Olives for Olive Oil
OLIVES FOR OLIVE OIL
Olive growers, this tip is for you!
Irrigating olives close to harvest, and oil extraction are a tricky business. Usually, olive oil mills are most effective when the water content in the fruit is in the 50-55% area. Maintaining this fine balance through irrigation is important when desiring both high extraction efficiency and high-quality olive oil. Too little water will stress the trees and lead to olives with low water content; in the oil mill, such olives will be hard to process and may yield lower quality oil. On the other hand, over-irrigation can lead to olives with very high-water content; extracting oil from such olives may lead to lower extraction efficiency and lower quality oil.
The oil and water content of the fruit can be checked in laboratories during fruit ripening and oil accumulation, and the water status of the trees can be monitored by modern monitoring systems preventing stress or over-irrigation in this critical period.