06 February 2020

Dryland super-intensive olive grove

As we have already mentioned in several articles, we are expanding the olive grove on our farm. The last three years we have dedicated part of our agricultural activity to planting several olive fields with a 7x7 planting frame, as they are non-irrigated field, and Picual variety. Many of the farmers and followers in social networks have encouraged us to bet on the dryland super-intensive olive grove, so we went to ask one of the best companies specialized in this type of high-density crops, the CBH Company (they are from Córdoba).

The main characteristics when it comes to choosing a dryland super-intensive olive grove could be the following:
  • Geographically limited to areas with an average rainfall of more than 400 mm/year.
  • The planting season is in autumn.
  • Planting densities: from 2,000 to 3,500 plants/Ha.
  • The distance between the olive plants should be 1 to 1.5 metres.
  • Distance between rows from 3 to 3.5 meters.
  • Narrow trees (75-80 cm) and not very tall (2.5 meters), with total light capillarity and high productive efficiency.
  • Small trees are easy to handle and the total mechanization of phytosanitary product applications, pruning and harvesting must also be taken into account.
  • High number of rows per hectare.
  • High productive potential (greater number of lines or square meters of productive rows per hectare).
  • Lower water and nutrient requirements (reduced vigorous trees), and lower susceptibility to pests and diseases (increased aeration and solarization).
  • Suitable for both conventional and organic farming.
  • Production around 7,000 kg/ha.
  • The most recommended varieties are Arbequina, Arbosana and Lecciana as they are varieties with lower vigour and high productivity.
  • Maintenance costs are significantly lower than on irrigated farms.

Once the previous points have been evaluated, we have to take into account that this type of plantation comes into production earlier than with the traditional methd  and therefore the return on investment starts earlier (in the third or fourth year we start to have quite considerable production). 

The investment per hectare is around €4,000-€6,000 depending on the number of plants, variety, shape of the fields... this is undoubtedly a significant amount of money to be taken into account, although the initial investment and the cost of maintenance, in principle, are quite good due to the accelerated production that these plantations have and the great potential for productivity that it generates.

Versión en español.

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