Friday, March 27, 2015

California's Imperial Olive Paradise

Olives are a crop maybe not too many people think about.  Until you need some that is.  I had never seen an olive grove myself, but had the opportunity last week while I was in California.  More olives are being planted around the country, but the Imperial Valley of California provides near ideal growing conditions for them.  I reported on a previous visit to the Imperial Valley in February of 2014 where we had a sugarbeet test.  (Sadly, testing this year was postponed due to personnel changes in the company, but we will be back next time.  Especially since the AgroLiquid treatment was the highest yielding and highest income producer.  Read about it in the research report.)  But we met with a large olive grower who agreed to some product testing.  Here is the stage of the olives last week.  Just past flowering, you can see the future olives.
 How do they harvest all of those little olives.  Well here is a harvester that is specifically for olives. The hedge passes through this machine and those bars shake them off.  I guess that is why James Bond always orders his martini "Shaken, not stirred."  I don't know how you would stir them off.
Here the grower on the right, his agronomist Rocky, our agronomist JW and consulting agronomist Dr. Art Dawson.  We were deep in agronomists. We are discussing applications and plans.
So you can tell from the harvester that pruning is necessary to enable them to fit.  Here is a row that has not been pruned for several years.
Pruning helps promote more stem growth which enables better plant growth and yield.  Here is a stem that was pruned last year and you can see the promotion of stem growth around the cut.
I wasn't around the next couple of days when they were pruned.  Dr. Art sent me these pictures.  Now that is one vicious machine.  The arms rotate as it moves down the row pruning the sides of the adjacent rows.
Here is an "after" picture.  Nice and tidy.  Now give them sunshine, fertilizer and time to grow.
Within a day of pruning, some rows were sprayed with AgroLiquid's growth enhancer Fase2.  This will be monitored for several years to measure effects vs unsprayed.  But if it's like apples, cherries and other tree crops, expect an extra load of olives in the future.  Stay tuned.