Olive Harvest

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Trooperman
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Olive Harvest

Postby Trooperman » Tue Apr 20, 2021 4:04 pm

I read in Surinenglish.com that Malaga's olive harvest has just been announced at 56K tonnes of oil against a target of 74K tonnes. I make that a 25% shortfall against what they hoped for and the farmers blamed low rainfall last year and "less oil within the olives". (Maybe that's a google translation!)
Our lagoon in Fuente de Piedra is already low this year and I suppose the local farmers will now feel justified in taking even more water from the underground aquifers to irrigate and make up for their loss of income.

Is this mirrored in other provinces?

Has anyone yet noticed an increase in price for last year's harvest if the supply has reduced?

Just curious because I have a passing interest in what I see as an invasive mono-culture that depletes the spanish countryside!
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Enrique
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Re: Olive Harvest

Postby Enrique » Tue Apr 20, 2021 5:32 pm

Hi Trooperman,

Sounds similar story up in Provincia de Jaén .......... our crop around 66% of average, 50% down on a good year.

In our local area there is limited watering by irrigation as we are in the mountains.

Having to manage the "Farm" remotely this season using our village contacts.

Don't get a "price" until later in the year.

Olive will have a take for this season further South in Provincia de Granada
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olive
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Re: Olive Harvest

Postby olive » Tue Apr 20, 2021 8:53 pm

I could spout on ad infinitum on the subject!

Mono culture. True madness. Around us there is less asparagus and less arable. Land has been planted with yet more olives. Land that was previously used for burning prunings has had trees planted ( now prunings are chavelled up and left as mulch/ organic material.) land that had piles of gathered up rocks ( nice nature habitat) has been cleared and more trees have been planted.

Bore holes and solar panels have been drilled ( tax efficient) and buried irrigation pipes mean mostly the huge quantities of water pumped day in and day out are not visible. Not my country. If I was a Spaniard , it would be a brave person that would campaign against what really is the pillage of the land and water. The latter is noticeably getting less and less. Irrigation is a nobrainer. Free or cheap installation, little ongoing cost but virtually doubled production year on year. The ongoing loss of habitat means less and less wildlife.

There are some other factors. Changing kitchen habits e.g. using other oils and fats so reducing demand.

Various factors affect individual harvests. Weather, drought and so on. It also varies from area to area. Last year we had an average harvest in our area. Fellow farmers here are very excited as the majority of trees have a terrific number of flowers this year. So barring hailstones in summer we will have a bumper harvest.

Things have gone quiet on the Xyella virus that has badly affected olive trees in Italy for example. No cure other than burning affected trees and unaffected nearby. Phyloxera was a disaster for grape farmers. Heaven forbid a similar story for olive farming. Problem is the land, certainly here, cannot grow much else other than falling back on almonds. As more of Spain heads for desertification that may be the answer...

As for price, bizarrely we don’t find out how much our Jan/Feb 2021 harvest makes until mid Dec 21

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Trooperman
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Re: Olive Harvest

Postby Trooperman » Wed Apr 21, 2021 8:54 am

Thanks, Olive...so it ain't just me! I used to live in the Serrania de Ronda where an olive tree was a rarity and the surrounding forest and rough pasture land was rich with wildlife....all sorts! Now, in dense olive country in Fuente de Piedra, I'm woken in the morning by tractor-towed sprayers killing all the bugs and depleteing the bird population as a result. Not a scientific observation, but this year I have seen far fewer Hoopoes and my dog has seen fewer rabbits to chase (he never catches them....but it used to be fun). As I said before, the ground water has resulted in a very low level of water in the lagoon and if that continues, we might lose our flamingos.
I don't know what to do about it....apart from stopping my own olive oil usage!
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Wicksey
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Re: Olive Harvest

Postby Wicksey » Wed Apr 21, 2021 9:59 am

I find these comments very interesting as we have a similar problem here near to the coast, but here they are cutting down the few olives we have and planting mangoes and avocados. There are areas of land previously untouched that are being cleared and terraced for trees. For the 10 years we have lived in this house I would say that barely a few months has passed without a machine turning up within earshot to create terraces.

To learn that where Olive lives they are now planting more olives and irrigating them is worrying. Here, the land was always 'dry' with olives and almonds that traditionally weren't irrigated. We buy agricultural water from a Spanish landowner and the 350,000L tank was supposed to serve just us and our neighbouring holiday home. In theory that would last us both a year. Now our Spanish neighbour has planted trees on land next door and also has diverted water from 'our' tank onto his vegetable field, and he can drain the tank in 5 weeks (which he rarely ever refills much to our annoyance).

It has been so dry for the past few years that I think that unless we start to get some serious rain in the near future, there will be water shortages in the south. We were at Lake Viñuela yesterday and we've never seen it so low (I can remember seeing it completely full but that may have been 20 years ago now). Apart from agriculture, there is a bit of a mini building boom going on here too with apartments being built again on the Costa, so once visitors return, the summer months will see extra water usage too. I find the future prospects here pretty worrying.


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