California’s table olive industry is over 100-year-old, and it is currently undergoing transformation to mechanically harvestable acreage similar to almond, walnut, prune, pistachio, and other tree crops.
The modern acreage configuration for table olives provides multiple benefits including increased tree count, efficient irrigation methods, mechanically adapted spacings, and a uniform tree structure. While traditional olive acreage is typically planted 60 to 80 trees per acre and hand-harvested, the modern acreage system is optimized with 200 to 250 trees per acre and mechanical harvesting using shaker technology. This approach doubles the yield per acre and reduces harvesting costs to roughly one-third of hand harvesting, which drives significantly improved grower economics.
Olive trees are also drought-tolerant and annually use less water than almonds or walnuts – a critical attribute given California’s constant drought concerns, rising water costs, and tightening water supply. The trees enjoy peak productivity for decades and perform well on marginal soil, which helps minimize capital investment. Another outstanding attribute of the California olive industry is virtually all products are marketed and sold within the United States with zero reliance on export markets.
These many attributes are why modern olive acreage has been coined “California’s crop of the future” by no less of an authority than the UC Davis Olive Center. Join industry leaders to discuss how California’s table olive industry is transforming to a state-of-the-art, high-density, mechanically harvested tree crop and get more information on what it takes to make the transition.
The webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, June 23, from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Hear from Dan Flynn, the founding executive director, UC Davis Olive Center, and Dennis Burreson, Vice President of Field Operations and Industry Affairs, Musco Family Olive Co. Register for the webinar HERE.