Home' Grower : October 2010 Contents The South Australian Grower -- October 2010
Olives branching out as industry evolves
SOUTH Australia's olive
industry is alive and well,
and is enjoying a dramatic
increase in size and profitability,
according to an Australian Bureau
of Statistics agcensus.
With its climate and location, its
cold winters and hot dry sum-
mers, SA is ideally suited to olive
production with extensive plant-
ings in the Adelaide Hills,
Fleurieu Peninsula, Upper
Limestone Coast, Riverland,
Mallee, Mid North, and Yorke
and Eyre Peninsulas. There are
now about 800 growers in the
Production in the early 1990s
was less than 500 tonnes, and is
expected to peak at about 6000t
of table olives and 10,000t of
olive oil in the near future. The
main table varieties are kalamata
and manzanillo, with barnea,
picual, coratina, koroneiki, kala-
mata and FF17 favoured for oil.
Growers in SA are represented
by Olives South Australia
Incorporated, a participating body
of the Australian Olive
Association, and its board is made
up of growers, processors, har-
vesting contractors and delegates
from Primary Industries SA, Rural
Solutions SA and the University of
The main issues confronting the
olive industry are mostly financial.
Cost effective har vesting options
are constantly under review, par-
ticularly for the smaller producers,
and there is always a problem with
competition from imported olives
from countries where assistance is
given to support industries, such
as fertilisers. Research and devel-
opment, and domestic and export
marketing are also closely moni-
tored, but prospects are definitely
The optimism of the SA industry
is reflected in the amount of inter-
est shown in the annual Australian
Olive Industry Expo, scheduled
for Adelaide on October 14-15. It
will be held at Morphettville
Racecourse and is expected to
attract about 1000 people to see
displays by 120 participating com-
panies. In addition, there will be a
comprehensive seminar program
covering topics such as marketing,
food ser vice, supermarkets, irriga-
tion, fertilisers, pest anddisease
management, making and storing
oils, and table olive issues.
South Australian olive production has grown significantly with increased tree plantings over the past few years.
Orchard soil checks vital
Compost for Soils
establishment is a
crucial time and can
affect the productivity
of your trees for years to come.
Looking at a range of soil
characteristics and the nutrient status
of your soil is important to get your
plants off to a good start.
Planting is an ideal time to undertake
soil testing and make sure you are
starting from a strong base.
Orchard establishment is the time to
address any sodicity or salinity
problems by incorporating soil
amendments like lime or gypsum.
The benefits of lime and gypsum can
be enhanced when they are used in
conjunction with organic matter.
Organic matter stimulates biological
activity and helps to incorporate the
amendments into the soil profile.
It is important that the right type of
organic matter is used.
I recommend that only fully-
composted and stabilised material
should be incorporated in to the soil.
As this material will come in direct
contact with plant roots, it needs to be
safe and stable. Uncomposted material
may be toxic to your plants.
The benefits of applying compost
goes much further than just enhancing
incorporation of amendments.
When compost is introduced at
planting, trees develop more quickly
and have thicker trunks.
This effect has been demonstrated in
Australian apple, almond and citrus
orchards over the first 18 months and
we would expect to see this in
establishing olive orchards.
Young trees that get off to a better
start are more likely to be resilient
during extreme conditions, such as
The increase in growth when compost
is incorporated into the soil is most
likely because of enhanced root
growth. Adding organic matter and
stimulating the soil biology improves
soil structure which makes it easier for
young roots to grow through the soil.
I recommend that quality compost be
applied in a band 50 millimetres deep
and 500mm wide along the planting
row and cultivated into the top 10
centimetres to 25cm of soil.
This will give a concentration once
mixed in the soil of 15 per cent to 25pc.
Alternatively, compost can be
incorporated into the planting hole to
give the same concentration.
Monitoring soil and plant nutrient
levels over time can help to achieve the
best value from compost.
As compost contributes nutrients to
the soil and also stimulates the release
of nutrients locked within the soil,
chemical fertiliser applications may
need to be adjusted.
Regular checks will also reduce the
possibility of over-fertilising which can
cause excess foliage growth and have
detrimental effects on the trees, soil
and underlying water table.
Details: compostforsoil.com.au or Katie
Webster on 08 8339 3661.
FINEWELD STAINLESS STEEL
for the Olive Industry
• Storage and Settling Vats
• Variable Capacity
• Transportable Tanks
• Olive Receival Bins
• Conveyor Systems
• Valves • Manways • Fittings
17 TOVA DRIVE PO BOX 2030, CARRUM DOWNS, VICTORIA 3201
Phone 03 9775 0339 • Fax 03 9775 0338
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