Evaluation of the yield potential of two olive (Olea europaea L.) varieties (Arbequina & Koroneiki) grown under various treatments and systems adapted to mechanical harvesting and application of a GIS mapping program to assess yield variability
University of Wales Institute Cardiff
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Olive oil and olive tree and its many by-products are an important part of many people’s daily diets. Lately the interest in olive products rose significantly because of the positive benefits these products have on human health and because it’s an important source of essential elements from a healthy diet. To this is added also the population growth which makes the demand of olives to increase even more. The major issue with the olives is that they grow only in certain areas of the globe like the Mediterranean climate zones, where is originated, and in those countries which have similar climatic conditions. One solution to create enough olive products to meet the demand, since the area of planting is limited to Mediterranean and similar climatic conditions, is to increase the planting density per unit of land. A major problem of olive production is the high cost of harvesting which is entirely done manually and accounts for over 85% of the total production cost. New systems of mechanical harvesting in linear systems of high density appear the last decade and are under evaluation in olive producing countries. This paper is a part of a long-term project and attempts to evaluate various effects of different planting densities, fertility and irrigation level as well as different soils and climatic conditions on yield and other agronomic and quality characteristics of two olive varieties (Arbequina and Koroneiki) commonly used in systems adapted for mechanical harvesting. The results of the second year of the olive project revealed important information useful to the continuation of this project. Although yield is practically indicative only from the second year after planting, results indicated that there were statistically significant effects shown. In addition, using principles of Precision Agriculture, yield and trunk diameter digital maps were established and provided a clear picture of the variability existing in the field. The results will be used to adjust next years management practices and to continue the evaluation. Major results and conclusions from the second growing season are that: 1. There were not statistical significances shown in yield between the two varieties 2. The "potential yield" method used approximated very accurately the "actual yield" measured on each tree, 3. The stem trunk diameter and average fresh fruit weight was statistically different between the two varieties.
BS (Hons)Environmental Systems Management
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