Acotanc: Olive Cultivars

Olive Cultivars

Author: Dr. Joan TOUS MARTI
E-mail: [email protected]
Organization: Institut de Recerca i Tecnologia Agroalimentàries (IRTA)
Departament d’Arboricultura Mediterránia. Centre de Mas Bové
Apartat 415. 43280-Reus (Tarragona). Spain
Phone: +34 977-344055
Fax +34 977-344055

Olives are an extremely important crop in Spain. Extensive trials were undertaken to identify the best cultivars for various growing conditions, using a range of criteria.

I will talk about the current situation with plant material. I know more or less the current situation in Australia in respect to varieties. I will talk about an example in Spain about the way of arriving at conclusions about choosing the best variety for various conditions.

You can see on this map the olive distribution around the Mediterranean basin. Spain is the largest producer in the world, the first with respect to olive oil and table olives. The second is Italy, the third is Greece. There is also Tunisia, Turkey, Morocco, etc. The brown colour is the main concentration in these areas.

Current production of olive oil in Spain at present is about 800,000 tonnes. This production represents about 53% of the world. With respect to table olives, the production is around 250,000 tonnes, which represents more or less 25% of the production of the world. You can see the principle region in Spain is Andalucia with 1,353,000 hectares, the second is Castilla-La Mancha, Extremadora, Catalonia, Aragon, Valencia, etc.

At present there are 300 different cultivars in Spain. They are characterised by a small geographical dispersal, except for six cultivars. The others normally grow in a very specific place, a specific village, or region. These six are Tiqual, Cormicarvera, Manzanillo, Imperatere, .....(?). Ninety percent of the cultivars are for oil. There are a few for table olives.

Here is the distribution of the six main cultivars in Spain. The first is Tiqual, which represents 50% of the total. The second is Cormicarvera, 15%; Ochibranca (?) 10%; Manzanillo, 4%; Arvaquina and Imperatere, about 4%.

The fruit of Arvaquina from Catalonia in northeastern Spain. The Blanqueta is the main cultivar of Valencia. Morud (?) is grown in the south of Catalonia. Imperatere is the cultivar grown in the Evro (?) Valley. The Manzanillo and the Piqual are both grown in the Andalucia region.

This is a summary of the studies of plant material in Spain. There is a National Germ Plasm Repository in Cordoba, where there are 310 cultivars from 17 different countries. Besides there are 52 cultivars in a collection in Catalonia. An important experiment in Mediterranean cultivar trials is located principally in Andalucia and Catalonia. Selections of Arvaquina beginning in 1982, Manzanillo and Imperatere, and also beginning an important breeding program for the University of Cordoba in 1990.

I will talk about some of the results, principally with respect to clonal selection. This is a new clone of the clonal selection of Arvaquina called I-18. This clone improved the agronomic and commercial characteristics with respect to the standard Arvaquina. This clone was commercialised in 1999, and to the present one million plants have been sold. Of these one million plants, 60% were sold in Spain and 40% to different countries of the world. It is in quarantine in Australia, and it is possible in a few years to buy this clone in your country. Here is information about this clone.

This is a trial with interesting methodology. This is a trial to test different cultivars from Spain and different countries under specific conditions.

The olive cultivars behaviour: the agronomic and commercial evaluation of existing cultivars is the quickest process to renew the plant material in any growing area. At present there are few published results from varietal trials. In 1988 a cooperative trial with 10 Mediterranean cultivars was started by F....'s(?) Working Group Genetic Reserve. This trial was planted in several countries and currently in Spain there are two trials at Cordoba in Andalucia and Catalonia.

The aim of the study is to compare the agronomical and commercial characteristics. Arvaquina is native to this area versus nine foreign cultivars in northeastern Spain conditions. Secondly, to verify the environmental effects on the ability of these olive cultivars.

This trial was planted in 1988. The trees were planted at 7 m by 7 m. Ten cultivars from 7 countries. The trees were propagated from cuttings in each native country, because this is a cooperative trial between different countries. Non-irrigated conditions, the rainfall of this area is about 500 mm. The fertility of the soil is medium with a basic pH of about 8.

The cultivars used in this trial: Coroneke from Greece, Arvaquina from Catalonia, Surani from Lebanon, Latino from Italy, Aivalik from Turkey, Branquit...... from Portugal, Mar.... from Morocco, Manzanillo from Spain, Piccolino from France, and Carolia from Italy.

The design of the experiment was randomised complete blocks with ten treatments, ten replications and one ...(?) ten trees per treatment.

The agronomic parameters were evaluated in the '89-'99 period. The vigour, a study of cross-section and canopy, the precocity, the two first crops average per tree, the yield, the yield efficiency....per cubic metres, and the .... in grams.

The commercial parameters were evaluated in the '96-'99 period. The maturity index, the fruit weight, the pulp/stone ratio, the .....

With respect to the precocity, this is an important parameter. The field's first two yields average per tree. There are significant differences between cultivars. For example, Arvaquina, .... and ... gave significant higher precocity than the rest of the cultivars, ranging, for Arvaquina at 12 kg per tree . For example Aivalik and Surani were very late with respect to the others. With production, the first two yields were about 0.5 kg per tree. There was a big difference with respect to the precocity of the tree.

Yield behaviour: there are differences. The different colours show significant differences between the groups of cultivars in the cumulative yields. With respect to average yields, the differences are quite similar. Standing out are Latino and Piccolino with about 52 kg per tree. Aivalik averaged about 8 or 9 kg per tree.

There are differences in vigour, this slide showing the cubic metres per tree at 12 years old. Several showed more vigour than Arvaquina.

The yield efficiency is an interesting parameter because this shows the cumulative yield per cubic metre at 12 years old. The Arvaquina has the highest yield efficiency with respect to the other cultivars. (Tape ends)