Mecaolivar outcomes: testing newly developed harvesters in traditional and intensive olive orchards

R.R. Sola-Guirado, F.J. Castillo-Ruiz, G.L. Blanco-Roldán, S. Castro-García, J.T. Colmenero, J.A. Gil-Ribes
The current globalized world demands enhanced olive sector competitiveness through reduced growing costs, while keeping final product quality. This sector is remarkably important in several regions of the Mediterranean basin, and it requires further mechanization, especially for integrated harvesting. Within pre-commercial procurement Mecaolivar, the University of Cordoba, together with machinery manufacturers and olive growers, has developed new prototypes for olive harvesting, spraying and weed control. Regarding integrated harvesting prototypes, two canopy shaker harvesters were developed for multi-trunk traditional olive orchards, while two harvesters based on trunk shaking were developed for intensive olive orchards. The first field tests showed promising results. Harvesting efficiency for canopy shakers varied from 81 to 91%, with low debris generation. The harvesters incorporate ICT technologies such as remote monitoring, systems automation or fruit weighing in real time. However, during the tests, some flaws were detected; thus, improvements should be included in the prototypes in order to produce commercial harvesters. Trees were also trained to increase harvest efficiency, although this process will need a long period of time to provide commercial results. Finally, PCP Mecaolivar shows how synergies between researchers, the agricultural machinery industry and farmers should lead the innovation process in the modern olive growing sector.
Sola-Guirado, R.R., Castillo-Ruiz, F.J., Blanco-Roldán, G.L., Castro-García, S., Colmenero, J.T. and Gil-Ribes, J.A. (2018). Mecaolivar outcomes: testing newly developed harvesters in traditional and intensive olive orchards. Acta Hortic. 1199, 321-326
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1199.50
innovation, harvester, trunk shaker, canopy shaker, tree training, removal efficiency

Acta Horticulturae