Super high density olive orchard, grove or farming has a high production per hectare, stands out over the traditional dry land olive grove and intensive plantations. Super high density olive tree plantation is currently increasing thanks to multiple factors.
Profitability improvement: The olive oil prices have remained high and stable over the past few years.
End of almond fever: Although it is still an interesting crop, almond prices have plummeted during 2017.
Low yields in irrigated crops: some irrigated crops are not going through their best moment and are being replaced by super high density olive groves.
To complete the article, at the end of it, the best olive varieties have been described for super high density olive farming.
Super high density olive orchard costs
Planting costs: Super high density olive orchard require a greater investment in the purchase of olive seedlings than intensive and traditional olive groves. With requirements of between 1,000 and 2,500 olive plants per hectare and higher expenditure in the purchase of tutors The costs per hectare of plantation and guided olive trees are around € 5,000-8,000 / ha.
Irrigation systems: To increase planting density, a reliable water supply is required. The minimum allocation for a Super high density olive grove is estimated at 2,500 m3 / ha. However, this amount will be insufficient to achieve good productions during the dry years.
Many super high density olive groves have their own water storage rafts, boreholes… Significant investments in irrigation infrastructure are required and energy expenses can be high. The irrigation system installation can be between 3,500 and € 5,500/ha.
Pruning the olive grove SHD: It represents a significant cost that varies depending on the technique used, being Economic mechanized pruning. However, mechanized pruning is inaccurate and manual corrections are also necessary.
Collection costs: one of the strong points of the intensive olive grove is its Low collection costs, This is done through harvesters. The harvester collection limits us in aspects such as the size of the olive trees. On the other hand, buying machinery is only profitable on large farms, so we depend on third parties for collection. The cost of a super high density olive trees harvester (New Holland VX 7090 ) is around € 200,000.
How much does it cost to plant a hectare of olive trees?
The cost of planting one hectare of olive trees depends on multiple factors: price of olive plants, plantation framework, land preparation, necessary material… All this implies an important cost that the farmer has to bear before the first harvest.
Total costs of the super high density olive orchard: prepare the land, plant and guide the olive trees and carry out the irrigation installation.
It requires an investment that can exceed € 10,000 / ha.
Super high density olive trees plantation frame
The separation between olive plants is established between 1.25 and 1.5 meters depending on the vigor of the variety and the planting ground.
The distance needed between streets varies between 3.5 and 4 meters.
Current super high density olive groves need between 1700 and 2,300 olive plants per hectare. With irrigation input.
On the other hand, the olive grove in rainfed hedge begins to position itself with streets wider than 7 meters and planting densities of about 1,000 olive plants per hectare.
Taking Arbequina as a reference, planting frames of 1.35 x 7 meters in dry land and 1.35 x 3.5 meters in olive trees with irrigation are usually used.
Super high density olive trees in dry land
Super high density olive orchard in hedge allows reducing collection and pruning costs. However, it faces water scarcity and its productions, although earlier and more regular, do not differ much from intensive olive groves. With a productive average of 6,000 kg / ha and approximately fat yields of 20% (thanks to the lower shading).
Profitability and production of the SHD olive orchard
The profitability of the super high density olive orchard is difficult to establish, the olive oil prices suffer significant changes . During the last 10 years the price of bulk oil in Spain has been between 1.80 and 4.00 € / kg + VAT.
How much does one hectare of olive trees produce?
Bearing in mind that the production of the super high density irrigated olive grove is 1,500 to 2,500kg of oil per hectare. This means a income between 3,960 and € 8,800/ha.
Expenditure on the cultivation of one hectare of olive trees:
On the other hand, the costs of collection, irrigation, treatments, subscribers, pruning… are about € 2,500 / haper year.
Performing a economic study of the SHD olive grove and its viability in our cultivation area is the most prudent before making an olive plantation.
Are we in an olive grove bubble in hedge?
Currently, the good prices of olive oil (€ 3.5/kg), encourage the change of some irrigated crops to super high density olive grove.
This means an investment of approximately € 10,000 / ha.
Three years of maintenance of the olive tree until the first harvest.
Loss of income during these three years if the land was previously cultivated.
And nobody assures us that in 3 years the prices will continue at € 3.5 / kg, they may have gone up or down.
If we decide to make a super high density olive plantation, we should be aware that it is a long-term plantation (15-20 years) and that we will go through years of good and bad returns as in any other crop.
Super high density olive varieties
Although the existing possibilities are increasingly wide, Arbequina is still the variety of super high density olive tree of reference in Spain.
Arbequina is the most extensive super high density olive variety in Spain. It has good productive characteristics, achieving high and early productions (after 2.5 years in irrigation and 3.5 in dry land).
Arbequina tree is self-fertile and medium flowering, although it does not need a pollinator, it is a good practice to alternate lines with compatible SHD varieties.
It has an open bearing and vigor is low, although superior to varieties such as Sikitita or Arbosana.
Its maturation is early and arbequina olives should preferably be picked in green. Its main problem is the low oxidation resistance of Arbequina olive oil.
Clonal selections such as Arbequina i-18® have a yield per hectare similar to that of the Arbequina olive tree.
The average productions in trials on planting frames of 3.75m x 1.35m are 10,000-11,000 kg, with 17-18% fat yields.
The Arbosana olive tree adapts very well to the olive grove in hedge, its low vigor, less than that of Arbequina make it a Very interesting variety in areas where cold is not a problem. Its resistance to the repilo is very good, being one of its strengths.
The quality of olive oil Arbosana is good, being more resistant to oxidation than that produced by Arbequina. Arbosana i-43® olives ripen three weeks after Arbequina, an aspect that favors a higher fat yield.
The average production in trials on planting frames of 3.75 m x 1.35 m, is 12,000-13,000 kg, with 19% fat yields.
Sikitita is precocious and very productive, with good resistance to cold. Its main problem is the low oleic content of its oil, being sensitive to oxidation. Its maturation occurs a week before with respect to Arbequina.
The Greek Koroneiki olive variety is 25% more vigorous than Arbequina. Its vigor allows it to reach its maximum productive potential very soon. The quality of your oil is another of its strengths, highly valued and with good resistance to oxidation. Koroneiki i-38® matures two weeks after Arbequina.
However, its plantation has certain problems:
The high vigor of the plant makes it more pruning needs and makes the formation more complex.
It is more sensitive to tuberculosis than other varieties suitable for olive growing in hedge.
Very low resistance to cold.
It has high resistance to detachment, an aspect that reduces the harvesting capacity of the harvesters.
The average production in trials on planting frames of 3.75 m x 1.35 m, is 10,000-11,000 kg, with fatty yields of 19-20%.
Other varieties that adapt to the olive grove in hedge
Arróniz: It stands out for its < strong>very high cold resistance, good resistance to the repilo and excellent oil quality.
It is precocious and productive, although it is sensitive to the attacks of olive fly and tuberculosis.
Blanqueta: Early and productive, the main drawback of Blaqueta is the poor stability of its oil, lower than that of Arbequina. Blanche i-55®.
In rainfed super high density, it is possible to plant olive trees of virtually any variety, although requires specialized handling.
We have translated the information on our website from Spanish to English. Note that some words may have seen their meaning altered during their translation.