PHYSIOLOGICAL AND MECHANICAL ADVANCES IN OLIVE HARVESTING
Olive harvesting must be done during the final stages of maturation, that is when the oil content is highest, when there is low fruit drop, when there is a low detachment force and when the oil has the best organoleptic characteristics. For fruit removal, vibration is the most effective method and it must be used with a correct frequency and aptitude to avoid breaking of the branches or defoliation. A condition of great instability must be created to affect the major part of the crown and to create complete and effective action at the point of fruit separation. The presently-used shakers are inertial and have been improved by reducing the weight of the head, obtaining the same good results with the use of medium power. They are easily available for farm use. Recent experiments have indicated that use of vibration modules, in sequence, is a way of increasing harvest yield by 10–15%, making it definitely economical. Mechanical collection of the product is another important aspect regarding the economics of harvesting. There are interesting proposals which need to be developed. Agronomic factors are fundamental for a high yield, for tree shaping, and for promoting the use of the cultivars suitable for mechanical harvesting. There are also good prospects for mechanical harvesting of table olives with suitable cultivars and with application of methodology tending to reduce fruit damage.
Tombesi, A. (1990). PHYSIOLOGICAL AND MECHANICAL ADVANCES IN OLIVE HARVESTING. Acta Hortic. 286, 399-412