Super High Density (SHD) olive trees cultivation!



Olive tree (Olea europaea) cultivation plays a leading role in the economy of countries where it has developed, because it uses inappropriate land for other crops and protects the soil from erosion. The olive tree can thrive by living long periods of time without any cultivation care and recovers quickly after great trials.



Significant increase in the production of an olive grove can be achieved by new planting schemes such as Super High Density (SHD) cultivation, with more common olive tree varieties for these plantings the Arbequina and Koroneiki varieties, the seedlings of which are planted in a linear mode at distances ranging from 1.35-1.5 m and with a distance between the lines from 3.75-4 m, forming this way a plantation with a density of 150-200 olive trees per 1,000 sq.m.. The height of the seedlings varies from 0.30-1.20 m depending on their age, and the only conditions required for planting are that the parcel has to be relatively flat (up to 10% level inclination) and naturally irrigated. The age of seedlings can be from 9-18 months, monoclonal and planted in pots or bags.

Once the young seedlings are planted, they will develop along a central axis reaching a final height of up to 2.5-3 m, with lateral branches about 1.5 m long so as to formulate a stem that can reach the light even at the lower parts of the tree. First manual harvest will take place on the 3rd year of planting and the first mechanical harvest can be done in the 4th year. In addition, production  increases annually up to the 7th year and full production yield ranges from 250-300 kg of olive oil per 1,000 sq.m.. The oil content of the olives is 20-25% and the plantation renewal is done by gradual deforestation.

The great advantage of this planting scheme is the quick and low-cost harvest with a special harvesting machine (harvester), because the staff requirement is only 2 workers and the efficiency of the harvester is 95%. That is, staff and harvester can collect from 4-8 tons of olives per person in one day with the particular harvesting method. The cost of harvest is about $150/hour and the olives which can be collected correspond to 3,000 sq.m. of plantation, resulting in a final harvest cost of $50 per 1,000 sq.m.. The cost of the initial investment for a Super High Density (SHD) olive grove is set at $1,000 per 1,000 sq.m. and includes olive seedlings, piles, irrigation system and wire.
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