Characteristics of our Organic Olive tree grove

Characteristics of our Organic Olive tree grove
Olive tree grove of Los PedrochesThe olive tree groves of Los Pedroches are located in the heart of Sierra Morena and the physical geography is typical of this area: it is rough and rugged, placed in a zone of steep slope, with an average of 40%, reaching up to 80%.

It is therefore a territory marked by an uninterrupted succession of hills, and ravines created by the erosive action of the river system.

 
Variety
Nevadillo Blanco – Picual 90%. Others 10%
Age
Around 200 years. Plantation fields from the first half of the 19th century.
pH
Acidic. Values between 5,5 and 6,1
Slope
Steep and very steep, values are from 40% to 80% gradients.
Soil
Shallow, low fertility (< 3% Organic matter).
Pedology
Meridian dark grey-brown soils and rankers over slates, shales and quartzites.
Lithology
Metamorphic materials made by slates, quartzites and limestones from the Carboniferous and Devonian period.
Planting Density
Between 100 and 120 olive trees/ha, depending on the slopes.
Olive Tree Area
Around 11.000 Has, 8.000 Has. of them are organic olive grove
Average Productivity
Between 7 to 10 Kg/olives in average for each olive tree. Around 200 kg of olive oil per hectare.
 
Stone wallFrom a Lithology point of view, there are metamorphic materials made by shale, quartzite and limestone. This area of sedimentary nature gives rise to some anticlinorium and synclines (composite syncline), it breaks down into two symmetrical branches, and their transition is almost insignificant, from the Carboniferous and Devonian period. The type of the soils on which olive groves are settled is meridian dark grey-brown soils and rankers over slates. These soils are typical of Sierra Morena; the characteristics of these soils are variable, shallow, dark colour, loamy-sandy texture, mainly developed on shales, lacking in calcium carbonate and with horizon. When this horizon is low, the underlying shale is in a very weathered condition. There are other kinds of soils present in the olive grove area; they are diversified such as red soils and meridian dark grey-brown soils over shales, quartzites and limestones, etc. These soils possess an acidic pH, their values are between 5,5 and 5,1 and the proportion of clay does not usually exceed 20%. They have low organic matter content (< 3 %,), limited caption-exchange capacity (10 m.e.q./100 gr) and the carbon-to-nitrogen ratio is around 15. In other words, they are shallow soils and, consequently, they have low fertility. Therefore, these olive trees are considered “low-yield” (on average between 7 and 10 kg/tree depending on the area) called “sierra olive grove” or “poor-performance olive grove”.Olive tree The predominant variety is “Nevadillo Blanco”, a subvariety of Picual, although it is possible to find other varieties in this area such as Lechín, Picudo, Carrasqueños... The olive groves that are part of the Olivarera Los Pedroches occupy a surface of around 11.000 hectares, which around 8.000 hectares are devoted to organic olive trees. The ages of trees are around 200 years, planted during the second half of the 19th century. These characteristics greatly limit the agricultural productivity of the area, due especially to the high production costs because of soils conditions, together with the poor yield per unit. The steep slopes make difficult the use of machinery, so a large number of workers is requiered. At the same time, in most of the cases it is necessary to work in really difficult and slow conditions, where the farmer has to use all his or her skill to work safely. In several studies carried out in the area, it was shown that production costs of an olive grove in these conditions fluctuate between 2,25 € and 2,85 € per kg of oil produced, of which the largest percentage is due to the large workforce required. To this problem there have been added further difficulties, caused by a government aid program that awards aid according to the level of production. These olive groves are the ones that create the most jobs, they help the rural population stay settled on the land, they are the least polluting, and yet they receive the least aid... SierraHowever, these same conditions that characterise these olive groves are what sustains them and keeps them going. In this way, a special landscape structure of their olive groves is created, with numerous spaces of spontaneous vegetation in form of spots that take up boundaries, ravines, escarpments, and in general, any of the plentiful topographic irregularities which give a great richness in the agricultural ecosystem. The great biodiversity established that is shared with the olive grove will characterise the established production system. At the same time, these difficulties have made Olivarera Los Pedroches Soc. Coop. And. work hard to achieve numerous goals with great effort through investments in technology, infrastructures, technical staff and research, which have made it a point of reference for producers of organic products.
 

Image gallery

To plough the soil in the Sierra of Los Pedroches
Management of the vegetation cover in the Olive grove of Sierra
Harvest of the olive fruit in the Sierra Olipe
Mantle of Sierra Morena
Traditional plough in the Sierra of Los Pedroches

Certifications

Certification Service CAAE. It is the Certification body for the organic agriculture and livestock
Territorial Quality Los Pedroches
Food Safety Management System  JAS – Certification of Organic Production for the Japanese market
Quality Management System – ISO 9001  Quality Certificate
Verification of Carbon Footprint