The importance of the layout in the olive grove

The importance of the layout in the olive grove

Do you want to know the importance of the layout in the olive grove? What influence does it have on the quantity and quality of the olives? We’re going to tell you all about it in this post.

When olive tree planting is carried out, nothing can be left to chance. Everything is important in obtaining the best quality olive.

In our case, to be able to obtain a fruit that permits us to continue to produce one of the best extra virgin olive oils in the world.

It’s here where what we call the layout in the olive grove comes into play. It’s all about distributing the trees so that they can receive the necessary light and all of the nutrients for their development.

In the layout in the olive grove, it’s also necessary to bear in mind the machinery which will be used in harvesting.

Planting olive trees depends greatly on the water that the estate has at its disposal. We’re talking about estates where there is irrigation or intensive farming is carried out.

The layout on estates with irrigation is different from ones which depend on rainfall. They can be asymmetric, from 8×4 to 6×3,  or symmetrical, from 7×7  to 5×5. These layouts have a great deal to do with the machinery that’s going to be used.

In our case, at Masía El Altet, we’ve put our money on the 7×7 layout because it’s the most appropriate for the umbrella-type of harvesting we use.

The speed with which the olive can be collected and transported to the oil mill is also of great importance for the fruit to be of the best quality. For that reason, it’s important to use the most modern machinery so that the process can be carried out as quickly as possible.

The influence of the layout in quantity and quality

The layout in the olive grove influences and greatly not only the quantity of olives harvested but also the quality.

What has been demonstrated during recent years is that the layout with the greatest production possible per hectare with irrigation is that of 7×5. With that layout, it’s possible to obtain up to 13,500 kilos per hectare.

But if the quantity is important, the layout also plays a very important role as far as quality is concerned.

To obtain the best quality extra virgin olive oil, it’s important to consider, among other things, the number of hours of sunlight the olive tree receives during the year.

The greater the space between the trees, the smaller the area of shadow created between them.

That the trees receive the greatest quantity of light possible also influences the fact that they’ll be less likely to contract diseases.

We’re talking about healthier trees and if the trees are healthier, the olives will be of greater quality, which is what permits us to continue putting our money on quality and on conquering the most demanding palates in the world.

On the other hand, it has been demonstrated that layouts in super intensive farming don’t produce a greater quantity of olives in the medium and long term.

More quality than quantity

The plantation at Masía El Altet uses irrigation, obtaining very good quantities of olives.  But from the outset, we’ve put our money on quality not quantity. That’s why we’ve never considered introducing a layout of 7×5 but a 7×7 one, yes.

On the land without irrigation, the layout is 8×8.  In that way, the roots have greater capacity in looking for resources to develop correctly.

When all’s said and done, the layout in the olive grove has to be taken into account, above all, when planning a plantation.

It’s important for the trees to receive sufficient hours of sunlight which impacts positively on the quality of the olive.  But not only that. The sun is also a factor in helping to prevent diseases in the olive tree.

Another aspect to take into account in choosing the layout in the olive grove is to make it appropriate for the type of machinery that’s going to be used.

In our case, as we’ve indicated before, we use the umbrella technique, which allows us to collect the olive vey quickly and take it immediately to the oil mill. It’s true that there exists a more appropriate layout for estates which depend on rainfall and others on irrigation.

Of course, in order to obtain an oil of great quality, it’s necessary to pay attention to all the stages of the growth of the olive.  One of the most important is when pruning is carried out, a task that has to be carried out by expert hands so that, the following year, it’s possible to obtain the same quality and productivity.

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