Olive farming is primarily practiced in Italy, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Tunisia, Morocco, etc. for olive oil, fine wood, olive leaf, fruit, and ornamental purposes. Cultivation of olives is profitable, as by planting around 475 olive trees in a hectare of land you can get a yield of 25 to 27 quintals of olive oil. However, for optimum yield, you need to follow all the guidelines discussed in this article.
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Olive, botanically known as “Olea europaea” is an evergreen small fruit tree from the Oleceae family. It is native to Mediterranean Europe, Asia & Africa. Olives can grow up to 25 to 50 feet tall and have typically twisted trunks with silvery green leaves. Researchers believe that olives originated around 20–40 million years ago in the Oligocene somewhere near Italy and the eastern Mediterranean Basin.
However, the cultivated genome of olive originated around 7000 years ago near the Eastern Mediterranean. Since then cultivation process of olives spread to the rest part of the world gradually through trade and tourism. Here is the list of highest and latest olive-producing countries in the world.
Top 10 Olive Producing Countries
|Rank||Country||Olive Production (Metric Tonnes)|
Every year around 19,464,495 tonnes of olive is produced in the world. Spain is the largest olive-producing country with a production of 5,276,899 tonnes of olive. It is followed by Greece, Turkey, Tunisia and Morocco. The United States of America is the 14th largest olive-producing country in the world with an annual production of 151,950 tonnes of olive.
Details about the export and import destinations of olive at the end of the article. Moreover, you will also get to know about famous brands with which you can tie up to sell your harvest for a better earning.
Olive Farming Guide
Follow these guidelines carefully to cultivate olive in your farm.
Climate & Temperature
You can cultivate them in Mediterranean climates with mild winters and hot summers. Temperature is very crucial for olives, your region should have an average annual temperature range of 15o to 20o Celsius for optimum yield. Freezing temperate, too dry and hot arid climates are not suitable for their cultivation. Mean annual rainfall of 400 to 700 mm is good for the growth of olive trees.
Adequate chilling temperature of around 7.2o C during winter is essential to break rest period and to promote fruiting in the trees.
Soil For Olive Tree
Olive trees can grow in a wide range of soils except poorly drained or waterlogged soils. For optimum growth, poor-quality well-drained and aerated sandy or gravelly soil with a pH of 5 to 8.5 is considered best for olive trees. In moist soils, olive trees can get affected by root rot and other fungal diseases, that’s why only grow them in well-drained soils.
Propagation Of Olive Tree
Olive trees can be propagated by seeds, rooting of cuttings and tongue grafting of seedlings. For the commercial propagation of olives asexual methods such as grafting and cutting are most effective. For grafting commercial varieties of olives, use the wild olive seedlings as the rootstock.
How To Propagate Olive From Cuttings?
To propagate olive from cuttings, select a healthy 1 to 3 inch diameter branch. With the help of a pruning shear or hammer, take 12 to 14-inch long stem cuttings by cutting or cracking 1/8 inches below a leaf node on the selected stem. Remove all the leaves from the top and leave some at the top.
You can use 6 inches-deep and 4 inches-wide grow bags for propagating olives from stem cuttings. Pour moistened course-grained river sand + soil in 1:1 into the growing bags and leave 1 inch at the top. Dip the bottom end of the cuttings in the rooting hormone powder such as 0.2% IBA rooting hormone for 15 seconds, then plant the cuttings in the center of the grow bags.
Place these grow bags under a lightly shaded area such as a polyhouse and maintain around 70% moisture. Make sure the sand remains slightly moist. You can mist the cuttings with water twice a day to maintain adequate humidity. The ideal temperature for the propagation of olive cuttings is around 70o Fahrenheit or 21o Celsius.
It will take around 3 months from the day of plantation to start rooting in the cuttings.
How To Propagate Olive From Grafting?
The ideal time to propagate olive trees by grafting is from late winter to spring season. Select wild variety rootstock less than 10 feet tall and is well adapted to grow in your region. The next step is to select a healthy scion of pencil thickness, with the help of a pruning shear cut a 10 to 16 inches long scion with 4 to 6 buds.
In the scion make a 1.5-inches V-shaped cut at the bottom with the help of a knife. Hold the rootstock and make a 0.3-inch cut at the top center of the branch. Then fix the scion on the rootstock by pushing them together firmly. Once they are positioned correctly, wrap them with grafting tape. You can further cover them with a plastic bag to retain moisture and avoid damage.
Maintain adequate moisture in the soil for at least a month until new leaves begin to appear in the scion.
Planting System & Spacing For Olive Trees
Generally, you can plant olive trees at a spacing of 8 × 8 meters to accommodate around 150 trees in a hectare of land. In the square system, you can plant at a spacing of 5 × 5 meters to accommodate 400 trees per hectare. Whereas in a rectangular system, you can adopt a spacing of 8 × 5 meters or 6 × 5 meters to accommodate 250 and 333 olive trees per hectare.
Plantation Of Olive Trees
For planting olive trees, two months before plantation, prepare pits of 60 × 60 centimeters in depth and fill these pits with Organic manure, bone meal and neem cake fertilizer. Plant the olive seedlings and keep the grafted portion 30 centimeters above the ground level. Give a light irrigation immediately after the plantation to protect seedlings from transplantation shock.
The ideal time for planting olive tree is during spring and fall season. However, you can also plant during summer season if the climatic conditions are optimum.
Irrigation In Olive Farm
Although olive tree is a drought resistant, but for getting higher yield you should take well care of irrigating olive farm during these stages:
- Fruit bud differentiation
- After fruit set
- Fruit development (stone hardening stage).
Give light irrigation during these critical stages. You can adopt the drip irrigation system to increase the water use efficiency. Make sure to avoid waterlogging in the olive farm as it can damage your trees and affect yield.
Fertilizers For Olive Trees
Olive trees start bearing fruits 6 to 7 years after plantation. In pre-fruit-bearing trees, apply 20 Kilograms of bulky organic manure such as Farm Yard Manure or cow dung manure, 900 grams of Calcium ammonium nitrate (225 grams of nitrogen), 900 grams of Single Super Phosphate (150 grams of phosphorus) and 240 grams of Muriate of Potash (150 grams of potassium) per tree.
In fruit-bearing trees, apply 50 Kilograms of bulky organic manure, 3 Kilograms of Calcium ammonium nitrate (750 grams of nitrogen), 3 Kilograms of Single Super Phosphate (500 grams of phosphorus) and 800 grams of Muriate of Potash (500 grams of potassium) per tree.
Apply complete dozes of bulky organic manure, SSP and MOP from October to November. Nitrogen should be applied in three split doses. Apply 1/2 doze of CAN after harvest, pre-winter and 1/4th doze during June to July.
Training & Pruning Of Olive Trees
Pruning is practiced in olive trees to modify the vegetative growth and regulate its production efficiency. Allow the growth of 3 or 4 scaffold branches and keep the center open to maintain good light exposure in the lower portion of the tree. Keep only the single trunk for ease in intercultural operations. Keep removing all the non-bearing branches. Practice light pruning during winter to increase fruit production.
Weed Management In Olive Farm
Weeds can create problems in other interculture operations on the farm. Therefore, keep removing weeds from time to time between tree rows by dicing or moving. If weeds are growing vigorously in your field, then you can use herbicides such as Simazine, Diuron, Gramaxone, etc. to control them.
Pests & Disease Control Of Olive
|Diseases & Pests||Control Methods|
|Leaf Mould||It is caused by a fungus “Pseudocercospora cladosporioides.” Reduce the use of nitrogen fertilizer, prune the canopy to increase air flow and dust copper during spring season.|
|Peacock spot (olive|
leaf spot’ and
|It is caused by a fungus “Spilocaea oleagina.” Reduce irrigation and nitrogen fertilizer application and prune the canopy.|
|Root Rot||It is caused by a fungus “Armillaria mellea.” To control remove soil around the base of the tree to a depth of 12 inches and reduce irrigation.|
|Avoid damaging trees and use copper on damaged portions.|
|Olive Fruit Fly||Use GF-120 Fruit Fly|
Bait and sprays of kaolin clay.
Harvesting Of Olive
Stop irrigation two weeks before harvesting of olive fruits. 50% moisture in fruits is considered best for olive oil production. You can harvest olives by hand picking to get good oil quality but as this process is labor intensive, therefore you can also use farm machinery to harvest olives.
Yield Of Olive
From one hectare of olive farm that have around 475 trees, you can get yield of up to 25 to 27 quintals of olive oil. You can put your brand label or can sell your produce to companies.