your
trees during winter to ensure that no damage occurs.
again we thank you for your honesty and help in the growing
another lot of trees that will tolerate the low temperatures."
O.W. & S.W. Sandy Flat (NSW)
Winter Research Grove AWarm
Winter Research Grove has been set up to assess over 70 varieties.
The trial site has an average daily temperature of 13-14 degrees
Celsius in July which is considered 'marginal' (too warm) for traditional
olive production. The results of the trial will not only identify
olive varieties suited to warmer winter climates of the world
but will also assess numerous grove management practices for
the benefit of the entire Australian industry.
(non-irrigated) 10 x 10m = 100 trees/ha
Intensive 8m x 5m = 250 trees/ha
Intensive 8m x 4m = 312 trees/ha
7m x 4m = 357 trees/ha
6m x 4m = 416 trees/ha
6m x 3m = 555 trees/ha
Intensive 3m x 1.35m = 2,470 trees/ha
majority of new Australian groves are being spaced at 8m x 5m (250
trees/ha). Some growers are selecting more intense spacings. The
main factor affecting the spacing decision is the type of harvesting
machinery to be used on the grove. Harvesters are manufactured for
all densities but their availability to your grove's location
must be considered.
majority of groves, the best yield per hectare over a thirty year
period comes from trees planted 5 metres apart in hedges, with a
space of 8 metres between the hedge rows. This spacing is 250 trees
per hectare (104 trees/acre). Earlier returns and increased returns
per hectare in the early cropping years can be gained on more intensive
groves. However, the long term effects of close spacings on pruning,
harvesting and pest management must also be considered.
ongoing research in every olive growing country to ascertain
the best tree spacing for mechanically harvested olive groves. While
there has been a tendency towards closer spacings in the last decade,
harvesting economics on densities closer than 400 trees per hectare
are still being assessed.
greater than 200 trees/ha (hedge planting), it is important
to run the hedge rows approximately north/south so that the sun
penetrates the foliage of all trees in the hedge most effectively.
The basic rule for olives is - "more light penetration equals
more fruit per branch".
to Plant It
is widely accepted that olive trees can be planted in irrigated
olive groves year round if the winter temperatures do not fall below
minus 5 degrees Celsius. Traditional plantings in Mediterranean
countries are done in the autumn leading up to the winter rains.
However, access to irrigation water reduces the need for such seasonal
planting. A properly irrigated grove will withstand much greater
extremes in temperatures than a traditionally planted dryland grove.
going into groves which regularly go below minus 5 degrees Celsius
or are not irrigated correctly will need to be planted outside
of the winter period.
an Olive Tree
any tree, there's more than one way to plant an olive. Over our
past 25 years of planting, growing and researching olive trees
we have observed and tested many such planting methods. With these
trials and research in mind we have concluded that there is an optimum
way to plant olive trees for maximum results.
years, our customers have tried many methods with varying degrees
of success. However, one thing that has been clearly displayed is
that trees planted in suitable climates, according to the steps
below, can grow approximately one metre per year in both height
and breadth, in their early years. This is faster than any
other natural methods we have seen.
they are - the steps for planting a healthy, fast growing
olive grove. If you follow these steps we believe that the long
term results will please you.
Manure should be added to the soil prior to planting. Manure adds
micro nutrients and miro-organisms to the soil that will greatly
benefit the health and growth of your trees. Most manures
are suitable as long as they are not too fresh.
groves, a fertiliser spreader will efficiently add the manure to
the soil surface. Your manure supplier or fertiliser company
should be able to organise a tractor-pulled spreader for you.
manure at the rate of one cubic metre to every twelve trees.
Spread a strip of manure along the tree line about 3 or 4 metres
wide. (NB. On the 8m x 5m spacing, one cubic metre of manure
will be applied over a distance covering 12 trees (60 metres)
and 3 to 4 metres wide.)
groves, the rate is approximately one builder's wheelbarrow
fully spread over 3m x 3m at each tree site. Approximately 12 full
wheelbarrows make up one cubic metre.
(basalt rock) crusher dust should also be spread along the row
in the same way that the manure was applied. This product
is very high in minerals and is the main ingredient in rock dust
fertilisers. There minerals are not easily water soluble and therefore
will not be wastefully leached out of the soil. The nutrients are
available to the tree roots as required.
a rate of one cubic metre for every 12 trees (60 metres) is
excellent. In size, the product should be fine dust through to small
particles no larger than 4mm. Blue metal crusher dust is very heavy
and one cubic metre weighs around 1.5 tonnes.
for smaller groves, the rate is approximately one builder's wheelbarrow
fully spread over 3m x 3m at each tree site. If it is extremely
finely screened (less than 1mm particles) then as little as one
half barrow full per tree site may be enough. OLIFAX
10 is available if you require more information on blue-metal
basalt crusher dust.
If your soil requires the addition of lime to bring it's pH level
to 7.0-8.0 (neutral to alkaline), then add the required amount
to the manure and crusher dust above. Contact your local Department
of Agriculture or fertilizer company if you need pH testing done
and lime quantities worked out. Many growers use a spreading contractor
to apply the lime along the total row rather than just at
each individual tree site. Your own inexpensive pH test kit
will be handy for spot checks throughout the grove. More details
on the use of lime for olive tree health can be found in OLIFAX
Ripping Next, deep rip at least 10 to 12 furrows along the full
length of the planting row to a depth of 600mm or more and
a width of at least 3 metres. The nutrients will be suitably mixed
in as they drop down the ripper grooves. This preparation will give
the roots an excellent start and fast growth will result.
Wide shoed rippers pulled by a good sized dozer will do an excellent
job. You may wish to finally level the ripped area with offset discs,
a rotary hoe, blade or similar.
internally drained soils, deep ripping both along the rows
and then some cross-ripping will increase subsurface drainage. Please
consider possible erosion when planning the direction and timing
of your ripping. Deep ripping during a heavy rain season may result
in erosion if grass cover cannot be quickly re-established.
After selecting the tree site, positioning your stake, and wetting
the planting site, plant the tree at the same depth or just slightly
deeper than it was in the pot. Do not tease the roots out
before planting as this will stress the tree by damaging the young
Press soil down lightly around the tree roots to remove any air
pockets and make a slight depression to act as a watering basin.
Water thoroughly immediately after planting and mulch with coarse
straw to conserve water, cool the soil, and reduce weed growth.
The best mulches to use are those that contain plenty of nitrogen
and other minerals to feed the tree. These include lucerne, soya
bean and pea hay. As the mulch decomposes over a period of time,
the nutrients are transferred into the soil by earthworms,
rain and micro-organisms. If using mulch, try to buy spoilt (rain
damaged) bales, which are often available for just one or
two dollars each. Loosen up the 'biscuits' before applying.
milled pine wood waste can also be used but an occasional
nitrogen fertiliser application will be needed to reduce its leaching
effect. Carefully used, well rotted manures can also produce an
are in an area with long, cool, wet winters then mulch may
hold too much water during this period. Remember to keep your mulch
about 100mm (4") away from the trunk to allow the tree to breathe
and to avoid contact between the trunk and wet mulch.
Continue your irrigation according to the section on "Irrigation"
and using general common sense. Be careful not to waterlog
the soil as excess water is the olive's worst enemy. Further
information can be gained by reading OLIFAX
5 on Irrigation.
trees are 'container grown' and can be planted in moderate
climates (eg. winters that don't go below minus 5 degrees Celsius)
at any time of the year. Very young trees may need some protection
from severe frost and animals. No transplanting shock will
occur if the simple instructions above are followed.
- Now watch your olives GROW!
The staking of young olive trees is very important. Stakes need
to be strong enough to support the tree while the anchor roots are
developing, and yet flexible enough to allow the tree to move freely
in the wind. If the stakes are too rigid then the tree will be
over supported and not sense the need to develop strong roots and
a thick trunk.
grove sized trees are only lightly staked and will need to be tied
to a heavier stake at or soon after planting out. The trained straight
trunk will make fruit harvesting easier if a 'tree shaker' is to
be used. The final stake should be 1500mm long and 16-20 mm thick.
Two types of stakes - coated steel and bamboo - are available
stakes are coated in a hardened, waterproof and UV stabilised polyethylene
and, like bamboo, are smooth, light and flexible. Because
of their durability, they will last many years and can be used a
number of times. The stakes are 1500mm long and are approximately
$1.40 each plus GST.
stakes have a diameter of about 24-26mm, and are 1500mm long.
Please contact Olive Agencies
for a current price.
land preparation and the use of under-tree sprinklers rather
than drip irrigation can also help the roots to spread widely and
thereby assist in the overall stability of the tree.
A small number of grove owners plan to prune their trees in the
monoconical style (see OLIFAX
9). If you choose to go in this direction then you must seriously
consider the use of a supportive trellis. Due to the very
upright nature of a monoconically pruned olive tree, support
is needed either in the form of a tall solid stake (2.0 - 2.5m tall),
or a trellis wire system.
common trellis system is a single tight wire at 1.5 to 2.0
metres from the ground. Fibreglass or heavy wire stakes are then
placed at each tree site and attached firmly to the trellis wire
above. The tree is then tied to the stake as it grows. The trellis
wire gives the necessary support during windy periods.
is more expensive than the common bamboo stakes used on traditionally
pruned groves but is necessary for the development of monoconical
groves. Trellises are also used in groves with densities greater
than 400-500 trees per hectare as monoconical pruning is considered
the only viable method for such intensities.
Olive trees need very little water to survive if serving as an ornamental
or landscape tree. However, for a good crop, mature olives generally
need at least two waterings to field capacity (full depth of roots
- approximately one metre in mature trees), each winter (this will
depend on your soil type). If more is available during winter and
at other times of the year then this will be most beneficial and
will result in increased crops. In fact, it is generally accepted
that a drastic reduction in rainfall and irrigation water
will result in a poor crop of only one third to one half of a fully
irrigated commercial crop.
be remembered however, that the olive's worst enemy is too much
water - especially during the winter months when there is less
evaporation taking place. So keep a good eye on the moisture levels
in the soil around your trees. Winter watering keeps the trees
healthy for a good spring flowering and a good fruit set.
When the fruit has set, in addition to natural rainfall, supplementary
watering is needed to achieve a good fruit size and high oil yield
Many factors can affect the water requirements of any plant.
Soil type is an obvious variable - a tree planted in sand
is obviously going to need more regular waterings than a tree
in heavier soil because of the fast draining nature of sand.
Also the grove's local climate - if trees are planted in an area
which receives 300 days of sunshine per year they will need more
water than those planted in a cloudier climate which may only
receive 200 sunny days per year. Another factor is annual rainfall
- this is the most obvious variable when considering the tree's
supplementary irrigation needs.
your irrigation requirements you must always look ahead to
what the olive trees will be needing when they are mature rather
than the smaller quantity needed while still small. It is widely
accepted that a mature olive grove will use between 6 and
10 megalitres of water per hectare per year. This quantity
includes usable rainfall. Therefore, if your usable rainfall
is 5 megalitres per year, you will need to allow between 1 and 5
megalitres per hectare via irrigation. Your local irrigation
specialist will know the usable rainfall for your region. See OLIFAX
- 5 for more irrigation details.
tree likes good quality water but the olive tree is still one of
the few fruit bearing trees that will survive and still bear
quite well with poor quality saline (salty) water. Saline
water that is unfit for human use is generally quite suitable for
olives. Olive trees grow and crop well using water with a conductivity
of up to 2,400 micro S/cm (This can be translated to Total
Dissolved Ions by multiplying by 0.64. eg 2,400 mS/cm x 0.64
= 1,536 TDI). If saltier water is used, it should not be sprayed
onto the leaves and the ground will need to be 'flushed' with good
rain water from time to time. The higher the conductivity increases
above 2,400 micro S/cm, the more the olive crops will begin
to decrease in tonnage.
quality water is used on your grove, consult a soil nutitionist
to maintain the correct nutrient balance.
controlling weed growth is a simple process, many growers find it
to be the most time consuming part of their young grove's
management. To achieve early crops, weeds must not be allowed to
grow around or near the tree, especially in the first couple of
years. Weeds compete for water and nutrients, and when totally out
of control, even light. Competition from weeds will slow down a
young tree's growth and may cause sickness and even death
if not addressed.
'weed free zone' from the base of the trunk to at least 300mm past
where the foliage stops. As the foliage increases in diameter each
year, so the diameter of the "weed free zone" will need
to increase also. The majority of the tree's roots are in
this area and must not be held back by weed competition. This area
can be kept free from weeds with the careful use of herbicides and/or
been no recorded damage to olive trees of any age from careful
use of glyphosate herbicides (eg. Roundup). Recommendations for
herbicide use are available from the suppliers. Grass and weeds
outside of the 'weed free zone' should be kept down with regular
slashing or mowing. As the trees grow, the root zone becomes more
extensive. It is ideal to keep a continuous weed free strip
along the entire tree row. Mulching around the trees produces
are trialling the various options available for intercropping
olives with grasses, legumes and other crops. At this stage it is
believed that the crops/grasses which are used in vineyards are
compatible with olive groves. You will need additional irrigation
if you choose to intercrop. Cover crops may be slashed and used
There are many different ways of pruning an olive tree. Each
country and region has differences in their pruning technique and
many will protect their traditional or modern method 'to the death!'.
Steve Sibbett of the University of California put it well at a
recent Olive Expo when he said, "There are only three things
to argue about in this world, Religion, Politics and Pruning."
however, some basic pruning facts to keep in mind. Firstly, olive
trees need sufficient light and air through their foliage to bear
commercial crops. Light and air through the canopy also reduces
the incidence of pests and fungal problems. The most common
way of ensuring this is by pruning the tree into a vase shape.
The tree is then open in the centre thus allowing light and air
grove hygiene, cut any branches off that hang too close to
the ground and remove any dead branches. Also remove branches that
cross over in the middle of the tree.
groves, the main pruning is done after the fruit is harvested
in Autumn. For most mechanical harvesting machines, the trunk needs
to be free of branches for a height of around one metre from the
ground. See OLIFAX
4A for pruning details for young trees.
For average soils, the initial application of manure, blue-metal
crusher dust and lime is adequate to get the trees off to
a good start. From then on, a yearly 25mm (1") mulch of well
rotted manure can be added to the surface of the soil. The manure
should extend out at least as far as the leaf line. This manure
mulch will conserve moisture in the soil, reduce weed growth,
and add nutrients to the tree roots.
manuring should be done in autumn/winter after the fruit has
been harvested. Water, earthworms and other micro-organisms will
transfer this food down into the soil. As the earthworm population
increases, this will also do an excellent job of aerating
reasons, most large scale olive groves simply use urea and other
fertilisers and trace elements to supply soil and foliage
nutrients throughout the year. Fertigation, where the fertiliser
is added through the irrigation system, is a common and economical
way of supplying nutrients.
is used to identify the nutrient status of the tree. Any deficiencies
and toxicities can be found this way. See OLIFAX
- 6 for more fertilizing details.
Olive tree diseases are relatively minimal in Australia. Those which
we do have are controlled through either preventative or remedial
fungal problem is known as Peacock Spot (Cycloconium oleaginum).
This grows on the leaves, finally causing the leaf to drop
from the tree. Severe cases can defoliate a tree leading to
reduced crops and occasionally even loss of the tree. Simple
control measures include the use of copper fungicides.
problem which is usually found in overwatered groves is called Verticillium
Wilt (Verticillium dahliae). Research is still being done
into the exact cause of this problem. It is not commonly seen in
the Australian Olive Industry. Olives can also be affected
by Phytophthora and again, this is generally encouraged by
excessive soil moisture and a lack of oxygen around the roots.
are currently fairly much restricted to the brown olive scale and
olive lace bug. Insect pests will be minimal if the trees are kept
in good health. At any rate, the need to spray for insects is minimal.
Check with a local agricultural chemical supplier to see which
chemicals are registered in your state.
of some olive fruit found with 'maggots' in them is still occurring.
Although the Olive Fly (Dacus oleae) has not been identified
in Australia, the study of any maggots in fruit will give
an accurate understanding of the fly problems on olives in
details on any pests and diseases outlined here please ask
for the appropriate OLIFAX
Birds do not generally favour the fruit because of its extreme bitterness
before processing. However, some Australian growers have reported
a small amount of damage to ripe fruit (black) by starlings. In
certain areas growers have cockatoos or parrots 'pruning' the tops
of their trees. In large trees this is not a problem but young groves
in such areas may need some form of protection in the early
During times of drought when food is scarce, very young trees may
need to be protected from wallabies and kangaroos. If necessary
they will nibble off the leaves for food. Hares and rabbits
can also chew the bark and they will occasionally vandalise the
trees by nipping through very young stems. Keep sheep and
other stock away from olives as they chew the foliage and bark when
their normal diet of grasses runs out.
from animals can be done with tree guards (small animals),
or by a netting fence around the total grove. Olive
Agencies has flute board tree guards and heavy protection netting
for individual tree protection.
Trees that have been planted and cared for correctly, begin
to produce olives about three years after planting and the
first commercial crop arrives in year four. From Australian trials
carried out on 14 varieties by the Department of Agriculture in
five year old trees produced an average of 27kgs of fresh fruit.
Ten year old trees produced an average of 77kgs per tree.
Fourteen year old trees produced an average of 128kgs per tree.
statistics came from fully irrigated trees. In low rainfall areas
where extra irrigation water is not available, the yields will be
considerably less than the above figures. Good irrigation and tree
maintenance practices or lack thereof, will either increase or decrease
the annual yield.
information on the production of specific varieties can be
gained from the "Varieties"
section and the technical staff at Australis
Fruit is harvested green (unripe), turning colour (half ripe),
or black (ripe) between February and June each year (This
will vary according to the latitude and climate of the grove).
The fruit is then processed by yourself or sent to an oil processor,
fresh fruit market or pickling factory. The fruit can be hand
picked or raked out of the trees by using a garden type rake with
fairly close prongs. Olive
Agencies can supply a range of harvesting tools from simple
hand rakes through to pneumatic harvesting tools and beyond.
A ground sheet of nylon mesh, plastic or cloth can be used to collect
harvesting of fruit is currently done by a range of 'tree
shakers' which can be fitted with catching systems to collect the
falling fruit. Mechanical harvesting methods are used with varying
degrees of efficiency depending on the machine design and
the grove suitability. Firms offering contract mechanical harvesting
are becoming available in Australia.
For wholesale and retail nurseries, simple instructions for non-chemical
home pickling are attached to the trees as they leave our nursery.
They are enclosed in a clear, waterproof packet and will assist
you in your nursery sales. Would you like to read an article which
outlines a number of Pickling
Olive oil is extracted from healthy fruit between March and
June. There are two main types of machinery used for the extraction.
The traditional press is a series of mats on which layers of crushed
olives are placed in a paste form. These mats are then squeezed
very tightly together and the oil and water are squeezed out of
the paste. The water is then separated from the oil before the oil
is ready to use. The mats are then manually cleaned and reused.
Intensity of labour and hygiene difficulties have always been
encountered with the old traditional mat system.
modern factories use the hygienic continuous flow oil extraction
machines. These machines allow for a single person to add the olives
at one end where they are then washed and crushed into a paste.
The paste is then mixed to start the separation of the oil. It then
goes through a centrifuge which separates the oil and water from
the paste, and finally into a separator which divides the
oil from the water. The oil then comes from the machine with
very little intervention by people involved. There are a number
of types of continuous flow machines which vary in the processes
outlined above. This continuous flow method greatly reduces labour
costs and increases production output and hygiene.
continuous flow olive oil factories or traditional presses in all
olive growing states of Australia. As crops increase, new
factories are being opened to cope with the demand.
Introduction to Olive Oil Processing - From Picking to Pouring"
is available from Olive Agencies and is a valuable resource
for olive growers and oil producers alike.
can be marketed in a wide selection of products and packagings,
and include the following:
black plain, herbed, stuffed, or sliced pickled olives, in bottles,
cans or vacuum packaging. These olives can be processed using many
different recipes, each with their own unique flavours. One Australian
company even produced chocolate coated olives!
are processed and sold in many different grades. Oil is marketed
in bottles, pressure packs or cans. Herbs or even olive twigs with
leaves can be added to the bottles for that 'something different'
gift. Olive oil is also used in margarines and other mainstream
soaps are produced as blocks or in liquid soap and powder form.
Soaps and oils can also have different scents added to them to
appeal to all 'tastes'. The Japanese are using olive oil in a wide
range of cosmetics, shampoos, conditioners and health products.
black olive paste can be marketed for use as a spread on bread
or for adding to salad dressings. Olive dips are produced for use
with biscuits or other snack foods. Many souvenirs in olive
growing countries are made from olive seeds and olive wood. Olive
groves are also developed as tourist attractions, complete
with retail stores, cafes, chapels and processing facilities.
Leaf Extract is proven to be anti-bacterial, anti-viral and
such as waste cake and olive seeds are being used to produce everything
from electricity to fertilisers, stock feeds, activated carbon,
bricks and even plastics.
continually rising demand, it appears that the number of commodities
and methods for the marketing of olive products is limited only
by human imagination.
articles on the logistics of marketing Australian olive products
can be found in the Australian
Olive Grower Magazine.
Agencies have a Financial Assumption Guide for olive groves of various
sizes and uses.... write to us and ask for them to be emailed to
must change the data to suit your own requirements.