FULLY MECHANIZED HARVESTING OF OLIVE FRUIT. TECHNICAL AND AGRONOMICAL PRELIMINARY EVALUATIONS
Trials were performed during the olive harvest season of 1987/88 on olive tree orchards having different varieties, planting distances and tree shape, which are representative of Italian oliviculture. Orchards most suitable for a fully mechanized harvesting were chosen. Part of these orchards were pruned to prepare the trees for mechanical harvesting. Mechanical harvesting facilitates fruit picking and collection with reduced manpower (2–3 people). Preliminary results from the largest trial showed the possibility of harvesting 748 kg. of olives from 91 plants in 28 minutes (18 second/tree), resulting in a harvest of 94%. There were some difficulties only in harvesting olives from big trees with the "polyconic vase" form and with rigid lateral branches perpendicular to the rows. The greatest limitation in the use of mechanical harvesting is the scarcity of orchards which are specialized and intensive and which are scattered over about 6% of the national area. Fully mechanized olive harvesting should be accompanied by suitable agronomic practices of tree shaping and by a more intensive cultivation.
Mannino, P. and Pannelli, G. (1990). FULLY MECHANIZED HARVESTING OF OLIVE FRUIT. TECHNICAL AND AGRONOMICAL PRELIMINARY EVALUATIONS. Acta Hortic. 286, 437-440