28 August 2017

An original irrigation system for olive trees: Earthenware jar

​We spoke about planting olive trees and about harvesting olive tres at Chistmas. As you know, in Spain the drought is getting worse and having irrigated fields is a luxury. In our case, we have decided to invest in irrigation for our olive trees and we think that it is not a real irrigation system, we are going to water olives tree mainly in Spring and Summer... we hope it will be really productive.

As you can see in our pictures, we fixed an earthenware jar. Which is a jar of 14,000 litres and it is fixed at 1.5m height. We use a tank of 5,000 litres to fill it (we don't have any water well in our field) and a small bilge Pump, that way we can fill it in a few hours. Thanks to the unevenness of the fields and the height where we have installed the earthenware jar we can get more than 4 m.c.a. that is the minimum flow to which a dropper can work ... in our case, we are receiving about 5 l/h of flow.

The length of the field is of 480m and we planted 68 olive trees​ each row (plantation frame is 7x7m). The jar is located at the highest point of the field, so it divides the row of olives at 57 and 11. To perform the irrigation properly, we have created sections to better take advantage of the water pressure, split the field in four sections that we water with the following order:
  • 1st section: 171 olive trees.
  • 2nd section: 171 olive trees.
  • 3rd section: 114 olive trees.
  • 4th section: 86 olive trees.
If we distribute 14,000 litres of water from jar among 542 olive trees planted, we have an irrigation dose of almost 26 litres per olive tree ... it is not bad at all. As drippers pour about 5 litres per hour, we have to water about 5 hours for each of the sections.

Versión en español.



09 August 2017

Salamanca potatoes: the most delicious

​We had never before spoken about potatoes on our website. This time, we had the pleasure of chatting with José María González (we met him in Demoagro 2017 Farm Fair and besides he is the creator of Agricultura Española Facebook Group) in order to explain us a few details of this interesting crop. José María lives in ​​Villoruela village (Salamanca) where he together with his brothers have a farm to grow cereals, rape, corn and potatoes.

Potato tasks begin by sowing in April. They sow entire potatoes and they use a dose of 1,100kg/he. After that, they should perform the irrigation task, which will begin weekly with an average of three irrigations per week from May to August... this crop generates a lot of work during all his life. During this days, they have begun to harvest potatoes (the yield is about 60,000 kg/ha)

They dedicate about 30he of red patatoes (Monalisa and Manitou variety). A part from that, Agria variety is very common in Salamanca, as José María told us it is the best potatoes to taste. Farmers have two options to sell potatoes: for fresh, (they are sold in small bags at the supermarket) or for industry (to make chips and other pre-processed dishes). José María and his brothers sell all their potatoes for fresh and they are normally exported to Portugal. The price are between 0.20€/kg and 0.04€/kg for fresh market and 0.14€/kg for industry market (farmer has a contract since sowing days).

As you can see in his pictures, they work with Grimme bunker harvester SE 85-55 that allows them to harvest about 2 hectares per day (4 trucks daily) at 4.5 km/h working speed and it fills big bags of 1,000kg. The distance between rows is 75cm. Several staff work on Grimme machine to select and remove defective potatoes.

As José María said, the potato market is really awful because many times the fixed price is not respected when they sell his potatoes. They sell all their potatoes for intermediary who will export them to Spain and Portual. If the potato arrives in bad conditions to the destination (even if the farmer is not the responsible) or the final distributor doesn't like them, the price is lowered or even the merchandise returned to the farmer. On the other hand, if the potato is for industry, potatoes must pass many controls that guarantee the level of frying (they have to look nice after frying). If those conditions are not fulfilled the price that the farmer will get will be much lower.

José María, we will have to taste those fantastic potatoes!!

Versión en español.