15 April 2024

Olive pruning. Things to bear in mind

In the middle of the olive pruning campaign, we pause our tasks to provide a summary of  our progress. Following the guidance of our advisor, Rafael Navarro, and drawing from our experience last year, we are currently engaged in pruning and shredding branches, with plans for a pre-flowering treatment to follow.

Regarding pruning, we encounter three different scenarios: young olive groves, medium-sized olive groves and old olive groves. Each one needs to be pruned in a different way, which is explained below. Regardless of the age of the olive tree, the following basic concepts should always be kept in mind:

  • Pruning consists of removing bad wood so that good branches can grow.
  • The aim is to harvest more olives from the same pruning year.
  • Pruning is not peeling branches. Density is removed, but you remove firewood, not small branches.
  • Remove unnecessary branches.
  • Male branches at high altitude are useless.
  • The olive tree must always be kept in the correct shape.
  • It is necessary to attack the vertical branches, branches that go too far outwards, but the twig is fundamental.

For our young olive grove, planted in 2017 but unfortunately affected by the storm Filomena in 2021, our work primarily focuses on:

  • Removing low branches to shape the olive trees.

Regarding the medium-sized olive grove, planted in 2018, the tasks include:

  • Removing low branches.
  • Pruning male branches (those growing vertically).
  • Thinning out inner branches to allow light penetration and prevent leaf loss due to lack of light.

Finally, for the old olive grove (about 30 years old), our work involves:

  • Thinning out some main branches, aiming to retain three main branches, though this may change over time.
  • Clearing inner branches to promote light penetration.
  • Pruning male branches to reduce height and facilitate a more accessible harvest, as olives are typically found on lower branches

In conclusion, proper pruning techniques tailored to the specific age and condition of olive trees are essential for ensuring optimal growth, health, and productivity. Are you currently undertaking any pruning activities in your olive grove? Share your experiences or questions in the comments below!

Versión en español.

27 March 2024

Which engine does your tractor have?

Watching the tractor races on the Engine Age YouTube channel, we wonder about the engines will power each tractor... This curiosity sparked the idea of creating a small compilation showcasing the engines used by various tractor manufacturers, allowing us to compare and see what trends are emerging. It's important to note that this entry isn't intended for technical discussions about engines (that is already done by our friend Helio), but rather to provide a concise summary of the different engines on the market.

In the following tables, we focus on engines used in medium and high horsepower tractors. It’s interesting to see how engine manufacturers, who also produce their own tractor, supply engines to their direct competitors in tractor sales,… undoubtedly it is an additional source of incomes to support innovation and also to maintain their business operations. As you will see below, we have tried to present information on all the most widely brands sold in Spain. The accompanying comments highlight aspects that, from the perspective of tractor users, come to our attention:

  • The 4-cylinder engines offer up to about 160 HP, mostly with a displacement of 4.5 litres.
    • Fendt starts using a 5-litre engine with its 600 series.
    • Kubota has only 4-cylinder engines with 6.1 litres.
  • All manufacturers use 4- and 6-cylinder engines. There are no engines with more cylinders (e.g. V8), as can be found in truck manufacturing.
    • Up to 18-litre, 913 HP John Deere 6-cylinder engines are available.
  • The 6-litre engines of almost all manufacturers reach up to 230 HP. For more power they move up to 7-litre engines or more.
    • Deutz-Fahr is the only 6.1-litre engine with up to 280 HP.
    • Fendt discontinues the 800 series, which uses the 6.1-litre Deutz engine, and starts producing the 700 Gen7 series with a 7.5-litre engine.
    • New Holland with its T7 Series reaches 340 HP with a 6.7-litre engine.
    • John Deere stands out with its 9-litre engines.
  • Models above 280 HP tend to use engines of 8 litres or more.
  • Deutz-Fahr is perhaps the manufacturer that uses the smallest displacement engines: 4.1 litre 4-cylinder and 6.1 litre 6-cylinder engines.
  • Fendt practically stops using Deutz engines.
    • They are only used in the 500 and 700 Gen6 Series (although 700 Gen6 Series is still the best-selling).
  • Valtra and Massey Ferguson use the same engines for their different tractor Series.
  • Engines for other tractor brands:
    • CNH manufactures engines for its tractors and also for Claas and the Argo group (McCormick and Landini).
    • Deutz manufactures engines for Deutz-Fahr and Fendt.
    • John Deere manufactures engines for its tractors and for Claas.
  • The most visually striking engines are the JDPS 8R Series.
  • John Deere has the largest engine (18 litre, 913 HP) followed by CaseIH (16 litre, 715 HP engine) and New Holland (13 litre, 699 HP engine).

We think that we could be bringing out interesting differences and data for a long time... so we invite you to do it yourselves and share it in the comments.

Versión en español.

15 March 2024

Automated spraying

Nowadays, there is a high demand for automated machines that streamline work processes These machines are designed to perform tasks more efficiently and therefore save costs. On the other hand, these machines are more expensive than manual ones (due to the presence of extensive electrical and electronic components), but in the long run the savings are considerable. Of course, the more frequently the machine is used, the sooner the return on investment is achieved... if the machine is heavily used, the amortisation is faster.

The optimal choice is to have an ISOBUS machine, but this also requires having a tractor equipped for it. This can be done either by installing ISOBUS on the tractor directly or using the ISOBUS kit compatible with the GPS equipment already present on the tractor. Alternatively, converting an older machine to ISOBUS is possible but this is also usually an expensive action.

Another interesting option (and much cheaper than converting to isobus) is the spraying module offered by the manufacturer Hexagon to automate machines (sprayers, seed drills, spreaders, etc.). This module converts a manual machine into a fully automated machine, allowing us to make variable doses according to the speed, automatic control of sections according to overlaps, doses according to a pre-registration map or yield, etc... everything we can think of on Agriculture 4.0. Definitely a good option for users who have Hexagon equipment on their tractor.

The main features of the spraying module are:

  • Compatible with any old and current machine.
  • Control of up to 16 sections.
  • Easy installation and even reversible if you ever want to return to the original state of the machine.
  • Compatible with all Hexagon displays: Ti5, Ti7 and Ti10.
  • Easy to set up and use from the Hexagon screen.
  • Also allows the machine to be controlled manually.

What are your thoughts on ISOBUS technology? Do you have any machines that use this technology? Please let us know; we look forward to reading your comments.

Versión en español.