Roughly 150 olive oil industry members were present at third annual California Olive Oil Day held in early March. The day started at 9 a.m. with a session focused on maximizing grower profits through grove management. Leandro Ravetti, Technical Director at Modern Olives spoke about irrigation management in olive orchards for oil production. His presentation included important information on the best times to irrigate, frequency of irrigation, and soil and plant monitoring.
Ravetti also stressed the importance of careful site and variety selection as well as grove design prior to planting, noting that these practices can help growers increase profitability in the long term.
William Krueger, Farm Advisor Emeritus of Glenn County, provided the group with information on canopy management in olive orchards for oil production. Krueger’s talking points included row orientation, best hedging practices to increase sunlight exposure for super high-density groves, how to prune modern high density, proper times to prune and mechanical options.
The session on grove management was followed by Q&A with an industry panel who spoke to their own orchards and experiences. Panelists included Ravetti and Krueger as well as Lizandro Magana, Director of Farming at California Olive Ranch and Jeff Colombini, an olive grower in Lodi. The session was moderated by Adam Englehardt.
The next session of the day dealt with disease management to prevent reduced yields and improve quality. First to present was Dr. Florent Trouillas, Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant Pathology, UC Davis and Kearney Agricultural Research and Extension Center. Trouillas presented on the biology and control of Neofabraea in California and as well as his investigation into the occurrence and distribution of olive anthracnose in California.
Through his research, Trouillas found that anthracnose was not present in commercial olive orchards in California. As for his research on Neofabraea, he discovered that the disease is emerging in California but remains limited to super high-density orchards at this time. This may be due to mechanical harvesting in SHD orchards, since the disease requires wounds on leaves and twigs to spread.
Next Dr. James Adaskaveg from the Department of Plant Pathology at UC Riverside presented his research on epidemiology and management of olive knot and evaluation of new fungicides for the control of olive leaf spot/peacock spot. Adaskaveg recommended preventative care as the best means of managing these diseases. Since olive trees are most susceptible to olive knot and peacock spot at a point of injury, like that which occurs after mechanical harvesting and pruning, he recommended that trees be sprayed with a treatment the same day as the damage occurs.
Dr. Askaskaveg also spoke about several new products that are in the process of being registered for use in California — an effort that has been made possible through research funded by the OOCC.
During the Q&A portion of the session Adaskaveg, and Trouillas were joined by Paul Busalacchi, Director of Ag Operations at Corto and John Post, President, Agricultural Advisors to answer attendees’ questions.
The final session featured Dan Flynn, Director of the UC Davis Olive Center who referred to California olives as “the crop of the future”. Flynn gave an update on the Olive Center as well as a recap of the year’s research. He also challenged growers to double yields by the year 2030, which some growers stated they thought was an achievable goal. His plan to help the industry achieve this included implementing a benchmark assessment of current production, conveying best practices in the New Olive Oil Production Manual and pushing higher yields through field research.
All presentations from California Olive Oil Day can be found on the Research page of the OOCC website under the Research Presentations tab or downloaded below.
Irrigation Management in Olive Orchards for Oil Production Canopy Management in Olive Orchards for Oil Production
Biology and Control of Neofabraea in California and Investigating the Occurrence and Distribution of Olive Anthracnose in California
Epidemiology and Management of Olive Knot and Evaluation of New Fungicides for Control of Olive Leaf Spot/Peacock Spot
UC Davis Olive Center