CHEMICAL LOOSENING OF OLIVE PEDICEL'S FOR MECHANICAL HARVESTING

Y. Ben-Tal, M. Wodner
Mechanical harvest of olive fruits is limited to a minor portion of the olive oil industry world wide. It does not exist at all in the pickled table olive industry. This is a fact of life although olive harvesting consumes 50–80% of the total expenses of growing olive. The reason for this situation is that the ratio between fruit mass and pedicel's strength is relatively small as compared with other fruits. As a result, a huge amount of force is required to shake off the fruits from olive trees. Chemicals of various kinds were tested to promote pedicel's loosening. Breakthrough was achieved only when ethylene releasing compounds were introduced. Ethephon, and later other compounds, were found to be able to promote pedicel's loosening and therefore increase the natural ratio between fruit mass and pedicel strength. As a result mechanical harvesting became practical, not only for oil olive, but even for table olive. We had found the "Olital", a convinient chemical to achieve this goal and to promote pedicel's loosening on a practical basis. The entire procedure for successful application of the "Olital" has been developed and had been tested on semi-commercial basis on over a hundred hectares during the last few years. The only obstacle is that it has not been cleared yet for commercial use by the health authorities.
Ben-Tal, Y. and Wodner, M. (1994). CHEMICAL LOOSENING OF OLIVE PEDICEL'S FOR MECHANICAL HARVESTING. Acta Hortic. 356, 297-301
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.1994.356.62
https://doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.1994.356.62

Acta Horticulturae